After running the Half Marathon, I decided on a whim to enter a 15km run that followed a similar route.
While training, after a routine long run and another short run the next day, my toe was suddenly swollen and very, very sore. This was about a week and a half out from the race. There was no pop, no sudden pain, just constant soreness.
I was conflicted. Should I pull out?
I decided not to, and I’m so glad I pushed through.
I was limping on the day, but still managed to hit my personal goal of being under 1.22 minutes (I was 1.20.33 to be exact). I kept a solid pace of about 5.33 per kilometre, slower than my treadmill pace but I was happy with it for being outside.
Doing this with a significant foot injury was not easy, and the lead-up to the run, being not as prepared as I would have liked to be, was difficult. I had to take an entire week off training and then just try an easy run a few days beforehand to make sure my muscles weren’t completely devoid of any movement.
The importance of mental strength and fortitude, and the power of positive self-talk was on show during this race. My toe was consistently sore. I was conscious of it. However it did not get worse, it simply stayed as a dull throb.
The route was fantastic. It was pretty much flat the entire way, with a few areas of ups and downs to make it interesting. The weather was perfect, cool but sunny, and the markers along the way telling you how far you’ve gone were very much appreciated.
Once I finished, I saw my friend @atmeltingpot at the finish line (check out her blog it is excellent), and we made our way back to the city. Once I got home and relaxed, my toe absolutely exploded and was very sore and swollen. It has still not completely gone down.
I’m convinced that the Rare Earth Oils Muscle Rub that I had tried the day before at a small fitness expo helped me get through. I vowed when I got paid next I would buy some, thanks to the excellent saleswoman who let me put it straight on my foot. I now use it every night.
What I learned from running with a (relatively mild) injury:
- Rest up before the race, if you overtrain, you only risk making it worse.
- Do things to help yourself, whether that means see a physio, a doctor, use creams, get a massage, eat plain foods or anything pertaining to your condition.
- Truly assess whether or not you can do it on the day, your health is more important than your entry fee. Don’t push if you can’t.
- Don’t change your gait, run exactly how you would if you were not injured, as by trying to avoid the pain you could injure yourself in other ways.
- Try not to take painkillers if you can, it can affect blood flow.
Ultimately, don’t let anyone else affect your decision. Think about what you’re doing and be smart. Is it going to make the injury significantly worse? Is it going to hurt you rather than help you?
By exercising smart, you can set a new level of mental strength and discover new boundaries for yourself. See what you can achieve!