I mentioned in my post last week that I developed some injuries when I trained for my first full marathon last year. I figured I would go into more details about how that went down. If you’re still reading this, maybe that means you have been in a similar situation and we can help each other learn from our mistakes.
First of all, I started training when I was wearing Vibram Five-Fingers. I had just read “Born to Run” by Chris McDougall and I was sold on the whole “barefoot running” craze. Wearing these shoes, I had recently PRed in both the half-marathon and 5K distances so I figured they were doing good things for me. I’m still a big believer in at least minimalist footwear, but I think the full marathon was just too much mileage for my unsupported feet to handle.
About six weeks out from the race, I developed tendinitis in my right foot. It started as a dull ache and gradually got worse. It got so bad that when I finally decided it wasn’t a pain that was just going to go away, I had to take some time off from training.
Fortunately, less than two weeks and a new pair of more supportive shoes (I reverted back to my NB Minimus’ and I LOVE them) I was back in action. Not so fast though – two weeks out, during my second to last long run, I had to stop at 11 miles and have my husband pick me up. I called him in tears, terrified that I had gone through all this winter training for nothing. My hip was bothering me so bad that I could barely walk. Due to my dis-functioning hip, I decided to start my taper phase a little early. I devoted this time to rest, stretching, hip-strengthening exercises and lots of prayers. I knew that the only thing I could do now was to give my body a break and hope for the best. I went into the marathon not sure if I would be crossing the finish line.
That’s not a fun thought to have, especially when you’re in Disney World – The Happiest Place on Earth! I woke up on race day (at 2:45am, by the way), so incredibly nervous I could hardly breathe. I kept telling myself I was just going to go out for a fun run with 20,000 other people. How bad could that be? It was AMAZING! I threw out my time goal, kept my pace as slow as possible, focused on keeping perfect form, and the race went off without a hitch. I still am not sure how that happened. Maybe it was all the rest I gave my body in the last two weeks, the frequent ice baths, the stretching and strengthening, or maybe it was just pure luck and the fact that I was in DISNEY WORLD. Has anyone else had similar issues when training for a race? What did you do?