I am in day seven of an injury layoff.
The injury started over the holidays when I was experimenting with new running shoes. One pair caused my foot to land differently and thereby strained my ankle ligaments. This caused some numbness and tingling in my ankle and foot. Despite this fact, I kept running. As I got stronger, my ankle felt better, but I was likely still doing incremental damage to it every time I ran. Last week, my ankle had had enough punishment and it could no longer hide the injury, so it shot pain signals to my brain at the end of a run. That was enough for me to decide to rest it and get the thing healed far in advance of Boston. I still want to be able to run a competitive 26.2 miles.
Most web articles on ankle injuries don't give a definite recovery time for an ankle injury. Most articles' advice is to see an ankle specialist. Having been to the doctor for an ankle injury before (last year), I know the prescription for a mild sprain is typically:
- Strength exercises
However, since open-ended waiting is extremely frustrating, especially when a race countdown is looming, I wanted someone to tell me the exact number of days I needed to rest until I could start running again. In my search for an answer, I found a New York Times article which said that for a "grade one" ankle injury (i.e. a mild injury) the MINIMUM time off should be seven to ten days. I have rested seven days, and although my ankle feels better, it does occasionally get those tingly sensations and is only 50% less sore than last week. Does this mean I can begin running on it? I have paid for the F3 Half Marathon on Saturday. So, I have been coming up with scenarios on what to do:
1) Run a test run tomorrow of 1 to 2 miles to see how the ankle feels and make a decision tomorrow whether to race on Saturday.
2) Don't run until Saturday. This would allow for the most time to heal, but then risk "shocking" my ankle with 13.1 miles. Plus, I may go 2 miles and realize that it was a bad idea and have to pull a DNF.
3) Do a run/walk combo on Saturday and put up a really bad half time and still risk injury.
4) Blow off the race entirely and take another week off and make sure my ankle is at 95% before I start running again.
In any case I have two days to make a judgement call. Right now, I would say there is a 30% chance I will run the F3.