Ever take a pain reliever before running so you could dull the ache in your back or the pain in your leg? If you have, you probably took a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAIDs) as they are the most commonly used OTC medication; not just because they relieve pain, but because they decrease inflammation.
The bad news, when you take an NSAID like aspirin, Motrin (ibuprofen), or Aleve (naproxen) while running you can stress your kidneys and impair their ability to function. And, if your kidneys can’t function there’s a good chance dehydration or hyponatremia will result. Couple that with warm temperatures and you could really be in for a world of hurt.
So what should you do when you experience pain while running?
Well, there’s “pain” and then there’s pain. Some pain is just you not wanting to run mile time-trials, intervals, or hills. This type of pain is annoying, but manageable. Then there’s the kind of pain that is more physical. The kind that makes you say @!#$ with each step. If you experience this type of pain when you’re running here are a few suggestions:
- Try changing your pace or stride. A simple adjustment could provide the change you need to eliminate the pain.
- Don’t take NSAIDs like aspirin, Motrin, or Aleve. They block blood flow to the kidney and therefore increase your risk for dehydration and hyponatremia. Instead, try taking acetaminophen (e.g. Tylenol) for the pain as it won’t affect your kidneys.
- If the pain is too much to bare and is interfering with your ability to focus mentally and perform physically, you should seriously consider ending your run to prevent long-term injury.
Look, no one on the #Anywhere5K team is a doctor. We’re just runners who have received the same advice on running and NSAIDs from medical professionals over the years: NSAIDs are a big no-no when running.
Still not convinced of the dangers? Google “nsaids running” and see what comes up.