Sustaining an injury during marathon training isn’t the end of the world.
I am currently training for another marathon. I know it probably seems like I am always saying that, but that’s probably because I am. I love the feeling of accomplishment that marathon training gives you, and it’s a great excuse to stay in shape. As I get older and expand my family, I have realized my motivations for working out have changed. Committing to marathons has allowed me to justify my workouts. I am currently ‘in between’ marathons, but the fact that I have one coming up keeps me motivated to stay in shape.
That being said, marathons are obviously very physically challenging, and the risk of injury is relatively high. Spending a lot of time training for something, and then injuring yourself before you can complete your task is obviously a huge bummer. It’s very important to be mindful of how you train for a marathon, but sometimes accidents happen. So here is what to do, if you find yourself injured while training for a marathon.
Seek treatment immediately, even for minor injuries. Minor injuries can become major if you continue to train on them. Make sure you seek medical attention despite your level of pain.
Start cross training the moment you realize you are injured. There are plenty of ways to maintain your endurance while your body heals, especially from a minor injury. Obviously consult your doctor, but immediately switch up your routine so that you don’t fall too far out of fighting shape.
Take your time. Wait until you can walk for 30 minutes straight without pain before you even consider running again.
Do not force it. Pain exists for a reason, so if you are feeling any pain at all, stop what you are doing and focus on other areas of your body.
Be realistic. If your injury puts you out of commission for two weeks or more, it may be best to sit your marathon out and wait for the next one. The last thing you should do is force yourself to finish, and hurt yourself even more.
Chances are, if you injured yourself there is a lesson somewhere in there about being mindful of your workouts, or not pushing yourself too hard. Take the time to learn that lesson fully, and you will have a much more successful marathon career in your future.