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Monday, June 7, 2010

Zapped my Quads/NSAID's

I had a cousin in town a few days ago and we broke out a map and set our course for a long run through the mountains. It would have been about 9.5 miles...had we turned at the right place. We did the first 4 miles at a pretty good clip so before we knew it we were at the bottom of trail and had missed our designated short cut. Not a big deal but now we had a little more black top to cover. I felt really good and ended the run really strong. After re-mapping our route I found we had done 11.35 miles at a 8:20 pace and about 2/3 of the run was downhill. Longest run of the season for me. Hooray! I think I could have gone a few more miles too.

It's a good thing I didn't though.

The next morning I went to hop out of bed and about collapsed on the floor. Hmmm. I thought my quads were firing just fine but apparently they weren't quite ready for all the decent. So now for the past couple days I've been cross training, icing, and medicating myself.

Motrin is my friend!

With that said I'm reminded of the precautions for runners who use any type of NSAID (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug) to help with pain and inflammation. I know it's pretty common for runners to pop a few Ibuprofen before a run and there are some pretty major side effects from doing this so I thought I'd throw a little review up here for ya.

The most common NSAID's include Ibuprofen, Aspirin, and Motrin.

Acetaminophen, another pain reliever is not and NSAID so choose Tylenol as your medication of choice.

What they can do for you - Reduce muscle discomfort, inflammation, and swelling.

Why you should never take one before, during, or right after a run - NSAID's can cause nausea, stomach cramping, and diarrhea. And because running itself can create stomach discomfort, the meds make you extra prone to these problems.

Taking too many NSAIDS can stress the kidneys (NSAID drugs are processed out of the system by your kidneys) and impair their ability to function, which can contribute to dehydration or over hydration, especially if you don't ingest both water and salt during long runs. Your kidneys are already working overtime during a long run or race and when you are dehydrated they are under even more stress. Adding these drugs to the load on your kidneys can cause kidney damage.

Have you ever witnessed a runner collapsing when they seemed otherwise healthy? Here's an example of what could happen.

Taking NSAIDs pre- or midrace can be risky. Don Davis, of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, found this out after he won the 1994 Seagate 100-K Ultramarathon in Toledo, Ohio. Though he finished strong, Davis, then 49, was diagnosed with acute kidney failure four days later. He was hospitalized for 11 days and lapsed into congestive heart failure before his kidney function was stabilized.

During the race, Davis battled an injured calf muscle by popping ibuprofen every time it cramped. In nine and a half hours, Davis took 2,400 milligrams (the 24-hour prescription maximum). His injured calf was leaking myoglobin, a protein the kidneys must process out of the bloodstream. His doctors said the ibuprofen was inhibiting the kidneys from doing their job and a toxic backup resulted.

To reiterate, you should not be popping Ibuprofen or other NSAID drugs while running. Here are a couple of things to do instead:

  • Choose Tylenol for pain control
  • See a doctor to treat the underlying injury, rather than running through pain.
  • Ice the painful area before and after running. Ice for 10-15 minutes at a time, but not longer.
  • Talk to your doctor about a topical pain reliever that will not impact the stomach or kidneys
So I'm popping my Motrin and taking it easy today with a little ice and massage to the thighs. But when I set out again for a run tomorrow I'm going to curb the NSAID until at least 4 hours after I'm done.

See ya on the road!

P.S. - I crushed my 5k PR last Memorial Day. I finished in 21:39. Hooray! I was thinking once I reached my goal of sub 22 I would focus on my 10k but now I'm tempted to go for sub 21. Hmmm...

Full articles and references,7120,s6-241-286--7770-2-1-2,00.html


Mel -Tall Mom on the Run said...

GREAT post!! Thanks for the reminder and sorry about your calves. As a basketball player I always took pain reliever beofre I played.

What about Aleve??

I am hoping for a sub 21 5K this summer. 20:59 would be FINE I just want to see 20 as the first number..

Tricia said...

great job on the run!

Debbie said...

I just stumbled across your blog and wanted to say that I'm impressed by your time in running!
I'm doing my 2nd 5K on Saturday and I'm hoping for a sub 25! :)

Glenn Jones said...

Ouch! I hope your pain is doing better.

One other important thing about ibuprofen for anti-inflammatory treatment - our livers are *very* good at filtering ibuprofen from our bodies. Sooooooo - if you are taking ibuprofen, DO NOT miss a dose! (When my son played baseball, he was on ibuprofen for elbow and shoulder tendonitis - 800mg 4 times a day for seven days)

Lisa said...

great reminder!

Congrats on your great run! Sometimes I think when we don't really know how long we've gone, or are going, we can do our best! The benefits of ignorance!

Erika said...

I'm an aleve/naproxin junkie...and even though I know better, sometimes it's good for a reminder! I've been doing some serious cross training in the pool thanks to IT band syndrome/patellar tendonitis. It really helps with less stress through the joints and focus on proper form!
Great job on your race, that's an amazing time:)