Just recently extended my running program to train for a 1/2 marathon when I got up to 6 miles my thighs started to ache. They do not ache to the touch but when I run they feel very hard and the pain is excrutiating. If I keep running through the pain after about a 1/2 mile to 3/4 of a mile the pain eases up somwhat to where it is tolerable. I stopped running for a week but the pain still hasnt gotten any better. I have been trying to strectch more but nothing seems to ease the pain. I have also been applying ice as often as possible. There has been no swelling or discoloration. The pain is mainly on the top of my thighs.
Running may be uncomfortable at times, but it should NEVER be excrutiating. When you have that kind of pain, that's your body telling you that something is wrong and you need to stop immediately. If you took a week off and the pain is still "excrutiating," that's a red flag. You need to prioritize your health over your race training and stop running until you figure out what it is and how to take care of it.
Unfortunately, without knowing you, your training schedule, health background, etc., someone on the internet is probably not going to be able to figure out what's going on. If I had to guess (but I really am guessing based on very limited info), I'd guess that you've ramped up your trainint too fast and your quads (the muscles on the tops of your thighs) are just not ready for the strain you're putting on them. I might also guess that you're running in such a way that you're over-using your quad muscles and underutilizing your hamstrings (muscles on the back of the thights) and glutes(butt muscles).
But really, these are just guesses based on my experiences working with beginning runners. If I were you, I would make an appointment with a sports medicine doctor right away -- s/he will be in a MUCH better position than anyone on the internet to figure out what's going on and how to treat it. Until then, STOP RUNNING -- if the pain is that bad and rest, ice, & stretching haven't helped, you're only likely to make it worse.
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