Unfortunately immediately prior to an event is the time of the year when you are most likely to experience an injury or burn out.
The reason is simply because you've been building up with distance, speed, and race specificity for months now. Training is getting more difficult and volume has been going up.
Paying attention to your body is incredibly important as a race approaches. Recovery and key workouts are what matter. But what happens when you're a week or a month out from your autumn event and you have a twinge and have to walk the last mile of your tempo run?!?
Instead of sitting around on the couch with frozen peas under your hurt calf reading about running, there are a number of activities you can do:
1) Pray to the running gods 2) Rest 3) Do that which does not aggravate the injury 4) Rest 5) Trust in your body and training
Better to be 10% undertrained than injured on race day
You have to stop training if you're tapering or just about to taper for a race, and experience an injury. If you go into the race with a compromised body, you're doomed from the start. A run that aggravates an injury will stop your race before it starts, but if you avoid running you give your body a chance to heal up.
Look at it this way. Taking the two weeks off before a race will leave you 100% recovered for the event. That's a wonderful thing!
Do you test it?
This is a tricky question.
Two things can happen. You will either feel great during the test Or you will still experience the pain. But seriously, whatever the results of a test, would you still skip the race?
Don't test it
Show up at the race and hope the road gods have shown you favor. It could be that the different running form you have during a fast race vs a slower training run could be enough to modify how your legs and muscles are moving, to not have a single second of pain.
But the #1 thing is to not aggravate the injury
Cross training with aqua jogging, cycling, or any activity that you can perform painlessly can be a great idea if injured. It takes a long time to actually loose fitness but only a mile of running to end a season. Doing these types of activities can help you hold onto your athletics for the race!
Something that must also be mentioned is that if the injury does hurt during the race, no event is worth running through pain just to finish and potentially experience an injury that you never fully recover from.
It's important to promise yourself that you can overcome your ego before or during the event, if the injury is compromising your running form. There will be other races!
You might also like: What to do Before a Race
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