I see people on a daily basis with running related injuries. I don’t pretend to be a doctor but the reality is most of them will not see a doctor until the pain becomes much worse.
When I ask what’s caused the pain, the answer is frequently, “nothing”!
So we spend a lot of time talking, digging around for clues as to why their IT band or foot might be hurting now.
It’s a shame science as a subject gets such a bad rap in school because the very basis of the subject – the scientific method – is always the best approach.
You remember the scientific method: ask a question –> make a hypothesis –> test it –> analyze data –> repeat.
Pain doesn’t come from nowhere. Bad races don’t ‘just happen’. There’s always a reason. [In fact, regarding injuries, high mileage is protective for running injuries! It’s big changes in mileage from week to week that is a big predictor for injury.]
The key is to think of your body like a science experiment.
When it’s time to test a hypothesis (such as “why does my stomach hurt on long runs”), it’s time to pull out a notebook and start setting up some experiments.
Make some hypotheses. Control the variables. Change one thing each week. Observe the results. Repeat.
PS – this also applies to the rest of your life.