Fatigue is a part of training which can be alleviated with rest, ice, massage, and proper nutrition. Persistent fatigue is a state of being tired, sore, and listless which does not go away after one or two days of rest. Fatigue is different from discomfort, discomfort occurs during a ran when you are asking your body to do something it is not accustomed to doing in everyday life. This encompasses the feeling in your legs when running uphill, the change of breath during speed work, or the pounding of a long run. The main difference between discomfort and fatigue is that discomfort is a good thing, given the proper recovery, asking your body to get uncomfortable will make it stronger the next time around.
Pain is an entirely different feeling than fatigue and discomfort. Pain stops all activities. If you are on a run and you cross the line from running uncomfortably to painful running, the pain will either force you to stop completely or noticeably alter your flow such that you know something is wrong. Pain is different from fatigue in that pain is chronic and does not go away. Should you feel something bothering you; hamstring, ankle, quad and you take the usual one or two days off and it still persists, you are in pain and you should go see a specialist.
Do not be discouraged from your goals or fear chasing them because of this warning. we encourage you to endeavor to find that line between discomfort and the less desirable. Simply go about it with patience, humility, and understanding.
Understand that your body can only do what it can do today, have the humility to take a day to recover and do all the little things to rehabilitate after hard efforts, and have the patience to know that it is consistency in effort and practice that leads to success in running; not luck or ability.
Life and running is not a Gatorade commercial or a sports movie. There is no one filming you grind your teeth with effort as you run with pain and there is no neon perspiration that accumulates on your shirt as you trained fatigued. Just slow, limping walks back to the car, nights spent with peas on your ankle to reduce the swelling, and days of training missed.
Ironically, this is the beauty of the sport. The ability for every runner, no matter ability or experience, to spend the same amount of time, expel the same effort, step on the same line and chase the same victory. The victory over the self, the trail, and the unknown. To have a dream and chase it. To fall short and re-evaluate it. To come back, and again go after it. To feel pride and be unable to measure it.
This is running.
By Damian Rodriguez