Halstead & Essex Marathon – DNS vs DNF?

This week I developed an Achilles strain, and the marathon is tomorrow so I had the debate about whether to be stubborn and run, and risk a DNF (did not finish), or listen to those wiser than myself, and to my body and DNS (did not start).

Thinking back to my first running injury, I went through the stages of grief, denial, anger and after a long period of making it worse…acceptance begrudgingly came.

Now with that experience I realise that it is ok to feel angry about injury, considering the effort I’ve put in for training, but more importantly I can’t let that anger stay for too long. I need to quickly focus on being sensible by resting which allows my body to recover stronger.

I would prefer a DNS, rather than a DNF. I’d rather have the control of not starting than to have that taken out of my hands in a race and be forced to stop. Also putting my ego aside about whether I think I could run it, consideration needs to be given to the support staff organising any race. I don’t want to cause them an unnecessary burden due to my stubbornness, if I doubt my ability to finish.

During any stressful time, whether it’s an injury or something that happens to you in life, the important thing is to look at the positives. It’s very easy to lose motivation following an injury, but consider these points:

1. Learn/research about the injury.  

2. Learn what steps you can take to manage it. I would consult with a Physiotherapist in the first instance, who can help with your rehabilitation.

3. Acceptance. This isn’t your fault but…this is the situation you are in. You can fight it, but dwelling on it will make you feel worse. Take control and responsibility of the recovery process, and take small positive steps rather than none at all.

4. Focus on what you can control. Focus on recovery rather than performance.

5. Don’t isolate yourself. The support of your peers, friends, and coaches is vital. Go and watch training or attend social team events.

6. It starts with the mind. Think of your active recovery and the steps your taking to get there. Use and reinforce those strong mental images to aid recovery.

Injuries are apart of running and are only unavoidable if you don’t run.

Setbacks are apart of life and is unavoidable only if you don’t live your life. 

Both of which are impossible.

This is a setback to my 1 in 4 marathon challenge, but it’s not terminal. Even if I don’t complete the challenge I still got a PB in Manchester and tomorrow is a new day. So watch this space.

Have a look at this Ted talk about how destructive beliefs hold us back. 


Thanks and regards 

Marathon Marcus

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