One fact struck me after watching the marathon finish yesterday:
50% of U.S. marathoners dropped out of the Olympic marathon due to an injury.That's right, three out of the six runners competing for the U.S. had to drop out early in their respective marathons due to injury.
- Desiree Davilla: Injured hip flexor tendon during a marathon workout (She first felt pain after a high-mileage day in July). Dropped out at mile 2 of Women's Marathon.
- Ryan Hall: Had hamstring issues during training. Dropped out at mile 11 of Men's Marathon with a hamstring injury.
- Abdi Abdirahman: During the marathon felt a "pop in his knee." Also dropped out around mile 11.
Although Kara Goucher and Shalane Flanangan both had respectable finishes, they were disappointed in their performance. In regards to how hard Kara and Shalene trained, Kara said:
"People mess up, and I’ve trained so hard. I didn't even know women trained the way that I've trained with Shalane. I didn't know it existed."
Meb Keflezighi was the only U.S. marathoner who got close to a medal (4th place) had actually cut back on his training leading up to the race:
"He (Meb Keflezighi) ...needed to be careful so Keflezighi could get to the start line healthy, if undertrained."
Also this from the LA Times:
"Four months ago, Keflezighi said he couldn't walk, much less run, because of a strained gluteus muscle that limited him (Meb) to four weeks of quality training in the run-up to the Games."
All of these runners avail themselves to the best training methods and have had great coaching most of their careers and yet they still get injured training for the marathon. Only one of the six cut back on their normal training mileage and that person (Meb) had the best run of the six! I suspect overtraining is the main culprit as to why the other five had disappointing marathons. They all wanted to put in the extra miles to make themselves tougher for the grueling distance and potentially get a medal. However, you can only put yourself in line for a medal if you are able to complete all of the 26.2 miles on healthy legs. The only U.S. marathoner who was able to make it to the finish anywhere near the medalists was the runner who had undertrained.