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Running friends don’t let running friends get injured

A running friend...

… describes his accelerated switch to an advanced-level training program with considerably more weekly mileage and more intense speed work.

Duct_tape_2 …has hip pain.  She’s making it through her runs explaining it’s not getting any worse, but it’s also not getting better, and just wants to hang on until her race day.

…has just discovered the excitement of running and racing and can’t get enough.  He has a race picked out for most weekends, at a variety of distances, with a half marathon at the end of the season which is very important to him.

I’ve been in all these situations, plus many others like them, where a runner discusses going down a path with injury written all over it.  So what do you do?

Do you follow your gut and speak up?   Or do you let a running friend learn the hard way like most runners learn?

Do you resist explaining what conventional running wisdom would advise and risk dashing their hopes and dreams to the ground?

Do you risk coming across as a know-it-all?

Do you advise them to see a doc even if it means the doc will sideline them from running or even racing?  Do you suggest they reconsider their racing schedule?

How about this?  Each of these scenarios is with a BRF—a blogging running friend—who publicly discusses these situations on a post.  Do you wish them the best, offer alternative suggestions, or just remain silent? 

Do we help runners avoid the pain, disappointment, and setback in their running that we've experienced, or let them figure it out themselves?

I've been wondering if this week's focus on running injuries also deserves some discussion on if and how, as runners, we can proactively support each other, including speaking up and holding a tough conversation even if it means risking the running friendship.

You'd think running friends wouldn't let running friends get injured.  But do we?

We're looking forward to you sharing your experience and wisdom in tomorrow's Take It And Run Thursday.

Duct tape on mouth on Flickr by Meredith Farmer
Angel keeping a secret on Flickr by Apricotskye


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William carter

Hi Tom

This is another great post. On one hand it is really a difficult decision to tell someone that they are maybe pushing a little hard or that it is time to take a break. On the other hand if you consider the relationship to be strong enough, you should at least initiate the conversation about how to fix the problem or just act prophylactically. I am looking forward to posting on this one tomorrow.

Thanks again for being such a leader among runners.

Ed Hammerbeck

You must be new to the internet so let me explain. ANYTHING goes in blog comments and discussion threads. Call into question someone's parentage? Pick nits ad nauseum? Post pictures of cats with snarky captions? It's all fair game in the wild and woolly world of public digital discourse. So, I say lob those bombs. Start those flame wars. Troll with impunity. Above all other concerns, say what's on your mind. It's an online tradition as old as the ASCII table. Heck, the anonymous internet might be the last place in the world you can exercise free speech without getting on somebody's terrorist watchdog list.

And when you comment for this purpose, it's not like when you are tussling over whether or not Han shot first [he did] or whether or not Radiohead is the greatest band in the universe [it isn't]. In this case, you could actually help someone not get injured. So be extra smug about it.

Oh, and you are a goonie goo goo doodie head. :P


Tom - You are such a wise one. We definitely struggle with this. I have been mulling this over regarding one blogger who I think may go too far too fast. I've nudged, I've hinted, I've said that I have worrying rights because I'm a mom.... I don't want to offend. And really, who wants advice from someone that calls themself "non-runner"?? On the other hand, if even I can see it.... :D

PS you have permission to speak up if you think I'm overdoing it. :D


As a newer runner, I definitely appreciate all the advice I can get — even if it's hard to hear at times. Sometimes a well-timed word of warning can save a whole world of hurt later on.


I say go at it and give them the advice. One of four things will happen:

1) They listen and have a successful season as a result
2) They listen, but it was too late and end up getting injured. They still learn the lesson and will turn to you for advice
3) They don't listen and you get a big I told you so, but they learn anyways
4) They end up being a super-human freak that never gets injured no matter how many miles they run. (I'm sorry for calling you a freak, Bill)

PS - I think Nancy is talking about me, but she never said anything pre-injury. Rather than a "don't stick your tongue in the electrical socket" she's saying "see?! You shouldn't have stuck your tongue in the electrical socket!" But I welcome the motherly nudges and hints, they could help keep me in check!


Bill IS a super human freak who never gets injured. And, we are all jealous, but we still love him.

And Doug, for some reason I do feel the need to worry about you and mother you. I probably THOUGHT comments and then eased back because I like you so much. :D You always ROCK MY FACE OFF. Next time, I will try to follow through with a nudge. :P


Great post Tom. I know if it was me I am usually turn a blind eye to what I am doing. I appreciate all comments and insights b/c I'm here to learn. It seems most BRFs are open and accepting so go ahead give the advice and maybe they'll take it, maybe they won't but at least they will have another point of view to consider.


If the second person isn't describing me (I've read about a few hip injuries lately), it certainly describes me! I've cut down my mileage significantly this week and plan on just cross training/stretching/strengthening for the rest of the week, and seeing how it feels on Sunday (one week before the race). I do want to get through the race though! If anyone has advice, feel free to shoot it my way!


Hi, i always welcome advice from my running mentor because she's been there, done that hundreds of times and she knows her stuff! She talks, i listen!


this is a tough one. personally, i know i won't listen to anyone who tells me i might be headed for injury. unfortunately, i usually need to learn the hard way. that said, if anyone saw this latest injury of mine coming & didn't say anything to me, i have a bone to pick with you. had i been warned i was headed to this place, i could have at least gone to the liquor store and really stocked up for my 6 miserable weeks of pathetic-ness. now - if i see someone else headed down the path, it is a fine line between appearing preachy or hypocritical (cause i certainly don't practice what i preach). i may offer advice on tips to deal with pain, but have to honestly say - i'm not sure i'd go so far as to say i think they were headed for it. i'm of the theory that everyone is different -what may lead one runner to injury may not be the same recipe for another. now, i'm totally happy to offer unsolicited advice post injury - on how to deal with pain (roll on a tennis ball!), how to deal with not running - (drink a lot) and things of that ilk.


I for one can't keep my mouth shut, and try to be honest without being hurtful. (I would hope other BRF who are reading will state their concerns. ) I think it depends on the runner and the blog and your relationship to them.

(Nancy -- you are not only a runner but a triathlete too ;) )


I'm all for telling them. Share a story that's relevant or share your experience. You can't control what they do with the information:-) But you at least know you've done what you can to help.

Database Diva

I just tell people that I hope it works out better for them than it did for me. The great thing about having done just about every stupid thing possible is that you can always serve as the bad example.

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