Today on the Doc on the Run Podcast, we’re talking about how if you PR with an injury, the injury happened for you and not to you.
Most runners understandably feel like a victim of an over-training injury, they say something like, “Well, I was feeling strong, I was feeling ready for my race, I was really feeling great, and then this happened to me. I got a stress fracture, I got Achilles tendonitis, I got peroneal tendonitis, got plantar fasciitis, something happened to me and now I feel like I’ve lost all my fitness and I can’t run my race.” Well, most of the time we just reflexively think that things happen to us, but sometimes things really do happen for us. What do I mean by that? Well, sometimes the bad thing actually has a silver lining that you can’t even see.
I once worked with a woman who had, she hadn’t done an Ironman in five years. So she had done them, it had been a long time, she was five years older, and she signed up for another Ironman. But she got a stress fracture, and she was told by a doctor that she was going to have to skip the Ironman race because she had a stress fracture, it was only a month before the race, and she was told it was going to take six weeks to heal, she couldn’t possibly do the race, and so she called me for a second opinion. Well, we came up with a plan. So we talked about this, we talked almost every day up until her race, and truthfully it was difficult, because she was convinced she needed to run, and I just was like, “Look, do you want to run on a cold foot or a broken foot? Those are your two choices. Broken foot is not going to help you.”
Now, to make a long story short, she did the race. So she did start the Ironman race, and not only did she finish that race, it also was her fastest Ironman ever her whole life. So she got a new Ironman PR with a metatarsal stress fracture. Now being five years older did not make her faster. Healing a stress fracture in her foot during that period right up to the race also did not make her faster. Having some serious rest right before her event is probably what really made her faster, and she learned, above all else, that what’s been happening in her case, for all these years of doing Ironman races, is that she was always either overtrained or undertapered, those are the only two possibilities.
In that case her injury really happened for her and not to her, so she was able to take that circumstance and realized something really valuable out of this, that we get into this pattern of training super hard thinking that it’s about self deprivation and beating ourselves up and really just grinding through right up until race day, and when we do that it can be counterproductive to the race itself. And so she learned a really valuable lesson from this, and so number one, she did get to do the race, number two, she finished, number three, she got a PR, number four, she learned that she really has to respect that process of tapering for a few weeks before the race if she really wants to do well.
So think about this and think about what you can do when you’re looking at your injury right now, and how you can view things a little differently to try to see how is there some way that this injury might work for you instead of it happening to you. If you can do that, you’re going to get back to running a whole lot sooner. Now if you like this episode, please like it, please share, please subscribe, and I’ll see you in the next training.