Maintaining your running fitness when you’re injured is a delicate dance and that’s what we’re talking about today on the Doc On The Run Podcast.
Today’s episode just came from a discussion I had with someone who scheduled a one-hour webcam consultation to ask me what to do because she’s only five weeks out from a marathon. And she’s been injured, and she obviously does not want to lose her fitness and she wants to make sure that she’s ready for the starting line, but more importantly makes it to the finish line in time to qualify for Boston.
We were having this discussion and I just said look, “This is a really delicate dance,” and she wanted to know is it okay if I get an MRI and then confirm whether or not I’m ready to run. I’m like, that’s the worst thing you can do. It’s going to show all kinds of stuff on the MRI that can only be interpreted in light of your symptoms and your symptoms, what’s happening, how you’re responding to treatments and how much pain you’re having when you run and ramp up your running is even more important.
I was trying to explain to her that it’s a really delicate dance to actually add activities one at a time, pay attention to how you’re feeling, pay attention to how your foot is doing, and then make adjustments based on that.
So, that’s why it took like an hour for this discussion because we were talking in large part about what she should try, what she should not try, what she should definitely avoid in order to have the best chance of actually making it to the starting line in one piece with her running fitness intact.
The reason most doctors will do things like tell you “Okay, you have a stress fracture, here’s your fractur boot, come back in four weeks,” they don’t talk to you once in four weeks, is they just don’t have the time to do that delicate dance with you and so that’s a problem. But you can do this on your own. You can figure out how you’re doing if you’re paying attention, but you have to pay attention very close attention. And then you have to make continual adjustments in your fitness activities like what running versus weight training versus cross training activity, cycling all these other things.
You have to just try one thing at a time and see how you do and if you do that, you really can do this level delicate dance, but it requires a lot of effort on your part. And doctors in normal practices don’t generally do it because they just don’t have time. I know, I used to have one of those practices many years ago and now I only help injured runners and I find it a lot easier to sit with a runner on webcam for an hour and walk them through this and help them understand how can they can really do this on their own. And they don’t have to talk to me again at all.
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