Running Injury: What Did I Do?

medicalI need your help. I'm lying in bed, just like Brian Wilson did, and I'm here because of something that happened at the end of my 17k run yesterday afternoon. Here are the details. I'd love to hear your thoughts on what happened to me and when this pain will go away.

We ran a good 12k before breaking very briefly for a bathroom break and water. Then, we ran another 5k. With about 2k to go, my right leg started cramping up. It was along the right side and back and every step was painful. I wanted to finish the run, so we just cut the speed and I managed my way through the discomfort.

Last night at home, it felt bruised, but I was able to limp through it. I was hoping a good night's sleep would cure what ailed me, but at 3am this morning the pain was excruciating. My right leg felt severely bruised and a walk down the hall to the bathroom almost caused me to black out. I popped Advils, had a hot bath and managed to sleep through the night.

This morning, I feel better than I did at 3am, but I'm still operating on one good leg and one crap leg. It hurts to bend, the stairs are a bitch and it's tender as all hell. Revisiting the run yesterday, I have a few theories as to what I did wrong.

  1. It was cold outside, especially along the Lakeshore, but I still wore shorts. Did cold legs cause this seizing and cramping?
  2. I had spent about five hours on my feet before this run, and I was already tired when we began. Did I simply do too much at this stage in the training game?
  3. I mentioned the break after 12k. This was a nature break and a chance to drink some H2O. It only lasted a few minutes, but did I inadvertently cool down causing issues during the last 5k?
  4. I didn't fuel properly. I violated all the rules when it comes to long runs. I didn't ensure I was properly energized before the run and I didn't eat during the run. Did my body simply run out of energy?
  5. Prior to yesterday, my long runs (>10k) have all taken place at 8:30am. Yesterday's run took place at 3:30pm. Did this change play a role?

There's your 411 and a few potential causes that are rattling around in my head. Firstly, I'd like to know what I did wrong so I can prevent it from ever happening again. Secondly, I'd like to know what I can do to recover as soon as possible. And finally, I'd like to know what the hell this is because I'm not a big fan of rehabilitating pain.

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Jason |

I think you've answered your own question here. This weekend after being out a lot in the cold both my gf and I had sore backs. I attribute the weather changes. Anyway, I recommend ginger tea. It works wonders whenever I have an ache of any sort.

You might want to check out the Torontoist flickr pool, all sorts of parade pics.

November 19, 2007 @ 9:24 AM


I'm pretty sure you can rule out 4 and 5 on that list. The top 3 are definite causes--particularly the cold. You'd of probably performed a lot better if you were properly warmed up, cramping or no. And I'm inclined to think you wouldn't have cramped up at all. Generally, I used to not eat all that much on days when I had multiple running events back when I'd do that kinda thing in highschool. I'd grab something a couple hours before, and that'd be it until after. Also, if all you were doing beforehand was just generally walking and such, it shouldn't have done *too* much harm. Had you done any stretching/warming up in general prior to the run? What's your usual routine and did you differ from that yesterday?

November 19, 2007 @ 10:36 AM

Toronto Mike

Additional context - the only similar thing I can remember happening to my legs occurred this past summer when I played a slo-pitch game after I ran hills. My calves kept locking up on me - seizing in a similar fashion. Then, the next couple of days I was walking funny because they felt so bruised.

I'm starting to suspect this happened because of the break after 12k. It really wasn't too long, we went to the bathroom and drank some water, but it might have been long enough that my legs started to cool down and they didn't like getting started up again.

If this bout is similar to that one, it's good news because it means I'll just be resting for a few days. I think my make up is such that once I start running I have to see it to the end - I can't pause for a bit and start up again. Is this possible?

November 19, 2007 @ 10:42 AM


It's possible, but not very likely. I think I'd still be looking at the cold plus, in a minor sort of way, a possible off warm-up routine. After your break, did you do any sort of stretches before running again, to get the circulation going?

November 19, 2007 @ 12:05 PM

Toronto Mike

No stretches before running again...

As for the cold, I never felt very cold. I get awfully warm when I run... that's why I prefer to run in shorts, even if it's -2.

November 19, 2007 @ 12:36 PM

Mike (Buffalo Boy)

MIke It sounds like dehydration or something along those terms. Then again, it was only one sided. Do you do any stretching? I-T band may be tight.

November 19, 2007 @ 3:14 PM

yellow hat

down some water to rid your system of lactic acid which might be the cause for you cramped muscles... try massaging deep cold or heating rub to those areas that hurt... after a run eat some raisins & peanuts for snack or have fish w/ veg & rice for meal after a run... after a long run - a proper 10-15min cool down w/ stretching helps too... touch your toes!

November 19, 2007 @ 3:23 PM

Toronto Mike

It was definitely one sided. The left side always felt great and still does.

Although I downed water after the 12k and before the cramping, I really didn't load up on water the way I'm supposed to.

The good news is it's feeling better - way better than it did at 3am. I'm thinking I might be up for a nice and easy 6k tomorrow night...

November 19, 2007 @ 3:46 PM

Toronto Mike

Here's an update for the curious. My right leg is still very sore, so I'm skipping my next two runs. I won't be running my 6k tonight or my 10k tomorrow.

November 20, 2007 @ 4:16 PM


Suggestion: If tomorrow or the day after it's still not letting up, get you to a doctor. Cramping and the like, particularly after running, should not have a duration that measures in days.

November 20, 2007 @ 6:37 PM

Toronto Mike

It's sore, but it's not really a cramping sensation. It's super tender and a little painful when I walk. If the pain doesn't subside, I will see a doctor.

November 20, 2007 @ 7:07 PM

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