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.
You can (and should) still exercise.
Hall, 30, has been dealing with setbacks since the beginning of his college career at Stanford, where he got off to an injury-riddled start after becoming California's high school cross country champion in both his junior and senior years. The mental grind of contending with injury, he points out, "is not all in your head." He typically runs twice a day, which means he gets two endorphin rushes daily. "[If an injury requires complete rest], then I'm missing a huge daily dose of endorphins that promote positive thinking and well-being," he says. "I think this is a major factor why a lot of runners go into a mild form of depression when injured. That's when cross-training becomes very important, because you can at least get an endorphin release and maintain some sort of fitness." So, try any other sport that doesn't aggravate your injury – you're mainly going for endorphins here – and the positive feeling that ensues will keep you motivated and pumped for future runs.
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