Welcome to this month's newsletter -- Make Pain Your Friend!
If you enjoy this issue, please share it with your running friends or anyone you know who is experiencing pain.
Make Pain Your Friend!
Pain can be your friend or your foe. The great news is that you get to choose your relationship to pain and if you choose wisely, the more time you will get to spend running and the less time you will spend being injured.
Pain has a purpose and once we realize this, we can cope with it much better. Pain is a message from our bodies telling us that something is wrong. We need to stop and listen in order to learn from the experience so that we don't have to keep repeating the lesson.
“Learning is not child's play; we cannot learn without pain.” -- Aristotle
Pain as defined by the IASP (International Association for the Study of Pain) task force is:
"an unpleasant sensory and emotional experience associated with actual or potential tissue damage or described in terms of such damage."
The fact that pain can arise without damage to the body is testimony to its most important benefit—it is a warning system to protect our bodies from damage.
Make Pain Your Friend
This early warning system gives us a chance to choose how we react to pain—especially running pain that comes on suddenly. We can choose to stay calm and learn from our pain. We can choose to fully experience the sensation by letting our mind rest in the area that we feel pain, by directing our breath to the area and by just allowing the pain to be felt fully without judgement. We can remain peaceful in the face of pain. We do not judge, criticize or blame anything or anyone for our pain—not even ourselves! Nor do we look for reasons or excuses for the pain. We just allow the pain to be felt and experienced by our mind and body.
"The mind makes all decisions that are responsible for the body's condition."
This concept may be difficult to grasp initially, but the simplest explanation is: our thoughts of anger, guilt, fear, etc. create unfavorable conditions in our body. By being still, quietening the mind and releasing any thoughts of judgement, blame or criticisms, healing can be brought to the mind resulting in a decision of healing for the body. So ultimately, we are in control of the health of our bodies and pain can help us arrive at a healthy state.
The Many Benefits of Pain
When we experience pain, we instinctively try to lessen or remove the pain from our body, but it can provide many benefits if you decide to make pain your friend.
Running pain is an early warning signal that something is wrong in a particular part of our body. We need to change something that we are doing. If we ignore it, it can become much more serious. It helps protect us from more serious harm.
Pain is temporary. This is most important to remember when we are experiencing it. It will not last forever and we only have to deal with it when it is present.
Physical and emotional pain are connected. One usually brings out the other. If you have a running injury, you will probably also feel low and maybe even depressed. The plus side to this is that you can deal with both issues at the same time. As you allow yourself to sit with and feel your physical pain (rather than resist it), your mood will also start to improve as you begin to feel more in control of your situation.
Pain can make your stronger. Take a strong approach towards your pain. Feel it fully and let it affect you. Be strong in how you face your pain. Don't be afraid of it. It can be your best friend and teacher.
Pain can make us more spiritual. As we find ourselves struggling with pain, we turn inwardly for help and strength. We begin to develop a stronger spiritual belief as we connect to our inner source of peace and strength and we realize that we are never alone.
Running pain can help us to learn, grow and improve our running skills. It forces us to stop what we are doing and deal with the problem. As we develop a better relationship with pain, we are better able to determine what it is that we need to change.
So make the decision to make pain your friend and put an end to running injuries forever!
You can read more about Responding to Pain in my new updated ebook, coming soon: "Running Injury Free: 5 Unconventional Ways to Enjoy Pain Free Running." Find out when by subscribing to our Newsletter.
So what about you? How do you respond when you first feel running pain or any other pain? Have you tried to make pain your friend? We would love to hear from you. Please share your experience in the comments section below.