Ryan Hall reminds me–#1 Rule to Racing.

We get excited, we get pumped, we get focus on our training, we read other bloggers posts and follow their workouts, trying to mimic their level of mileage/dedication/endurance/etc… and throughout all of this love and passion for our race, we forget the #1 most important rule–

Make it to the start line Healthy.

I so easily forget this.

Olympian and American record holder Ryan Hall has pulled out of the NYC Marathon this coming weekend. He has a hip injury that has not subsided while he continued to train for the marathon.

“In my zealous efforts to have redemption in this year’s ING New York City Marathon, I overstepped the first and most important rule—making it to the line healthy,” Hall said in a press release.

My heart goes out to him and everyone else who is/has battled injuries and have had to make that tough decision. I have had my fair share of injuries, including a stress fracture in my femur that had me running on and off (in extreme pain) for 3 years.

But his honest response and realistic view of his situation has served as a great wake-up call for me, and I am sure, other runners.

The FIRST and most IMPORTANT rule to training and racing– Make it to the start line healthy.

I so often push the pace when I should be taking it easy… I do hill repeats when I should do a relaxed 5 miles… I “recovery run” when really I should recover with a complete rest day…. I say “Just a few more miles” when I need to stop right then and there. While each little decision may seem innocent, add them all up over a few months of training, and you are walkin’ a fine line.

I do this all the time… I feel good, so I keep going/push harder/do another.

Reading Ryan Halls opening statement has stuck with me hard. I am 3 weeks out from Richmond Marathon. I have friends telling me what I could potentially run this race in (especially based upon my recent Half PR) and honestly… I would love them all to stop! Of course I would love to get those crazy fast times and the fact that they believe in me like they do means so much to me…but I think back to Rule #1 and what I really want out of this Marathon–

… to have fun, stay healthy, and finish with a smile 🙂

So to all you runners out there who are healthy, injured, coming back from an injury, recovering from a race, etc…. take it easy on your body- it’s the only one we got!

***I know a lot of bloggers are injured right now, and I hope/pray for your speedy recovery 🙂

Have a great Tuesday!

Are you injured/have you been injured? What is your recovery tip?

How do you train? Do you stop at first sign of discomfort?

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17 comments

  1. pickyrunner · · Reply

    Yes. This is the most important part. If you take your taper seriously in the next few weeks, you WILL make it to that starting line healthy. Sometimes our obsessive tendencies get in the way and make it hard to see that clearly but I think you have a good head on your shoulders and will figure it out 🙂

    1. Thanks girl!! I am sure I will need to reread this post every day when I “forget” that being healthy and enjoying running forever and ever is the most important thing!!

  2. I completely identify with this, and am so glad that you are able to vocalize (and internalize) this wisdom with three weeks until a marathon and lots of supporters pushing you for an awesome race. It’s hard to tell people to back off when they only want to be supportive, but I think it’s a GOOD thing that it’s other people telling to push too hard, rather than you telling yourself to push too hard. It’s tough to fight the inner voice that says “go farther, run faster,” but you’ve clearly mastered that. I hope you keep that mindset for the next three weeks! In fact, I think sometimes we run FASTER when we stop thinking too much, stop looking at our watches, stop trying to meet expectations, and just run (healthy, of course)!

    1. I completely agree! I have never run well with pressure or expectations… in fact, I never even let myself look at my watch during a race because I do not want to feel pressured to either speed up, slow down, etc. I like to run by “feel”.
      Turning off the brain is so hard but can be the best 🙂
      You are definitely right– we have the most fun and the run fastest when we are happy and healthy 🙂

  3. I’ve broken a toe (not from running, but it affected my running). I’ve has multiple fractures all throughout my shins. They aren’t easy to heal. My fractures took me 4 years to completely heal. When it hurts, stop. When you’re injured stop. If I could go back in time, I would have stopped running at first sight of pain, instead of running for a month on fractures.

    1. Ouch girl!!! You have really been through some injuries!! 4 years is a long time, but I am so happy to hear you are running again!! And I guess you (as I have) have learned so much from those injuries and now we can run for years and years healthy!!!

  4. When I did my first marathon, I was not smart about it and got really bad IT Band issues. It was so bad that come the race, I had to walk 21 of the 26.2 miles. My shoes and socks were soaked in blood from my feet. It was awful. I learned from that experience, and now I do all the things they say were supposed to do to stay healthy. That’s my #1 goal – stay healthy! Everything else will come. Thanks for posting!

    1. Ahh ouch!!!! wow you are a trooper for finishing that 26.2 though! Seriously… that is mental strength and dedication right there!!
      And I am 100% with you!! Stay healthy, and everything else will come! Great line 🙂
      you are going to ROCK your race(s) coming up with that attitude!!

      1. Thank you! Working on getting my rock on!

  5. Ah so true. I have a hard time with that sometimes too. I know the right answer, the right thing to do and I know what my body is telling me but sometimes I think…Nah. Body, you’ll be fine. Suck it up. Sometimes that’s a good thing, but I need to know my limits. One thing I’m learning is when to get new shoes and not to run one more mile on ones that are completely shot.

    1. Yep! I have that discussion every day with myself and usually have to resort to saying, outloud, “STAY HEALTHY!!!”

      Ahhh ME TOO!! i used to get new shoes like once a year! And you are totally right… if i go over my mileage in them my knees/shins/ankles/hips kill!
      You got some nice new kicks that your body is going to LOVE once you get back running on them! ((such an exciting feeling!))

  6. This post hits me very hard today. I am 5 days out from my FIRST marathon and have been ignoring the signs that something has been wrong with my legs since my 20 mile run 3 weeks ago. I even did a half marathon a week ago, still ignoring the signs. Yesterday, after a short 3 mile taper run, I figured out I have shin splints or medial tibial stress syndrome. A lot of runners have dealt with this injury, but this is my first bout with them, probably from pushing myself too hard at a pace too fast during my long runs and races. Now instead of getting to the line healthy, as you mention, I have to worry about my legs hurting as well as finishing the race and fueling. I pray that I can complete this first marathon without too much pain from the shin splints. Now I know for next time to be more careful with training and timing of races before my goal race.

    Thanks for the post!!

    1. On no I am so sorry to hear about your little “aches and pains”… and I pray that you run a wonderful 26.2 pain free!!! ((or at least throughout the race… you can rest for the next 5 weeks to heal those shins, but I want nothing more than a painfree HAPPY 26.2!!
      We have ALL been there with training and ignoring signs.. I mean it is why we are runners. We are very very good at turning off pain and getting the job done no matter what. We are dedicated… and we love it.. and it is why we love running.
      Just think about all the rest time you can have to heal your body and treat it well with ice, stretching, massages, etc.
      I will be thinking about you during your FIRST MARATHON!!! so excited!

      We sure learn a lot throughout our years of running… #1 thing is health so we can run forever and ever 🙂

  7. Is it weird that when I read that Ryan had pulled out yesterday, I actually felt a little better about having to pull out too. And,we both have hip problems! I guess it reaffirms that I made the right decision 😦 Maybe I will see him there next year! haha

    1. not weird at ALL! I felt for him… but at the same time it reminds me that these olympic caliber SUPER FAST runners are human just like us. And unlike them, I don’t make my livelihood off of running… so if they sit out/drop out, then I should certainly never feel bad for sitting out a race. You have definitely made the right decision and your body THANKS YOU.
      you have many many many years of happy running ahead!!

  8. […] mantra everyday is “Stay healthy, stay healthy STAY HEALTHY!!” So taking Monday off was mentally easy for me to do (when usually I really really struggle […]

  9. […] it is what Ryan Hall said–”Get to the start line […]

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