Race vs Recovery: Being intelligent about injury and racing

If you’ve read any of the recent blogs about hip injuries and races you’ll know that I’ve been building up to a bit of a race for the past year – The TDS, but have also picked up a considerable hip injury. Despite my best efforts, and telling everyone that if they’re going to get injured, do it in a race, not in practice, that is exactly what I did.

The process of getting back to proper running has taken a while, and although I have run a couple of times in the last week, it has been nothing really on the scale that will ultimately prepare me for 110km and 7000m of ascent at the end of August.

My original plan was to rehab, rehab, rehab and make a decision at some point around the 15th or 20th August as to whether I was going to run the race. Even having not run for 8 weeks, considering residual fitness, I reckon I could still get around the course within the time limit.

However, over the last couple of weeks I’ve been thinking about various bits and pieces, and eventually came to the conclusion that if I tried to run the race, even if I finished it, I would most probably end up a bit more broken and a bit more in pain than I am in now. It would set my recovery back by a number of months, and my running would be curtailed, probably for the rest of the year.

Is a single race worth it?

If I was in a position to perhaps win it, maybe. As it is, I would simply be another runner on the course trying to prove something to myself, and with the possibility of furthering an injury, would I have necessarily enjoyed it? I’m not so sure.

So a couple of weeks ago I took the decision to withdraw from the TDS, sent in my medical form and (surprisingly) they refunded me my entire entry fee. Brilliant. It has to be said that a bit of a weight has been lifted from my mind and I became free to get on and rehab and enjoy myself without the constant nagging thought of “am I going to be ready for it or not?”.

Yes, this was meant to be my “A” race for the year, yes, I have been building up for it since about January, am I annoyed that I’m not going to run?

Not really.

The running of the race, a single day in the year, is indeed a culmination of a large amount of training. However, if, because of injury, I am not ready or able to give my best, really, I don’t want to be putting myself on the start line. It is not a case of finishing it no matter what. There will be another TDS next year if I want to enter it.

What is more important to me is that without putting myself through this race, I will be back in the hills with my friends, running and enjoying myself.

Oh no- I won’t have a t-shirt or a medal to say I have run and completed a race. Shocker.

I’d rather have the memories of many evenings on Bleaklow than a DNF in Chamonix and more months of recovery.

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