Prevention is better than cure.
Why wait until you feel pain to do something about it? A lot of the time muscles weakness, or even tightness could have been dealt with before it turns into a full blow injury. Tight or weak muscles are more susceptible to injury when our bodies suddenly move in a way they are not used to, or, most commonly in runners, dysfunctional overuse. For protection, your body goes into a state of spasm, causing pain and, not surprisingly, overcompensation issues to the surrounding muscles, tendon and ligaments.
By visiting a skilled practitioner, it will allow you to get a full assessment of how your body is functioning and provide you with areas which need work. This could be tightness in your back which is preventing your glutes from firing correctly, in turn, leading to an overuse injury. It could be weakness in your ankle that could make you more susceptible to an ankle sprain.
By knowing your weaknesses, it allows you to set a direction for improvement. Having a list of exercises that will strength up specific problem areas or having a foam rolling routine that will target tight muscles is a great weapon in your defense against injury.
It is important to surround yourself with a team of professionals to ensure all aspects of your health and fitness are being taking care of. This means listening to your coaches training plan, regular massage to keep your body loose, physiotherapy to assess weaknesses and treat problem areas and even nutritionists to make sure you are fueling correctly. It seems like a lot, but once you get this balance right, you will see consistency within your training and some great results when you race.