For the last few years, long-distance runner Ryan Hall has inspired hope that he might be the one to challenge the recent marathon dominance of African athletes. Hall is the first U.S. runner to break the one-hour barrier in the half-marathon, and two years ago he ran the fastest marathon ever by an American – 2:04:58 in the Boston Marathon, finishing fourth. Eager anticipation for his return to Boston in April turned to disappointment last week when Hall announced he'd have to miss the race due to a quad injury. He was in Los Angeles for the L.A. Marathon over the weekend with his shoe sponsor, Asics.
"For me, dealing with an injury is way harder mentally than physically," Hall told MensJournal.com after his announcement. Of course, every runner experiences injury. How you treat it – both mentally and physically – can be critical to getting back in the game. Following are some tips on recovering from a world-class runner who hasn't let himself get discouraged that he's become a bit of an expert on the subject.
Don't rush your recovery.
Even for a runner as accomplished as Hall, patience is a virtue that must be emphasized again and again. "Many of my injuries have come when I felt the pressure of an upcoming big race and had to ramp up my training too quickly," he says. "Even if you're used to running a lot, when you are first beginning your training, you have to act like you're starting from scratch and have a very progressive and methodical approach to training."
Hall says he suffered his latest injury in early February, but believed it was a "very, very low-grade quad strain that would just need a few days off, then some TLC." He immediately began the usual treatment process – R.I.C.E. (rest, ice, elevation, compression) – followed by stretching, massage, and heating as he tried to test the injury with some light jogging. He also biked for a few weeks to stay in shape. But with the strain responding much more slowly than expected, he ultimately decided he'd have to withdraw from Boston so he could rest completely to give the quad enough time to heal properly. He has since returned to light jogging, but won't be ready in time for Boston (April 15th).
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