Calling all runners – I need your advice!

Well, here I am, less than a month from my first marathon, and I don’t know if I can run it.  Here’s what’s happening:

In January, I couldn’t complete a race because my knees were so painful.  Just walking to the finish line (with H helping me) had me in tears.  I went to the doctor and was told that I have IT band syndrome, also known as runner’s knee.  And guess what?  It hasn’t healed.

I returned to the doctor at the end of last week to ask him about the marathon.  I’ve been doing the physical therapy, I’ve been trying to strengthen the rest of my body, but I have also needed to run to keep up with the training schedule.  So I haven’t been allowed to just let my knees heal.  The doctor did an ultrasound of my knee, and said that, while I am not doing any permanent damage, my IT band is extremely swollen, irritated, and full of scar tissue.  I am getting an MRI tomorrow to confirm, then he said that I could get an injection to help with the pain.  Okay.  Great.  But here’s my question:

Is it worth it, just to run a marathon?  I mean, I want to run one eventually – it’s on my bucket list.  But it doesn’t have to be now.

My thought is that I should sit this marathon out, finish the race season, then take some time off from running so that the swelling in my knees can go down and I can truly take the time to strengthen my hips and core without worrying about the long runs.

I’ll be disappointed.  I’m already disappointed.  But I think it would be worse for me and my psyche if I started the race and wasn’t able to finish.

I need some opinions from other runners.  What are your thoughts?  Do you think I should start and risk not finishing?  Or do you think I should take a step back and listen to my body for a change?

I’m currently at a loss, because I have advice coming from both directions.

Help!

-A.

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9 thoughts on “Calling all runners – I need your advice!

  1. I’m not a runner, but I am an athlete. I say you take the time off. You are young and injuring yourself (possible seriously) just isn’t worth it for a marathon. There will be so many opportunities to run a marathon in your life and I don’t believe for one second that you will never end up running one. But now just isn’t the right time and your body is telling you that loud and clear. If this was a high school state championship track meet that only happens once in your life, my advice would likely be different, but you can run a marathon next year, or the year after, so I really think you should give it time to heal. Especially if you want to be able to still run and be active when you are 40-50 years old 🙂

  2. Reblogged this on TheFitFunAddict and commented:
    I’d personally have to say… Sit this one out and let your body heal… I understand the disappointment, I had to forego my first marathon which took place may 18 th due to injury… I didn’t have It band issue but rather a series of injuries that kept me from building up my mileage. I did the same thing that you’re doing, I continued to run because ” I had to get my miles in”. I ran on an ankle ligament injury… Then sprained same ankle by hitting a rain filled pot hole at mile 7 of an 8 mile morning run…ran a half marathon with the sprain not completely healed and pulled a hamstring… Ran a 9 mile leg of One run for Boston 4 days later with the pulled hamstring…two days later I tried just a 5 mile run in prep for a needed 18 mile run on Sunday… That 5 mile run made me come to terms with the fact that if I kept pushing it… The Hamstring was never going to heal and I most likely would not be able to complete the marathon anyway… I texted the girls I’d been training with and informed them of my decision. I had the equivalent of Taper Tantrums as I could not fun at all for almost 2 weeks . I’ve had to build up very slowly . 2 months later, I can only run 3-4 miles before the old hamstring makes her presence known… I have to warm up slowly on my runs, shorten my stride and even slow my pace more often than not to get to the 4 mile mark… It is frustrating but if you don’t let it heal you may very well end up not being able to run at all. One of my running partners is a PhD trained physical therapist and she concurs with the needed time off and slow buildup to where I was! Listen to your body, be prepared for the emotional roller coaster when you cut back your miles… Train slowly and consistently… If nothing else you can get a good sculpted upper body and some rock hard abs while letting the lower body heal! Good luck!

  3. I’d personally have to say… Sit this one out and let your body heal… I understand the disappointment, I had to forego my first marathon which took place may 18 th due to injury… I didn’t have It band issue but rather a series of injuries that kept me from building up my mileage. I did the same thing that you’re doing, I continued to run because ” I had to get my miles in”. I ran on an ankle ligament injury… Then sprained same ankle by hitting a rain filled pot hole at mile 7 of an 8 mile morning run…ran a half marathon with the sprain not completely healed and pulled a hamstring… Ran a 9 mile leg of One run for Boston 4 days later with the pulled hamstring…two days later I tried just a 5 mile run in prep for a needed 18 mile run on Sunday… That 5 mile run made me come to terms with the fact that if I kept pushing it… The Hamstring was never going to heal and I most likely would not be able to complete the marathon anyway… I texted the girls I’d been training with and informed them of my decision. I had the equivalent of Taper Tantrums as I could not fun at all for almost 2 weeks . I’ve had to build up very slowly . 2 months later, I can only run 3-4 miles before the old hamstring makes her presence known… I have to warm up slowly on my runs, shorten my stride and even slow my pace more often than not to get to the 4 mile mark… It is frustrating but if you don’t let it heal you may very well end up not being able to run at all. One of my running partners is a PhD trained physical therapist and she concurs with the needed time off and slow buildup to where I was! Listen to your body, be prepared for the emotional roller coaster when you cut back your miles… Train slowly and consistently… If nothing else you can get a good sculpted upper body and some rock hard abs while letting the lower body heal! Good luck!

  4. I had a similar situation before. I completely stopped running until I felt better. Two weeks later, all the pains were gone and I felt even stronger, and ended up running the marathon and did 30 minutes better than I had anticipated.

  5. The answer depends on how your training has gone. If you haven’t been running with regularity and haven’t been able to build up your mileage, then it’s best forego the marathon. If you’ve worked up to long runs exceeding 16 miles in distance, you may want to consider participating in the race. Notice that I didn’t write “running” as I would mix running and walking so that you remain as comfortable as possible as you transverse the 26.2. I’ve run a number of marathons. On many occasions, I ran with one kind of injury or another. Always the excitement of race day had me more focused on the race than on the pain. In most instances, the mind will prevent the runner from finishing well before the body will. I hope this helps.

  6. It depends on how badly you want to finish it – and how much pain you are willing to take. Or does this race offer a defer to next year? My first I had to walk 21 of the 26.2 miles. I finished, but I couldn’t walk after. I took the next four months off of any activity that required bending my knee…except yoga. Then I started over with a one mile run and worked up. All the while with more knowledge and care – yoga, cross training, strength training, foam rolling, chiropractor, Graston, proper shoes, etc. It took me another couple years of following this to be completely pain free, but I was able to beat it by being diligent. That said, for your race, can you find a local person who specializes in Graston and ART who can do some aggressive treatments? They might be able to get you to the starting line. I know of some people here who were able to go that route and make it ok. From what I hear the cortisen (sp?) shot is a 50% chance of helping.

  7. I would take the time off. I developed tendinitis in my left ankle a few months back and had to completely stop running. I tried to run through it and just made it worse every time. Now, after taking yoga for a month and tapering down my running to two days a week for a while, I can run close to 5 miles again without stopping. It’s worth it to take some time to let your body heal or you risk injuring yourself permanently. I know it’s disappointing because you’ve put a lot of time and effort into training, but there’s always another marathon, and like someone said above, you could check into transferring your registration to next year so you won’t lose the money.

  8. I totally understand what you’re going through. It’s hard to except that your body need to heals. I have a hard time just taking a day off each week to let my body rest, I can’t imagine not running for awhile. But you have to keep the big picture in mind. Do you want to run this marathon now and risk not being able to run at all later in life, or do you want to let your body heal and allow yourself the possibility to have a life full of runs.
    I think the most important thing we learn as athlete is to listen to our body and discover our limits. There is a delicate balance between pushing your body healthily and harming it, I think in this case, you are causing harm and as much as you want that marathon accomplishment now, your body will thank you later for being patient. Trust me.

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