The Running Man: Last Minute Injuries? Attack them.

Oct 25, 2009
Outside Magazine

With just a week to go before the marathon, there's got to be a lot of sore runners out there. I'm one of them. Two weeks ago, after a 20 mile training run, my right calf muscle slipped slightly three miles into a recovery run, and I knew the sign: I was very close to having a seriously pulled calf, and having to sit out the race. So I backed way off, got massages, iced, and stretched. I've been using The Stick -- a very effective roller that gets deep into muscles, which is really popular among high-mileage runners. I've also been using an ice cup (water frozen in a big plastic party cup, rubbed on the skin bare) to ice and massage the muscle. So here's the question: If you're nursing a sore muscle, do you pamper it and rest until the marathon? Or do you keep running on it, and if so -- do you do your last hard workouts? For a competitive runner, with moderate soreness, the answer is: hit the hard workouts on a bike or in the pool, and be very attentive to your sore spot. But don't just sit around until the race. Here's coach Terrence Mahon's note to me about last minute injury care, training, and keeping a good mental attitude in the last week.

"If you have access to a chiropractor or massage therapist that does ART(active release technique) that will help a lot. Ice the sore area 1-2xper day to work away at any edema and muscle microtears.

In regard to training... You can't just abandon the miles and wait forthings to get better. Circulation will help the healing process a lot.I suggest getting in all of your hard workouts over the next 7 days onthe elliptical or bike (see what doesn't bother the calf). You cantransfer the intervals to minutes of hard work on those machines andmonitor your heart rate if needed to make sure you are getting in agood workout. You can then run for the easy runs to keep you in theroutine. If it starts to tighten up on the run then try to stretch itout. If it persists then go to the cross training.

I am a big fan of attacking injuries. Be proactive with your therapy,nutrition and any medicine that you need to reduce the swelling andpain.

Be positive mentally and you will have get yourself most of the way to the starting line.  Relax and take some deep breaths.

Terrence Mahon"

Filed To: Fitness

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