Wednesday, November 19, 2008

"Pain" and Other Great Movie Lines by Mr. T

Joe Dudman over at the Run Oregon blog has put up a survey about pain and running, but I wonder if he has asked the right questions. The questions:

  • How high is your tolerance for pain?
  • How do you respond to pain?
I don't have the slightest idea how high my tolerance for pain is -- 6? 19? 133? Orange? What scale are we using and how do I use the scale? It's a mystery wrapped inside an enigma on an unknown planet circling an unknowable sun, all of it enmeshed in unspeakably black and turbid mists of unfathomable origin. I might as well speculate about the final thoughts of the last twelve frogs eaten by leopards!

So I answered "moderate."

I like the second question better -- "how do you respond to pain?" I just run through it unless it's a worrying sort of pain. I'm endlessly amused with the advice to runners, "you shouldn't run through pain." This translates to "give up running."


larryniven said...

Isn't that really sad? I'd rather have people encourage runners (and others) to learn about what kind of pain means what - some just means that you're tired, some means that your form is wrong, some means that you have a serious injury, and so on. People are generally not too bright, sure, but even I think it's overly pessimistic to assume that people can't learn the difference between different kinds of pain and act accordingly.

Dale said...

LN, very true. I have never encountered a runner who didn't chuckle at that advice -- well, I take that back. Runners willing to accept that advice are runners who are looking for an excuse to "get out of the game."

It's not rocket science to distinguish worrying from non-worrying pain. (No doubt there are difficult cases out there, but not many.) Blisters from new shoes can be extremely painful, but you just have to give them time and put up with the annoyance. Same with muscle soreness, which can get pretty severe. The pain from a shin splint is something different.