Congratulations!!!!! You trained for 20 weeks, encountered multiple blisters and possibly lost some toe nails while conquering the 26.2 miles the Chicago Marathon put in front of you. The blood, sweat and tears couldn’t keep you from that finish line, as millions of fans cheered you along the way. Digging deep and grinding through the last .2 miles up Mount Roosevelt, you’re challenged by “why am I doing this and I want to stop” to “I think I can do better next year”.
You’re now a few weeks removed from the marathon. The adrenaline has worn off, and you’re wondering “am I still sore, or do I have an injury”?” By now, general muscle soreness from the marathon should have worn off, and you should be walking, sitting, and performing your normal activities with little to no pain. If you’re still hurting, you may have inflamed tissue and/or injured tissue. Don’t be alarmed; knee pain, foot pain and lower leg pain can be common places for injuries after such a long run. Contact the NovaCare Hotline (866-TRY-NOVA) or see the schedule of complimentary injury screens provided to FFC members below. This service can help guide you on your next steps to recovery. Our clinicians also participate in endurance races (marathons, triathlons, Iron-Man, etc) and understand first hand the pain and soreness that goes along with competing in these races.
If you’re feeling good and are eager to return to training, start with caution. Your body needs 4-6 weeks of full recovery before returning to training, especially if this was your first marathon. Maintain some low mileage of walking or cross train with biking or swimming, but keep the intensity low. Your body and joints just pounded against the concrete for 2.5 to 6+ hours, and it needs ample time to fully recover. Don’t worry about “losing your fitness.” It is much better to go into the winter and spring healthy and not nursing a nagging injury.
I too ran in the marathon this year, and it was my tenth one. The best advice is to listen to your body and acknowledge when it doesn’t feel right. Time and time again, marathon runners will “wait out” an injury, only for it to return when they start to run in the spring or train for the Shamrock Shuffle. Don’t let marathon injuries turn into chronic winter and spring running problems.
Jason Garner, MPT
NovaCare Rehabilitation @ FFC Union Station
November Complimentary Injury Screening Schedule:
- East Lakeview FFC – Tuesday, November 5, 5:30-7:30pm
- Oak Park FFC – Thursday, November 7, 5:00-7:00pm
- Halsted FFC – Tuesday, November 12, 5:00-7:00pm
- Lincoln Park FFC – Wednesday, November 13, 5:00-7:00pm
- Union Station FFC – Tuesday, November 19, 11:30am-1:30pm
- West Loop FFC – Tuesday, November 19, 5:00-7:00pm
- South Loop FFC – Tuesday, November 26, 5:00-7:00pm