Of course the professional runners overdo it sometimes when they're determined to win a race. But that's their job, their passion, their purpose, their reason to breathe and live.
We - the amateur runners - can safely calm down and just enjoy running as some kind of hobby.
This teaches us to not exaggerate and listen to our bodies.
Your mindset is key in the process of becoming a good and stable runner. You have to endure the pain of sore muscles and still you must be able to recognize 'real injuries' in the moment they occur. That's not easy. You'll have to learn to distinguish between sore muscles and serious patellas problems.
A healthy mindset consists of a few rules of thumb:
- "I'll never run more than 80% while in training without purpose."
- "I'll have a break when I need one."
- "I'll treat my body as if it was somebody else's."
If you obey to these simple rules you'll reduce the amount of injuries significantly.
Let me explain: When you're training you want to run properly so you can perhaps participate in a race or two per quarter. Giving more than 80% is not necessary to train your body. You can of course attempt to run 100% or even 110% of your maximum capabilities but you should do so only temporay and with a purpose. I mean you'll need a decent training plan designed by professionals to make sure your body can do 'it'.
Most injuries 'happen' because the runner doesn't listen to his or her body. When you're in need of a (short) break why not give in? Have a (short) break and calm down. Don't overdo it. Gasping for your breath may seem athlete-like but it's not advisable to stay at this level of exhaustion for the whole session!
The last rule of thumb you should adopt is the most effective one. Whenever you doubt your abilities you should ask yourself whether you would want another person (his or her body specifically) to endure that amount of pain, exhaustion or danger. In most cases you'll answer "NO!" and by then you'll have another lesson learned.