I got injured five weeks out from my half marathon. Is there hope? Well ,that’s what we’re talking about today on the Doc On The Run Podcast.
Today’s episode actually comes from Benda, who was watching a video called 12 steps to healing and running with a metatarsal stress fracture on the Doc On The Run YouTube channel.
She posted a comment and question. She said, “I’m so confused. I don’t have a stress fracture. It was an acute injury. I have a half marathon in early December. Is there hope for me?”
Okay, well, right now when we’re recording this, she’s about five weeks out from her half marathon and the first thing is, is I’m also confused. I understand, she’s got to be super frustrated. She’s got to be scared. She’s got to be confused. But I don’t know how to answer her question for a couple of reasons.
Number one, it’s an acute injury. Okay, well, I don’t know what that means. All I know is acute injury. Is it like a stress fracture? Do you think if you’ve been diagnosed with metatarsalgia or do you have a soft tissue injury? Is there a crack in the bone and you have a pathologic or traumatic fracture? Like what exactly is the injury?
There’s a couple of things you have to determine if you really want to run a half marathon in only five weeks. Is there hope? There’s always hope, but you know, hope doesn’t disappoint but at the same time, you’ve got to be realistic about it and you have to have something to go on.
So, saying I have an acute injury, I have no idea, that’s not enough information. What you have to do is you’ve got to figure out, okay, you’ve got five weeks, you’ve got your timeline, that’s good. It’s number one, you got a goal. Number two, you have your timeline. Number three, you have to figure out how bad it is right now. So, even more important than the actual injury like soft tissue versus bone, the more important thing is how severe it is.
Another couple of ways to figure that out. You can go see a doctor and let them make that decision for you. You can track your pain, try some things to reduce the stress and strain on the tissue and see how much you improved. That’s what I teach people to do in the fast track challenge. And that is way more reliable, I believe, than going to see a doctor and getting medical imaging and letting them make a guess based on what they see on a medical image, like an X-ray or an MRI, in terms of what your timeline will be, because if you look at the largest metanalysis ever done on stress fractures, it showed the average return activity was anywhere from four to 52 weeks.
Anywhere in between there could be a guess. So, five weeks, maybe, I’ve had runners that have done marathons in far less time without significant injuries. In fact, much worse than just a stress fracture. But you have to know the severity. You have to actually check and compare how you’re doing based on the severity that you determine as you go through that process.
But the first thing you got to do is just start tracking that rain. Again, that’s what I teach you to do the Fast Track challenge but you’ve got to know the severity, you’ve got to take all the actions you can to improve as quickly as possible, including really monitoring your sleep, really making sure you get good sleep, making sure your nutrition is on point and making sure that you do everything to maintain your running fitness right now so you don’t get weaker before your half marathon in five weeks. But if you do those things, yes, there is hope.
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