#196 Lack of Discipline causes running injury - DOC

#196 Lack of Discipline causes running injury

Today on the Doc On The Run Podcast, we’re talking about how lack of discipline causes running injury.

This episode is probably going to rub a lot of runners the wrong way.

No runner wants to think they lack discipline. Running is all about discipline. Running is about getting up early in the morning, about going for long runs in the dark, running when it’s raining, running when it’s hot, running when you just don’t feel like running.

For most people who are runners, we feel like and we believe that we have lots of discipline. We do what most people will not do, and that’s why we can run and we can do events and finish them successfully.

That’s why I say this is going to bother a lot of people, so if you’re offended by this, I’m sorry, but you have to really think about the reality of it when you’re injured. When you get a running injury, you have to identify every single thing that could be contributing to your running injury. You didn’t get injured because you’re disciplined. You got injured because you slacked off. 

A lot of doctors will take offense at this too. They’ll say, “Well, no, runners actually run themselves into the ground, and running causes running injuries. They run too far, they run too much, and they hurt themselves. That’s why they need to stop running.”

I actually believe the exact opposite. Running doesn’t cause running injuries. Lack of discipline causes running injuries. You made a mistake. You did something wrong. You actually failed to keep some promise to yourself. You decided to run at the wrong time. You decided to change your training plan. You decided to eat the wrong stuff. You decided to slack off on your sleep, you weren’t discipline about your sleep, your rest patterns, your recovery routine. You lacked discipline somewhere along the way that contributed to the overall accumulation of stress in your body that led to this one specific overtraining injury.

That’s really it. You got injured because you slacked off. You got injured because you lacked discipline in some single area, probably, maybe a couple of areas. Maybe it’s in your rest, maybe it’s in your nutrition, but you lacked discipline somewhere, and that led to your training injury.

If you have a coach and your coach laid out a training plan for you, I promise, your coach is not going to give you a training plan that will injure you; however, the training plan is one part of the picture. You have to take all of the rest of the pieces that actually lead to your overall development of strength and add them to the training plan. 

The training plan is just a schedule of workouts, but you have to sleep every day, you have to make sure you do something to mitigate the accumulation of inflammation in your system when you’re executing that training plan. That all takes discipline.

If you trained too much, so to speak, and you blew it on your recovery after some of those training things, and you accumulated inflammation, you accumulated too much stress, and then you got injured, you have to deal with that injury. If you’re not recovering quickly, it’s because you lack discipline. You’re healing slower than you could because you’re failing to recognize the steps you could take to heal faster.

Look, I do consultations all day long. All I do is talk to injured runners. I lecture about running injuries, I talk about running injuries, and I can tell you that I never, ever see a runner, not even an elite athlete, world-class athlete who isn’t missing something, failing to recognize something that they could do to take steps to heal faster.

The truth is that every single one of them lacks discipline. They’re just not putting in the effort to figure out those additional steps they could take to heal faster. If you want to feel faster, you have to look for the work you can do right now. That’s the problem is that doctors tell runners the opposite. We tell everybody, “Just cut back. Just stop. Don’t move. Just rest. Just heal. Just recover. Just take care of yourself.” That’s not really recovering. That’s just waiting for some magical passive process to take place.

Don’t ever forget, recovering from a running injury is an act of process. You have to do stuff to heal faster. There are steps you can take both in moving, in healing, and recovering that include things you can do. That means sleeping more deliberately, eating more deliberately, hydrating more deliberately, making sure you have the nutritional supplements in your system to help feed and build the healing process, looking at how much protein you’re taking in.

All those things are not part of what doctors talk about when you see them, so you have to be disciplined, you have to find those things, you have to find the additional steps and the additional work you can do to speed up your recovering injury, to speed up the healing of your running injury so you can recover faster and get back to running.


Pain is the best tool to help an injured runner decide when run. You don’t have to figure out what to write down. We made a simple Pain Journal PDF for you.

To print out your copy of the pain journal, Download here:








Got a Question?

If you have a question that you would like answered as a future addition of the Doc On The Run Podcast, send it to me PodcastQuestion@docontherun.com. And then make sure you join me for the next edition of the Doc On The Run Podcast!