Hard decisions - to race or not to race?

Well, I've made my decision.  I've been suffering from hamstring problems for a couple of months, though it's been a real problem since a half marathon at the beginning of April, where I ran the last five miles or so in increasing pain and with increasing difficulty.  Another topic, but I think the problem was caused by me thinking I didn't need orthotics in my shoes any more and taking them out.

I was signed up for the Milton Keynes half on Monday, and had hoped I'd be well enough to take part.  As a last push, I saw a new sports physio on Tuesday and had a thorough assessment and going over.  He helped a lot, but it's not completely healed yet, and I made the decision yesterday to defer my entry.  I'm glad that's done, but still a bit disappointed. I just didn't feel confident that I wouldn't make it much worse again - 13.1 miles on a sore hamstring didn't feel right.

On a more positive note, as a result of my call for advice at the club, I now have a coach! I had a session with her on Wednesday, where she filmed me running for analysis, and talked over a training plan for this year.  Somehow, it's based around a spring marathon next year! She's pointed out some things that need correction, but says I should fix one at a time.  So my first task is to increase my running cadence to 180spm.  I've also got some exercises for glute activation and general strength.  Together with the exercises the physio gave me and my new Pilates classes, there's a lot going on, and I feel positive about where I'm going.

Anyone else had to make hard decisions like that?

17 Replies

  •  Hi Steve

     In my opinion ,  I think you have made 100%  absolutely the best decision to pull out of the race . You know your body and in your heart of hearts you knew you would maybe struggle and what if you had made it worse and being out for weeks/months ??

    Very very disappointing for you , but sometimes you have just got to look at the bigger picture and take it into account.

    That is fantastic news regarding the coach ! That is brilliant !! Oh you will learn so much from her, advice like that from someone in the know is worth its weight in gold isn't it ?

    This is great to hear  , exciting times ahead for you ! xxx

  • I can empathise with you. I've been laid up since February with knee problems and I've reluctantly missed a few events. I really wanted to run at the last XC league meet of the season (if only to support the club - but we got promoted to the top division in the league without my assistance, anyway). I've turned down a couple of HMs and 10Ks since. My take on it is that if I run, I'll only be hobbling round anyway and I could be putting my eventual return back even further. I'm currently deliberating on whether or not I dare sign up for a 10K at the end of July.

    I'm still waiting for GP, Physio, specialist, dentist etc. to agree what's really up with with the knee. So far I've been told that: it's ligament damage, it's not ligament damage, it might be cartilage, it certainly isn't cartilage it either is or it isn't bone damage. The only thing that everyone agrees on, including the dentist, is that it's certainly nothing to do with my teeth ;) 

    I think it's worth missing a few things out now if it helps with the longer term goal. It's great to hear that you've now got your own running coach.

  • Jeez, you're having a bad time!  I do hope you get better before too much longer.  What are you doing to try to keep active?  Any gentle runs, gym, etc?

  • I've been doing a reasonable amount of walking, but initially only uphill (get the bus back down to the bottom again, because downhill could only be achieved by walking backwards). Now that I can bend my knee sufficiently I've been taking the bike out for short trips. The GP reckons I'm ok to cycle on the flat but not uphill. I've had to ignore the flat advice as flat doesn't really exist anywhere around me. I just drop the bike into a very low gear and ease my way up at not much more than walking pace.

    Apart from that, I've been just been getting grumpy, trying not to eat too much and have deliberately not been logging onto running fora - which is why you haven't seen me round here or on Garmin Connect for some time. The fact that I'm here now is an indication that I'm feeling a little more positive about things. I should have been going swimming, but just haven't felt inclined (in my youth I used to swim competitively and was in the pool twice a day - I think I'm about chlorined out...).

    From past experience I know I'll get my fitness back in a couple of months when I start again. I tried a very slow parkrun at the beginning of the month with the intention of staying behind the 30 minute pacer. The pacer didn't appear that day so I just took it as easily as possible, starting at the back, but still turned in a 27:10. I thought things were picking up then until I went out for a walk in the Cheviots the following day and twisted the knee bog hopping. 

  • 27:10 on a bad knee - pfff!  Hopefully things are on the mend though, and if you treat it carefully you'll be running properly again in time.  Good luck with it!

  • It's interesting you say you've stayed away from the forum while on the IC Adam. I'm the opposite and have to say this place has kept me sane during my stint on the bench!

  • Sane... are you sure... ? xxx :)

  • Mmmnnn now you come to mention it..........x

  • What i meant was.. with people like me around... i don't think that would keep anyone sane :)

  • Lots of us like that here don't you worry!!! 😆😂

  • It's the right decision, I know it must be difficult but I really believe prevention is better than rehabilitation.  Sounds like coaching is going to be fun.  Lots to look froward to there and when you do your next event just think how much stronger you will be.  

  • I sympathise Steve and think you've made the right decision. I had to pull of of a 10K and a HM earlier this year due to injury (bone bruise). I had an easier decision than you because I was advised not to run. However, the thought was still going through my head that I maybe COULD run the HM which was nuts because I think I would have done serious damage. It hurt like hell pulling out (not literally but my sense of disappointment) but it was absolutely the right thing to do and I'm over it now.

    It's a hard decision but as everyone says, there will be other races.

    PS. I'm very jealous you have a coach!

  • Feel sure that was the right decision, but glad to hear you have had some positive things happen too. You'll be back fitter than ever.

  • Sorry you have to miss your race Steve. There will be others once you're fully fit.  A set back, but like you say you're positive about the way your recovery is going.  Good luck with it all 

  • You sound very positive Steve. Getting advice like that from a coach is surely excellent compensation for missing out on a 10k. When you say you deferred your entry, does that mean they'll carry your entry fee over to next year? If so, that's really good. What's this about a spring marathon by the way, are you really thinking of going for the big one now :) ?

  • By deferring, I get 40% off the entry fee, so it's better than nothing.  And yes, the training plan put together by my coach is directed at a spring marathon.  I've entered the ballot for London, but if I don't get in, there are lots of others, possibly changing to the marathon at MK this time next year.

  • I will definitely cheer you on if you do the London marathon. That would be so cool :)

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