How do I tell if the pain I am experiencing is an injury?

Sara asks

Hi Lee
I’m a newbie runner, I started running three months ago and just completed my first 8k race. I found it relatively easy fitness-wise, I wasn’t out of breath, no cramps or anything like that. What I did get at the 5-6k mark was awful joint pain in my knees and pelvic area. I have good runners and (I think) good posture when I run. I’ve mentioned this to my brothers who would run a fair bit and they’ve said that they get the same pains. If this is just a genetic thing is there anything I can do to help it?
I’m training for a half-marathon in September and I don’t see how I can do it if the pain continues.
Thanks for your help with this

Lee's response

Hi Sara,

Thanks for your email.
Firstly, you must remind yourself that you have only been running for three months and your body is still getting used to the constant pounding of each step when you run. Your body and especially your legs take years to adjust and learn to absorb that impact.
Another area that you may want to look at is maybe your body is out of alignment and hence why after running for a period of time, when you start to get tired and your form starts to struggle, you then start to feel pain and aches in different parts of your body. A simple visit to a chiropractor or osteopath will make sure that your pelvis, hips, leg length and back are all in working order.
Taking things like glucosamine will help with joint pain and getting a massage once every 2 - 3 weeks will also help relax your muscles and take away some of those pain and aches you are experiencing.
Great to hear you have good shoes and make sure in training you are running on soft surfaces wherever possible. eg: gravel paths instead of bitumen.