If you pay for it with pain, you may want to treat running like impact conditioning
Ever get that tingling in your wrists and forearms after even a light but long day of hitting? Feel something similar in your knees, quads, or calves after some road work? Tens of thousands of little collisions with the pavement seems awfully similar to thousands of little punches. With your body weight even a slow stride has a minimum force per step.
This is not sports medicine or training advice, just my take on how I’m trying to stay healthy and having fun cross training with my particular body at my particular age. Talk to Shawn Kitzman or a professional if you can no longer afford to be young and stupid.
One reason I like running is it doesn’t have the twisting and torquing about the joints like punching and kicking do, so it feels like a rest day with cardio.
You may eventually adapt to, heal, or fix the problem. However, while you’re still paying for it with pain and excessive stiffness, you may want to limit your running days.
When I decided to get back to more martial arts, I distinctly remember certain kinds of soreness I definitely did not miss, and I suspected they mainly had to do with impact training and sparring. So I told myself even if I had the time, I wouldn’t be hitting more than 3 times a week.
But I noticed that running too much gave me similar issues, and trying to power through it by going harder or more often didn’t suit either my lifestyle or fitness goals. Varying technique and footwear helped, but it’s just not important enough to me to master. (Yes I did get into Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen as well as the Vibram Fivefingers for a while.)
The real Born to Run
So I made a compromise, no more than running or hitting 4 times a week. And if 2 of those days are running, no way both days of impact were going to be kick heavy.
It’s important to note even that reduced program often feels like pushing it. A few weeks of successfully pushing it seems to lead to some degree of burn out and requiring a longer recovery cycle. In fact, some weeks it takes even less to put me there.
What do you do to keep healthy doing something that definitely exacts a toll on your body?