Marathon Training – Weeks 18-20 & Tough Decisions

by Her Happy Balance on November 17, 2015

Hey, friends! What a crazy couple of weeks it has been! The fall quarter of my grad school classes is coming to a close {lots of projects and exams- joy!} and work has been so hectic winding down for the holidays. I missed updating you on week 18 of training because of all the craziness.

Marathon Training Week 18

Here’s the cliff notes version of week 18: I was still dealing with IT Band syndrome, and only ran once on a very flat route for 1.5 miles. KT Tape was my constant companion. I hit up the elliptical, hip exercises, and strength training as well.

Let’s move on to weeks 19 and 20, or as I prefer to call them, The Weeks of Tough Decisions. Grab a cup of coffee, this is a longer one.

Marathon Training Week 19

Hip exercises

AM – Elliptical

PM – Sports Medicine Physician Appointment.

I am SO happy I made this appointment! My doctor was able to pinpoint my area of weakness (right hip, causing left leg to overcompensate and develop IT Band Syndrome) and give me some therapy to try and help speed up recovery. He knew I was planning to run 8 miles on the weekend and advised that if I abslutely had to run, I needed to use a run/walk method.

This really was a very enlightening experience, and the “therapy” was no cakewalk by any means. Any runners out there familiar with the Graston Technique, I know you’ll understand me when I say that it was painful.  I think my experience with the sports med. doc deserves its own post in the near future, so be on the look out!

PM – Chest

Hip Exercises

AM – I set out to do 8 miles, but after 4 miles of a run/walk, I had to stop. The pain was just too much and I was worried about injuring myself further.

AM – Biceps/Triceps.

Now into week 20…

Marathon Training Week 20

I met with my Sports Med. Doc again yesterday morning and after telling him about my running experience on Saturday, he basically begged me not to run the marathon this weekend. He said that I really had nothing to gain from the race, but a lot to lose –  namely causing a long term/possible lifelong injury that could take me out of the running game for a very long time. So I am very sad to say that I will not but running the Philadelphia Marathon this weekend. Coming to this decision was more difficult than I can even begin to tell you – I definitely did not take it lightly. But it is the best thing I can do for my body right now.

I’ve been struggling with ITBS for about 5 or 6 weeks now without giving it a proper period of rest. I did try to ease up on my body, but I never let myself take a complete break from pounding pavement – I really wanted to make sure I kept my endurance up for race day. Each run during that time was a struggle, and many times I forced myself to push through the pain when I probably should have stopped running altogether. I didn’t want to quit or give up, and felt like I had to just suck up whatever pain I felt and finish it out. But being stubborn about it has gotten me to a point where I need to take some time off from running to rehab a very real injury.

I would be lying if I said this didn’t make me feel a sense of failure. I know that I put in the work, and spent many weekends getting in the training miles, but it is hard not to take a running injury as a personal failure. There are a lot of woulda, coulda, shouldas. But it is what it is, and now I have to work on getting better so that I can finish out my goal of running a full marathon. This is not the end of the line, it is just a detour. I will be running a full marathon, I just have to postpone my race date until the summer or next fall.

My doctor has advised me to stop running completely for 3-4 weeks minimum. I have to take it easy with the leg day strength training as well. For the next little while you can find me going hard on the elliptical. I am going to look into taking some spin classes, too.

So there it is, an update of where I am at and what I’m dealing with currently. It’s not the greatest news ever to be told you can’t run a race you have been training for, but in a way it was also a relief. Now I know what the actual problem is, and I am seeing someone who can help me make it better.

Have you ever had to see a doctor for an athletic injury?
Any experience with Active Release Therapy or the Graston Technique?
Any tips on how to deal with downtime from running?
What other low impact cardio do you do? I need ideas.


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