Recovery or Excuses?

I have a sore hamstring.  It’s been bothering me for about 4-6 weeks.  Nothing major, no severe pain or anything, but I can definitely feel it when I’m running, kicking the ball with the kids, or stretching.  This is the same leg that bothered me off and on when I was training to run a half-marathon a year-and-a-half ago.  And now that I think about it, the same leg for which I tore my hamstring and glute muscle pretty badly way back in high school.

In this situation, the obvious tonic is to rest, take it easy, so that’s just what I’m doing.  Have also been careful to stretch out that area without stressing it too much and massage it in the spa.  But this is also where you can start playing tricks on yourself.  Isn’t a certain amount of soreness expected – especially as you get older?  Are you just being too careful, not tough enough?  Is this the kind of soreness you just drive through with a few pain relievers and get on with it?  And how much recovery time do you really need?

Commiserating with a co-worker  about this very topic recently, and we both agreed that it seems to take about twice as long to heal as it used to.  This can be pretty frustrating – especially if you’re the kind of person who requires a certain level of activity to feel mentally and physically sharp.  It’s a fine line.

I have about four colleagues and friends from my approximate age group at work in various states of extended injury recovery, all of whom overdid it and didn’t listen to their bodies.  And I think about a friend who’s had a string of problems over the last year stemming from his drive to tough out some soreness and finish training for a marathon.

So the smart move is to take it easy, let that hamstring heal.  But indoor soccer season is right around the corner, and I don’t want to be sucking wind out there…

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