5 People Every Runner Should Have on Speed Dial {Dealing with Injury During Marathon Training}

“My body is held together by KT-Tape & Tiger Balm.”

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   Whether you’re a seasoned runner or training for your first marathon, you’ve probably noticed feelings you’ve never experienced before…and I’m not talking about the glorious runner’s high we’re always chasing. No, I’m talking about that weird twitch on the outside of your knee, or the shooting pain along the bottom of your foot when you stumble out of bed in the morning…or – as I most recently experienced – that amazing sensation where your back seizes up when you try to unfold your body, leading you to double over in pain and let out the most God-awful moan.

   Now, I know there are those people who are just Born To Run. They NEVER have injuries – except the occasional pain that is immediately alleviate with ten minutes on the foam roller. They run a casual 40-miles a week. Their PR goals have been whittled down to seconds… No, I’m NOT jealous!!!! I’M NOT JEALOUS…

   I trained for my first marathon relatively unscathed, but in my second training season I began having low back pain. This was no surprise considering my mother, my sister, my aunt and my niece have all had back surgeries. And as my running goals have grown, so has my injury list. I’ve had plantar fasciitis, medial knee pain, weak hip flexors…and now we’re back to low-back pain. It’s the circle of injury!

   But I’ve become addicted to running. It’s not a hobby, it’s not a job, it’s just who I am…I know non-runners would NEVER understand this, but it’s as much a part of who I am as being a mother. It just is – with no explanation or reasoning… So when I face injuries, it is devastating. The thought of not being able to run induces chest-tightening, heart-racing, irrational panic attack symptoms.

   Here is the dream –team of people who keep me moving. It may not be pretty, it may not be fast, but it’s enough to feed my soul!

 

1)   Chiropractor – Most chiropractic practices today offer a multitude of treatment options included TENS transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation Therapy (where they hook you up to mild electric-therapy that send pulsating currents to the injured areas) and massage therapy. Added bonus, if you find a really good chiropractor like Williamstown Chiropractic Center – and you have remotely good insurance – they will find a way to cover your treatment! 

2)   Physical Therapist – I was skeptical to visit the physical therapist…because I was worried they’d send me for an MRI and tell me I could never run again. The team at Oxford Physical Therapy is FABULOUS! They work with their patients to help them live the life they want (because, let’s be honest – had they told me not to run…I probably wouldn’t have listened.) My favorite treatment at physical therapy is dry needling. It is horrific for the first thirty seconds, and then it is amazing! They use acupuncture-like needles to penetrate the nerves leading to / around the injured area. This stimulation increases blood flow and circulation to the nerves, which promotes healing and reduces inflammation.

3)   Family Practitioner – While this is the man I see the least during training, he is the man I see in the twelfth-inning, week before the marathon, panic when my glands get swollen or my sinuses get out-of-whack. This is the man who will give you a z-pack, or a steroid shot to get you through tapering without coming down with bronchitis, pneumonia or whatever crud is going around your kids’ Petri-dish of a school.

4)   Your Running Store– When you’re injured, the first thing your PT/Chiropractor will ask you is – When was the last time you bought new shoes? And you’ll roll your eyes and think to yourself, I’m a marathon runner…I KNOW about shoes…but then you’ll think, Crap! When DID I buy these shoes???? Having a local, knowledgeable running store to go to for gear and advice is CRUTIAL!!! These are the people that will take your PT’s advice and translate it into running shoes. I have NO idea what it means that I need a stability shoe with minimal arch support and a higher heel-to-toe drop…but I know someone who does, and they’re at Queen City Running.

5)   Your Running Group – These are also the people who will understand you when you’re PT/Chiropractor doesn’t. When you say, 'I can’t live without running!' - they GET IT! Your running group becomes your extended family, your counselors, and your confidants. These people are your adult friends, and they become a huge reason you want to get out of bed before the sun comes up on a freezing cold, snow storm, Saturday.

 

So…if you’re panicking over an injury – try to take a deep breath, and call these people! And if you do have an injury that takes you out of the game…add an actual mental health professional to this list!