Marathon Season – happy days

It’s one of our favourite times of the year, Marathon Season. With close to ten years of treating injuries, fixing them feels like old hat, watching the process runners go through and the changes in their bodies is very interesting.

We are very lucky to have runners coming to us at the start of their marathon training and we get to quietly observe how their bodies change and more interesting how their fear of not being able to complete a marathon dissolves as each week of training goes by.

I feel like the doctor who nods knowingly when I tell him what’s wrong, I’m guessing I’m the 100th person he’s seen this week with the same symptoms and he only needs to look at me to know what’s wrong. But I still need to tell the doc how I feel and want him to listen to all the symptoms I am suffering from.

I see the panic on the runners faces at the start of the marathon training, “I am struggling to run 8 miles, how am I going to finish 26 miles”. When runners make it to the 16 mile mark on their training plan, you can see the belief starting to happen and after their first 18 mile run there is relief and a bit of excitement building, despite the rather sore, tired legs attached below the waist.

Then the training is over and the tapering starts. Real panic sets in: have I trained enough, will I get sick, will I finish. The list goes on. What a privileged place to be as a sports massage therapist, to be able to reassure and offer useful advice is truly rewarding. In all my years of treating runners, only one did not make it to the finish-line and that was because we decided that the week before the marathon was not enough time to fix a crunching/grinding knee and he was happy to defer his place to the following year.

For every runner (such as the one who only made it to 14 miles in training but “had” to run NY marathon) we were able to help with a race strategy to get them to the finish-line, even those doing their 5th marathon on a good-for-age time, we analysed areas where they could make small improvements. As the years go by, the experience doesn’t diminish for us, we get to learn and grow with our clients and love hearing the stories of how they made it through (bleed nipples and all).

When I started the marathon MOT, it was to offer a proactive solution to preventing running injuries. However there was a little surprise in store for me, I realised I was observing a journey someone was on, quietly allowed to meet them on-route, offering advice to suggest a direction they hadn’t considered. To be able to observe how they go from uncertain to believing to completing a goal and then to be allowed to share in their joy – hey I won’t get heavy, but it keeps our little world going round.

So a huge thanks to who ever invented the marathon – you’ve made us a bunch of very happy massage therapists.

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