So I've made it through all of my runs except for maybe 2 over these last few weeks (and I nixed my speed drills) since my left Achilles started flaring up. I started physical therapy for it last Friday and my therapist said at this point if I wanted to stop running I would be ok and wouldn't lose much strength and endurance for Boston Marathon. So after a terribly painful and slow run last Sunday I decided to take her advise..... as we all know the race is on April 15th.... I just want to know what are the very best things that I can substitute the last of my running training for.... I've been doing some swimming but I'm not a big swimmer and I've been trying to do spin classes.... I guess my final question is am I really going to be OK to run Boston still?? Thanks for your help guys!
First of all, congratulations on qualifying. As you know, most runners never reach that level, and it is an honor to run Boston, even to qualify. All that aside, the most important consideration right now is what is best for you as a runner. I suppose you could pool-run without actually swimming to keep your aerobics and avoid aggravating the achilles, but how close to 100% will it be in less than two weeks?
The best advice I can give you is to treat this injury as if there were no race coming up. I know how important Boston is to a runner, having qualified myself, but would you run this race hard if it was just a local 5k? If not, I think the course is challenging enough, especially at the marathon distance, that it will probably set you back in your training for a while if you choose to run it.
The more important question is whether you can really give this race the respect and effort it is due, considering your condition right now. I'm willing to bet you would not (ie: should not) give it 100%, and amidst such a distinguished field, might find yourself finishing with runners much older and slower than yourself. Might be a bit of a downer to look at those results, don't you think? Another choice is to risk further injury by pushing it, and the final choice is to pass this one up and plan for a better showing next year, one you can not only survive, but be proud of.
Years ago, Dr. Alex Ratella would come out of Duluth MN each April and win the masters divsion at Boston. I asked him how he was able to train thru the winter in Duluth MN and run so well in April. He said he spent most of the winter on stationary bike. I have always felt the bike as good cross training for running and racing. It is a relative increase in cadence which is a form a speed work. The general rule of thumb is a 1 to 3 ratio. If you were scheduled to run 10 miles you should bike 30. Good luck
Damien Howell PT, DPT, OCS
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