What to do when injury strikes right before your big goal race.
To DNS, or not to DNS. That is the question. (DNS = did not start)
Three days before my spring half marathon, I found myself in the precarious position of trying to decide if I’m going get a DNS (did not start) for this race or not. What was barely a twinge in my foot last week has suddenly turned into full-blown pain. It’s time to do a difficult thing. I had to admit to myself that I officially have an injury.
There are several reasons why taking a DNS can be the right thing to do, but making that decision isn’t always easy.
Do I push through the pain and race anyways? No.
Do I alter my race plans and run/walk the race instead? Maybe.
Do I run the race, but promise to drop out if the pain increases? Probably not, a DNF might be worse than a DNS.
I’ll admit I’m angry that a few days ago I could run pain free and now all of a sudden I can’t even walk without pain, despite doing everything right like seeing a physical therapist.
I know it’s not a big deal. There will be other races. I will recover from this injury and go on to run again, but if I really do take a DNS, I will definitely be a disappointment.
If you find yourself in the same predicament, trying to decide if you should tough it out and run the race or take a DNS, here are the guidelines I’ll use to make my decision.
Reasons to DNS
- I can run without pain only if I compromise my running gait.
- I am questioning whether or not I should be running the race. I know when I’m not injured, so if I’m questioning my injury status, then I must be injured!
- I’m in pain while walking or running.
Reasons to run the race
- I magically am able to run pain free.
- My pain level is no higher than a 3 on a scale from 1-10 and doesn’t seem to get worse while running.
Ultimately, missing a race is never fun, but running a race while injured or in pain is never a good idea. Missing one race will hopefully mean healing quicker and being able to get back out on the road asap!