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  • Writer's pictureLuke Nelson

Injured in the lead up to a race? When to back off & when to push on

When an injured runner presents to us before a race, there is a decision to be made: Push or back off. Here we discuss some of the considerations for each.


With this approach, running may need to be reduced &/or substituted for cross-training & rehab.


  • Dealing with a particularly irritable injury that would likely worsen or recur if planned training goes ahead (i.e. acute tendinopathy, soft tissue injury or bone stress injury, pain that is exceeding 4-5/10)

  • If the upcoming race is not a particularly important one to the runner.

  • If the current level of fitness or expected race time is comfortably under the goal time of the runner. For those wishing to just finish a particular race & not caring for time, this may be a better option.

‼️Risks of this approach:

  • 😓Being UNDERDONE: Loss of fitness leading to inability to finish or failing to achieve the goal time

  • 🤕Reinjury: Lack of running conditioning could potentially lead to an aggravation or recurrence of the injury mid/post-race (i.e. calf injury with insufficient time to fully rehab).


Training continues as planned or increases


  • If the presenting complaint is stable & lower level pain (i.e pain below 4-5/10 that doesn’t increase with activity)

  • If the current fitness level of the runner is below where it needs to be for their target race time

  • A High priority race where there is a lot on the line! (i.e. championship event)

‼️Risks of this approach:

  • 🥵Being OVERCOOKED: Potential for flare-up or reinjury leading to a failure to even make the start line or impairing the runner during the race!

Obviously, this is a nuanced decision that needs to take into consideration lots of variables i.e. diagnosis of the condition, goals & desires of the runner & an understanding of the consequences, but we hope this can provide useful for runners out there!

👋 If you are a runner needing help with your injuries, don’t hesitate to reach out to us

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