Running Through Pain Or Rest?

It’s 5am. I woke up, changed into my running attire, getting ready for my weekly long slow distance with my friends over at Marchite Reservoir. However, I did not turn up for the run and instead chose to stay at home. It was a tough decision especially when my 100km Ultra Marathon is coming in 6 weeks time and I feel really bad about it. But for the last 2 weeks, I been burden down by this pain over at right ankle/heel area. So I pretty much have 2 options.

  1. running though pain. – just endure and go for training. Risk the possibility to worsen the pain while at the same time hoping that it will magically recover during race day
  2. rest. – have a mental torture, sitting at home doing nothing. You go to facebook, you start seeing your friends posting of photos of them finishing their training and you ask yourself why did you not join them and also starts to worry that you might lose your running fitness1.

I’m sure many fellow runners and athlete faced this problem. Race day is coming and you happened to get injure. That could be the worst thing that happen to an athlete, all the training and preparation that you have done for the last few months could be gone. I’m having this same problem now and I chose to REST. I also decided to pen down my thoughts because writing helps me to think better.

racing against myself not others

In the past, I would have gone for training and risk my ankle for further injures which could potentially means not taking part in the race. Because I would be afraid…

  • afraid of losing out to my friends when they train while I don’t and coming back last
  • afraid that if I missed out on the training, I might not be able to complete the race and run the risk of embarrassment2

There is an ego problem here, I’m sure many of you have this egoistic problem but you would not admit to it. This is especially true when you are taking part in races with your friends. Very much like in school, when students worries about exam preparations and exam results3.

I not saying that ego or competition is bad. Competition is good, it challenge us and propel us forward. But sometimes placing too much emphasis on competition just turns the tide against you. Ask yourself, during a race do you perform better when you are pacing yourself or when you are out to win your friends?

I took part in several endurance races and I have learn that many times when I raced against myself, I perform better. The moment I start to think about my competitions, I tend to lost out and perform badly. With these experiences, I learn to tell myself that losing a few of days training wouldn’t kill moreover I’m racing against myself. Why do I want the risk to worsen the injures and being to enjoy the race at all. Remember:

A rest is only the first step of a longer journey ahead (休息是为了走更长的路)

what was your objective?

My coach alway says that when you signed up for the race, you must go all out. You are there to kick people’s ass. This way it will push you to work harder. I agreed.

But at the same time ask yourself, ask yourself why did you sign up for the race in the first place? Sometimes when you get carried away, you forgot why you start something in the first place.

Some friends thought that I signed up the 100km on an impulse, they are partially correct. I did sign up on an impulse but there is a stronger motivation behind. Many years ago, I signed up for the first Sundown 84km run. I was training with a few friends. It was my first ultra marathon.

**I only ran 25km during race day and eventually fall out **

I was not feeling well a few days before the race, but I pushed. On race day, around 21km I went to rest-room and I urinated blood4. I decided to call it QUIT and headed home. It was an painful experience, it’s the first time I “DNF” from a race. What was even more painful was to watch on facebook5, friends completing the race and taking finishing photos. I had a rough month.

So when my friends start asking me to join the upcoming 100km race, I thought it was a good time to test myself again after so many years. My objective, to complete what was unfinished. It would be a plus if I perform well below my target but if I pushed now and failed to go for the race, I would regret. Which is why I chose to REST.


There are many reading on running though pains or injures. I would let you decide. But be assure that rest is just as important as training. Although the human body can endure much more that you think. And the mental torture, that I shared here, most of the time they are irrelevant.

  • your training buddies would not laugh at you
  • you would not lose out just by missing a few training, good quality training is better than quantity

I’m hope my post help someone.

update* After visit to the doctor, what I suffering from is Print Bookmark
Accessory Navicular Syndrome

Related Post:

  1. Research shows you shouldn’t be too worried about losing significant fitness if your break from running is less than two weeks. Losing running fitness
  2. I have completed 3 Ironman Triathlon, fellow friends have high expectation of me, which kinda of add on to my pressure. Sometimes, I start thinking that running does not remove stress from me but rather adds to it.
  3. friends like to say they never study, but many times they do. I’m sure some of you do this before, much like secret training.
  4. I drink too little water and the kidney was taxed.
  5. sometimes Facebook makes you feel bad – Why Facebook Makes You Feel Bad About Yourself