Injury Before Marathon (Read 581 times)

    I have kind of a unique situation here. I started running about a year and a half ago, and have slowly built up my mileage. In July/August I reached 18 miles and decided to sign up for a marathon. Since then I have continued the slow base building, and my longest run was 22 miles. I've done well, with nutrition and hydration during runs, and my recovery has been great. On my last long run (4 weeks ago, 21 miles) I hurt my foot and had to take 10 days off. I started back slowly, and ran only 8.5 miles before I threw out my back (not running related). I had to take another 10 days off. In the last month, I have put in AT MOST 30 miles. With 2 months to go before the marathon, I was forced to take 3 weeks off. The marathon is January 7. I started back to running yesterday, and ran 4 miles easily today. I have 10 miles planned for Saturday, but until then I won't really know how much I've lost in the month off (I didn't do any cross training, since my back injury required complete rest). Would you still run the full marathon? Would you switch to the half? I've had my heart set on this race, but during a time when all training advice says to taper, I will be building back up. (btw, I am 25, F, and this is my first marathon). Any advice or tips would be great.
    "Running is a big question mark that's there each and every day. It asks you, 'Are you going to be a wimp or are you going to be strong today?' " - Peter Maher, Irish-Canadian Olympian
      My advice - take it with the proverbial bucket o' salt: Run the full. Work hard until Christmas. Not hard enough to hurt yourself, but get in 2 long (or longish) runs. 3 at the max. Some easy mid-distance runs. You've got almost 3 weeks until then. After Christmas, taper. Do not be tempted to cram in hard runs after that, thinking it's going to help you. It won't. Some people will probably say you need to start tapering even sooner, but I think you'll be okay doing a long(ish) run right around Christmas. I'm beginning to think that the traditional 3 weeks of tapering is a bit too long, anyway. Take it pretty easy, though. I don't personally think you need to do any runs beyond 15-18 miles at this point. Or any fast work at all. Don't do anything that might risk another injury. Then enjoy the marathon - and since you've had problems, don't worry about the time. At all. It's your first anyway. A slow time will just mean it'll be easier to PR your second. And you may just find that the forced recovery periods from your injury might have rested you up a bit, and that your time on race day will be better than you might think. It looks from your log like you had already built up a helluva nice base. I think you'll be fine. Run the full. Which one is it, by the way? Wait - isn't Disney World right around then? Bet it's that one. I'm jealous. Run half for you, and half for me. Send me half the medal. Smile My 2 cents.
      E-mail: JakeKnight2002@aol.com


        I think you've really got to listen to your own body in a situation like this. If your foot or back isn't completely recovered, then you need to evaluate what the chances are that they will be injured again (and then you might not be able to run at all.. and for a lot longer). Are these chronic injuries (plantar fasciitis in the foot? a slipped disc in the back?) or just random problems that probably won't come back? Only you know how you're feeling. That said, if you're feeling good (and it sounds like you really do want to do the full) then go for it.. And JKs advice (no speed, long slow distance) is good. I think that with some very careful/controlled training in these last few weeks you should be able to run a first marathon that you can be very proud of. Keep us posted! Big grin
          Thank you for your responses. I really needed to hear from other runners, and unfortunately have none in my own life. I really have 2 weeks to decide and still have time to downgrade to the half, but after reading your advice I think I may just go for it. My recent runs have been fairly easy, and I have hope that 10 miles this weekend will go smoothly. Luckily I am now pain free, and am doing everything I can to "shelter" those areas. Neither of the injuries were major or structural, they just hurt! My thoughts were to do 10 miles this Saturday, 14 on the 16th, and 18 on the 24th. Do you think that would work, or is that increasing my runs too quickly? I know it's said that you shouldn't increase by more than 10 percent, but that's just for base building, right? BTW, the marathon is the OC Marathon is Newport Beach, Ca. Thanks again!
          "Running is a big question mark that's there each and every day. It asks you, 'Are you going to be a wimp or are you going to be strong today?' " - Peter Maher, Irish-Canadian Olympian