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This morning (Thursday) I was running intervals on the treadmill, 4 minutes running - 1 minute walking, and I did them just a little faster than I usually do them.

At the fourth interval I started feeling a very mild pain in the left hamstring which became more intense I kept going so I stopped. I stretched, took a shower and went to work but it hurt while I was walking, not enough to make me limp but it was uncomfortable.

7 hours later it does not hurt anymore, I took some Advil, but I am a little concerned that it might have pulled it a little bit and I have a 5k race on Sunday.

How can I tell if I can run the race without the risk of severely injuring myself or if I should forfeit it altogether?

Thanks for any insight.

closed as off-topic by Dave Liepmann, rrirower, FredrikD, Moses, Kneel-Before-ZOD Jan 11 '15 at 22:53

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I don't think anyone is going to be able to give you a concrete answer as to whether or not you will be injury free in your race.

Breaking down your question a bit, the things I notice are here:

This morning (Thursday) I was running intervals on the treadmill, 4 minutes running - 1 minute walking, and I did them just a little faster than I usually do them.

Interval training is very effective form of training because it's hard. So you were doing one of the harder forms of running and doing it a little harder then you normally do it, and then you started getting some pain from it.

My history of competitive running, at least with my body, has shown me that training for running is essentially managing over-use injuries. If you could simply keep ratcheting up distance and speed forever at a constant rate, everyone would run sub 4 minute miles and hop around like gazelles.

If I encountered what you did, I would do this:

  • Throttle down your run distances and speed between now and your race. You're not going to get any faster or better by training harder at this point. You've got what you've got, and that's it. Honestly, you shouldn't have been doing intensive interval work within a week of a race anyway. Once you're in the ~10 day window of a race, you should really be just keeping yourself fresh and uninjured.

  • Do a ~30 minute light run a couple of days before hand (Friday at the latest, not Saturday). Keep the pace light, avoid big hills. If you feel good, do the race and push it. If you feel the injury coming back, maybe do the race but tell yourself to not push it and not run at full race pace.

I think every competitive runner is aware of a few injuries that they've recently dealt with. Keeping them in check, not aggravating them, and knowing how hard you can push yourself without injury is a huge component to long term competitive running success.

  • Thanks for the answer. I would like to share that not only I was able to run the race but also after 1 and a half month of training I went from 34:50 to a final time of 30:38. Did not get to the objective of breaking the 30 min mark but I am happy. I will keep your suggestions in mind from now on :) – Sergio Romero Oct 6 '14 at 14:44

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