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So you want to run marathons? Step One: get your team together.

With a little less than 4 weeks to go til I run this year’s Marine Corps Marathon, I can say with complete certainty, I wouldn’t be standing here if it wasn’t for the great work I have received from my chiropractor, physical therapist and massage therapist.

First a little background

People who have read my earlier blog posts understand that one of the reasons for running this marathon was to selflessly sacrifice my body, in the interest of science and the greater good for humanity, to see what a person goes through while training for a marathon.

Understanding the abuse I was signing up for, I then wanted to see if I could use all of the tools at my disposal to hopefully remain injury free. Now maybe this isn’t a discussion for you 20 year olds out there, but if there is one thing marathon training has taught me, it is my own mortality, ever more present now, as I enter the 4th decade of my life.

Runner injuries whittle our team from 12 to 4…

Bottom line, if you train for a marathon, you are going to feel aches and pain, and quite possibly, even get injured. It is hard to quantitatively determine hard percentages, but if my particular pace group is any indicator, we started this journey in May with around 10-12 runners, but as I write this some five months later, we have been whittled down to 3-4 lonesome souls. Obviously, there are a multitude of reasons for this reduction, but injury is certainly at the top of the list. We have suffered pulled muscles, injured joints, stress fractures, you name it.

So how do I feel?

There but for the grace of God, go I. And might I add, the grace of great chiropractic care, physical therapy and massage therapy.

Preparing for yet another long training run, I take account of how I feel. A little tight in the left knee, some cracking in the feet and ankles … and I think I count 2 missing toenails. Overall, I’m good to go! But how did I get here? Am I lucky, blessed or am I the benefactor of all of the time spent with various professionals, getting adjusted, stripping down tight muscles, training weak muscles, and so on and so forth?

I have hesitated in the past on making a strong and definitive statement about chiropractic and physical therapy, but I have to say it now:

If you are training without at least one and possibly all of these professional on your team, the chances of you getting injured are great!

If you are training hard, you are tweaking joints, straining muscles, torquing ligaments and stressing the overall structure of your body. And the results of this stress are all of the injuries runners have become way to familiar with. Plantar Fasciitis, IT Band Syndrome, runners knee, leg pain, back pain, and everything else that makes up the list of runners ailments. I can recall feeling a very sharp pain to the outside of my left knee during my first 8 mile run. “IT Band,” I thought to myself.

The Dr. Beck hook up…

Dr. Beck @ Capitol Rehab (@capitolrehab)

Immediately following the run, I presented this to my very talented chiropractor, Dr. Beck who identified a pelvic imbalance, made the necessary corrections and bam! IT BAND IS GONE FOR GOOD!

On a separate run, I remember dull pain through the front of both of my knees. I quickly visited my physical therapists, Barb and Lyn.

“Tight hamstrings, tight psoas, weak quads and glutes, do some of these, and some of that…” they told me. The results?? Problem solved!

This isn’t hippie voodoo, this is how the human body works.

We are designed to adjust to stress and do the best we can. Our bodies will sacrifice one part to try and spare another. Sometimes getting on the foam roller, or changing shoes or sitting in an ice bath isn’t enough. Sometimes you have to take the race car in for a pit stop and get things tuned up.

Listen to your body

In some circles, this may be a controversial point, but not in the critical research and more importantly, not in the minds of elite runners; many of which have been incorporating this type of work into their training for years.

If you suffer nagging injuries that continue to show up at the most inopportune times, start listening to your body and find a good chiropractor, physical therapist or massage therapist. Or better yet, try to find a place that can introduce you to all three. Your body deserves it.

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