A couple of weeks ago I got an email from reader Karina who told me that her upcoming half marathon might be in jeopardy. Her leg was hurting and the half marathon was only a week away. She asked me what I thought was the best approach in the days leading up to the race. My recommendation to her was that she should rest it and not run until the day before the race, when she could test it out. If she felt no pain at that point, she should definitely at least start the race and see how it goes. I assured her that she wouldn't lose much fitness with several days of rest and that pushing through pain could make it worse.
I was thrilled to get another email from Karina this week in which she reported that, after several days of rest, she completed the half marathon with no pain. Had she pushed through some pain and tried to run in the days leading up to the race, she may not have had such a favorable outcome. Most running injuries do respond well to RICE (Rest Ice Compression Elevation) self-treatment, so that's a good first step to take when you're feeling pain.