Injured Two Weeks Out

One of the biggest runner dilemmas is deciding whether or not to race when injury rears its ugly head.

In today’s episode of Extra Kick, Coach Tony shares his advice on what to do if this happens (knock on wood)!

Audio Transcript

Coach Tony: Hello everyone and welcome back to the Runners Connect podcast.

If you have a question that you’d like one of our expect coaches to answer in an upcoming episode, you can submit it at We’d love to help you train smarter and faster, so please don’t hesitate to ask whatever has you curious.

Today we have a question from Abby. She was going to run the New York City and as per this recording, the New York City just happened. Abby’s question pertains to pretty much anybody training for a marathon or any race.

Abby: Its two weeks out from my race and I have a minor sprain. I went to a doctor and the doctor couldn’t replicate the pain, but the doctor did say, in their opinion, that I should not run the race. Do I run New York City?

Tony: There’s a lot of things we can cover in this talk. First, do I run? That’s something that you really have to answer yourself.

It sounds like your pain was minor and when you went to the doctor, you couldn’t replicate it. My gut specifically to your pain is it’s probably just a residual effect of your mileage.

When you go in to taper; it’s common to go to taper somewhat banged up because you’ve just been doing so much mileage.

My gut is that it was probably a minor injury something that you probably could push through but again without knowing real specifics it’s hard to say.

Let’s look at some other examples to help our other listeners. Let’s go to the extreme. You got a stress fracture. You go to the doctor and maybe they don’t know for sure if it’s a fracture. You’ve been dealing with this for months, but it could be a fracture.

That’s a different story because you’re going to run a marathon or run a bigger race and there’s a good chance you are going to get a stress fracture. That’s something I would probably say, don’t do.

Then you start getting in somewhere in the middle. Maybe you get some patella tendonitis and some muscle related knee pain or some Achilles pain, you really have to answer that question yourself.

Some other things I’ll throw out, to help you with that answer is if it’s the stress fracture related thing, I’m sorry I think that’s one that you don’t run the race, or you are going to time off.

Let’s look at something less minor than a stress fracture. The first thing that comes to mind is you can do another race.

If you’re training for a fall marathon, you can’t do your race in two weeks but maybe there’s a race two or three weeks later.

You can still keep all that fitness so you’re not going to lose that fitness. You want to try to salvage that. What you can do is find that race, adjust your taper a little bit, maybe you actually throw another long wait in there and change your schedule a little bit.

That’s probably the first thing that comes to mind is trying to find another race. If there isn’t a race there, you don’t really want to waste that fitness which then comes into the next thing.

You need to adjust goals. If it’s your very first marathon then your goal, in the first place, should just be to finish and try to enjoy the experience. In that sense, what I would possibly do is just adjust goals.

Forget about any time goal that I had and going to try to enjoy this as much as I can.

I have some limitations, I’m going to have to do some more walk breaks or whatever it is. If you’ve done a lot of marathons before and maybe there is a time goal, then that I really start to look into trying to do a different race.

If you’ve done 10 marathons and you’re coming into this race two weeks out, you get some extra pains, you’re not sure if you going to be able to run your best race and you’ve been training to run a P.R. or something, you may want to consider not doing the race.

Marathon takes a lot out of you and the recovery after that is going to be pretty involved. I’d really, in that situation, try to find another race. Find a race that’s four months out.

Do a two week break to rest a little bit from all the mileage you’ve been doing and then start up the second training plan for this next race.

It’s hard to answer the question specific without knowing more about your injury, Abby. Based on what you’re saying, I would probably run the race. Not sure if you did or not. I’d love to hear back from you.

It’s something that people have to answer. Adjust goals if need be, try to find another race.

A marathon is the thing where you’re at the mercy of how you feel that day and different things like that, whereas if it’s a 5K or something smaller, you’re still training hard for it but you can jump into another 5K a couple weeks later.

The training is a little bit different versus a marathon the such a buildup to it. Hopefully you’re recovered and you did the race and had a good experience, but we thank you for sharing that.

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