Posted by: Joe English | December 16, 2009

Training — What if the doctor says “no” to running your marathon?

Coach Joe English

Coach Joe English

Following up on a post yesterday in which I was discussing the difficulties of dealing with late season injuries before a marathon, I wanted to spend a little time considering another facet of the discussion that invariably comes up. Say you’re dealing with an injury, seeing a doctor and you have an appointment in a few weeks and the question is out there looming: “what if the doctor says ‘no’ to running the marathon, then what do I do?

Let me say at the outset, nothing in this discussion should be construed as a way of ignoring your doctor. What I’m going to suggest are some tools that you might use in handling the conversation with you doctor and how to deal with the situation.

Let’s assume that you’ve come back for a return visit and the doctor says “no, you should not run the marathon.” These are the follow-up questions that I would ask:

First, “what are the risks to me of running the marathon?” Your doctor should be able to tell you what they think the dangers are if you attempt the marathon. They more than likely will have concerns about you doing further damage to whatever structure is already injured. Or perhaps they fear that by compensating for your injury, you may do some other damage. In either case, it is important to know why they feel you shouldn’t run. The truth is that sometimes doctors just feel you aren’t ready and there are other times when they feel you will harm yourself by taking part in the marathon. It’s important for you to understand this to make a decision for yourself.

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