Remember those t-shirts, usually distributed by the weight room coach at your high school, that says Pain is Temporary, Pride is Forever? While there is a bit of truth in those shirts - especially for the miler who is starting to tie up in the final 200m of a race and has to endure those brutal final seconds - that mentality drives me crazy. That mentality makes it so hard for serious runners, both adult and high school aged, to back off when something hurts. When your foot hurts or your ankle hurts or your hamstring hurts, you need to back off, take some rest days (cross train?), do some rehab and potentially go to a medical specialist to make sure nothing serious is going on. A sore foot for a runner could be the beginning of a navicular fracture, an injury that is extremely difficult to recover from because the navicular bone is always being compressed, especially during walking and running. Now, by no means am I saying that you shouldn't learn to deal with the discomfort - okay, pain - that comes with racing; learning to run while you're uncomfortable is the skill separating runners who are reaching their potential from runners who are capable of more. But learning to run when you're uncomfortable and running through the pain of a muscular or skeletal injury are two different things, and you need to learn the difference between the two if you're going to be a serious runner.
*Coach Jay's advice is provided as general training information. Use at your own risk. Always consult with your own heath care provider for questions relating to your specific training and nutrition.