I cringed, not because of this girl’s weird idea of delicious (really odd, right?) but because downing few ibuprofen tablets before a run is not a good pain management technique. Studies show that people who take anti-inflammatories before a run display higher levels of inflammation and immune system response post run than those who don’t take the anti-inflammatories. Inflammation makes recovery difficult and sets you up for injury and disease.
More disturbingly, people who down pain meds before a run show signs of mild kidney impairment and endotoxemia, or leaking of bacteria into the colon.
You may have also heard that pain meds mask you body’s natural pain signals – these signals are important because pain is an indication that your body is in danger. It can make certain ailments just bearable enough to tolerate during your training run or race – but aggravate the injury so it never heals. Remember, anti-inflammatories don’t cure injuries, they just cover them up. Animal studies show that NSAIDs actually slow the healing of muscles, tendons, ligament and bones. They inhibit the production of substances that cause pain – yes — but, these bodily chemicals are also essential in the creation of collagen, an essential building block of most tissue. As a result, your body cannot heal or recover as quickly after taking pain meds.
The temptation is great to power through with the help of a few pain killers – but you are better off using heat therapy wraps, tape or rest when you’re hurting. And, if you need a “sweet” fix – have a shot block or gummy bear before your run – not a sugar-coated pill.