Living in Melbourne means a cold, wet and windy winter, which is why the Sunshine Coast Marathon has been a feature on my event calendar for the past three years. The weather is generally incredible and the people are lovely.
Previously coming 2nd and 3rd, I was hoping to go one better and set a new PB. This year we saw the Australian Half Marathon Championships feature as the marquee event across the weekend. Many athletes would come up and represent their respective state in the championships event, many of whom would bring their friends and families.
However, getting to the start line of your yearly “A race” for the year can be difficult. My training had been going incredibly well, setting a new PB at the Gold Coast Half Marathon (69:07), being 1 second off my previous 10km PB (31:43) and reaching new mileage goals (250+km in a week).
It was two weeks out from race day and I'd just completed my biggest ever week of training, finishing with a tough half marathon on trails.
I pulled up quite sore and my Monday/Tuesday runs were cut by 75% and I didn't even consider a run on the Wednesday. I felt a lot of pain on impact when landing on my left leg, towards my fibula area. I was eventually sent away for an MRI which was ever so valuable as it showed I didn’t have a stress fracture, only a small tear in the fascia of my leg.
After some massage and physio sessions, applying some ice and rubbing in some fisiocrem, I started to notice some improvements on my initial pain symptoms but was still suffering from long lasting aches in my leg. As my taper progressed, it became more about off-loading my muscles.
I turned to pool running, cycling and AlterG treadmill running to get some aerobic training in, as I like to maintain a good amount of training since I can lose fitness quite quickly. Each day I got more treatment and applied more fisiocrem to my leg and by the time it came to fly up to the Sunshine Coast, I was feeling more confident that I could complete the full distance, whatever the pace turned out to be.
I was lucky enough to have an amazing support network, be involved in an incredible event and finish in 2nd place (2:28:33). A great result given my minor setbacks!
Some tips for anyone else trying to avoid or prevent injury… Listen to your body, seek expert advice before googling your symptoms, incorporate a good gym program, enjoy your training and don’t give up.