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Should I cancel my IM on June 16th?
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Hi folks,

First of all, my apologies for the long post but I'm facing a dilemma. In just 30 days I'm supposed to have my A-race for the season and I really don't know if I even should participate. I come to this forum with hope you can shed some light on it.

This A-race is a full non-franchise IM just 200km from my hometown. It's a kind-of hilly ride course with 1600m of total ascent and 300m for the marathon. I participated last year in my first IM with great success, finishing in top 5% with a time of 10:15 (in a normal road bike wih aero clips and a 3:30 marathon). At 32 years old, it was just my third triathlon, of any distance.

I've been training consistently for the past year with views of improving that. No time goals, just the feeling of doing better. For me, race times on non-flat courses depend a lot on rain and wind conditions. However, I do know that under same weather conditions, going sub-10hr would get me close to a top 10 position (of course, non-franchise IM so no pros).

Bought a TT bike, turbotrainer, increased my swim frequency and mileage, kept running just the same... and I got injured in Oct-18. Psoas tendinitis or hip flexor strain possibly due to some kind of hip labrum damage. With some weeks of almost no running, I set out to strength the s*** ouf of my hips.

January came and I was in my best shape ever. In running I made some 5k and 10k PR in training workouts, 48km/1300m ascent trail run on my own, climbed a 1000m mountain in one hour, etc. On the bike, I was making PR on strava segments with some top 10 places, no matter where I went and how many times I could have gone by that segment before (my region is well known in the pro cyclist community with La Vuelta coming every year).

Then the bad news. At the end of March, for the first time in my life my IT band started to annoy me. My weekly running mileage went from 50-60km (30-40 miles) to 10-20 km. I could run with no pain but after one hour it was impossible to continue. The following morning was even worse.. but after 2-5 days working the it band I felt better and got back to running. That's been the situation for the past 8 weeks (my supposed volume period). I keep running surprisingly at a good pace (4:15-4:30 per km) easily but can't run with the due consistence.

I have a €30 insurance cancellation that expires on Monday 20th 2019. I talked to the organizers and they said I could changed to 70.3 distance, but I don't know if that's what I want. My options are as follows:
  1. Participate in full IM and give all I have. If that means DNF at half of the run, so be it.
  2. Change to 70.3... for which I don't know if I have the motivation. I was mentally and physically preparing an IM. If I'm not OK for full distance, maybe I should start thinking in autumn or 2020 races.
  3. Cancel everything.

I don't have a coach and I'm not interested in one. I don't train to race. I do triathlon because I've seen that what really matters to me is the day to day, the way of life. It's not about the results, it's about the satisfaction it gives, the endorphins, the health, etc. I don't have to prove anything to anybody because nobody I care gives a shit if I go sub-10 or not. And if I had to prove something, I already did last year. My main concern is being not well prepared for the race and that a bad performance or unnecessary suffering experience affects me physically and emotionally.
Last edited by: anakinpm: May 17, 19 0:33
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Re: Should I cancel my IM on June 16th? [anakinpm] [ In reply to ]
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IT band issues are a b**** because they require full rest to heal and will just hang around if you try and work through them. In general IT and ligament issues are a result of building the training load too fast. Muscles gain strength much faster than ligaments and adapt faster to increases in training. This leads to a situation where your muscle get too strong for you ligaments and recovery involves not only allowing the ligament to heal but losing some muscle strength to bring everything back into balance. That's a long winded way of saying rest is better than trying to work through the issue.

The good news is that true endurance fitness it not lost very quickly so if you were in great shape in January 8 weeks of low mileage isn't the end of world. The other side of the coin is that endurance fitness is not built quickly so there isn't much you can do over the next month to drastically improve your form. Overall if you rest the leg you will be in a similar place in a month as you are now but without the nagging pain. So if you feel you could race today (assuming your IT band doesn't fair up) I would say race. If you feel like you are not in sufficient shape to race today then I would cancel.

Personally I wouldn't drop to the 70.3 because it will make things harder rather than easier. The higher pace of a 70.3 will put more pressure on your IT band and you will also feel the loss in fitness a whole lot more at 70.3 pace than 140.6 pace.
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Re: Should I cancel my IM on June 16th? [anakinpm] [ In reply to ]
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My experience, I'd trained for 3 years (with some small breaks inbetween) with the goal of ultimately doing an IM. My training was going along perfectly, then 2 weeks before IM race day I got a partial high hamstring tendon tear, unknown at the time until I came back after the race and got scans. Caused by chronic training and ramping volume way too aggressively.

I couldn't run more than 100m for the 2 weeks leading into the race. The race was overseas, flights and accommodation all booked and paid for and my family was coming as well. So I got a cortisone shot and went and did the race. That decision cost me any running or riding for 12 months while I recovered from the damage I'd done. Having said that the race was awesome, and I'd do it all over again haha

But seriously, if it wasn't overseas and I hadn't booked flights and accommodation for myself and the family, I would've pulled the pin, got healthy and picked another IM in the near future.

There will always be another IM to do, if you damage yourself too much...well you only get one body!
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Re: Should I cancel my IM on June 16th? [scott8888] [ In reply to ]
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scott8888 wrote:
So if you feel you could race today (assuming your IT band doesn't fair up) I would say race. If you feel like you are not in sufficient shape to race today then I would cancel.

Personally I wouldn't drop to the 70.3 because it will make things harder rather than easier. The higher pace of a 70.3 will put more pressure on your IT band and you will also feel the loss in fitness a whole lot more at 70.3 pace than 140.6 pace.

That's what my gut is telling me. 70.3 does not have much meaning for me and could make things worse. I've done multiple brick workouts of 90-100km rides with 12-16km runs and therefore I know doing a 70.3 isn't going to be special unless I improve. Maybe the only reason I consider it it's because I do not want to call the season off.

I know I have the aerobic fitness for full IM but my fear is the muscular endurance in the last 20 km with such low recent running. Next-day IT band pain is usually worse when I run slow at marathon pace. I think I'll make tomorrow an 80-18km brick test and see how I feel.

Thank you for the response scott8888. I really appreciate you taking the time to write
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Re: Should I cancel my IM on June 16th? [rock] [ In reply to ]
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rock wrote:
My experience, I'd trained for 3 years (with some small breaks inbetween) with the goal of ultimately doing an IM. My training was going along perfectly, then 2 weeks before IM race day I got a partial high hamstring tendon tear, unknown at the time until I came back after the race and got scans. Caused by chronic training and ramping volume way too aggressively.

I couldn't run more than 100m for the 2 weeks leading into the race. The race was overseas, flights and accommodation all booked and paid for and my family was coming as well. So I got a cortisone shot and went and did the race. That decision cost me any running or riding for 12 months while I recovered from the damage I'd done. Having said that the race was awesome, and I'd do it all over again haha

But seriously, if it wasn't overseas and I hadn't booked flights and accommodation for myself and the family, I would've pulled the pin, got healthy and picked another IM in the near future.

There will always be another IM to do, if you damage yourself too much...well you only get one body!

Very inspirational @rock. That's the thing, it's a close IM in which I already did well last year... and it's not like I owe anything to sponsors!

I'm in doubt because it's "just" pain/discomfort that prevents me from running long. But I'm still running better that when I did 1:29 in the half marathon of a 70.3.

As I said in my previous response, I'll test this weekend with a brick workout. If things don't go well, I still have the registration for Madrid's full Challenge in Sept 19.
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Re: Should I cancel my IM on June 16th? [anakinpm] [ In reply to ]
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IT band issues are tough. I had to make the difficult decision not to race the Boston Marathon in 2013 (yes the year of the bombing). I had to stop running for a few weeks until it healed and settled down. I had a good chiro with a background of working with top runners. To this day I still do his stretches and do prehab exercises once a week for the IT band, glutes and hips. And I haven't had an IT band injury since. It really sucks not to race, but get it better and work with a good chiro or physio to address imbalances and issues in that area.
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Re: Should I cancel my IM on June 16th? [anakinpm] [ In reply to ]
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I was in this exact situation last October. Was signed up for IM Louisville but developed IT band syndrome August 5th. I tried everything to make the race happen. Physical therapy, cupping, dry needling...but ultimately it took not running for 4 months. Yes 4 months. I did not run a step from September until January. I cancelled my accommodations in Louisville and just had to eat the entry fee. It sucked but I was so tired of being hurt that I didn’t care about the race fee anymore. Not what you wanted to hear I’m sure but it’s my story. Good news is I started back running in January and I’m back to normal. Did Gulf Coast 70.3 last weekend. There is hope. But if you rush the healing it will not go away.
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Re: Should I cancel my IM on June 16th? [anakinpm] [ In reply to ]
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Tough decision here. I had the exact same issue leading up to IM Santa Rosa, IT would bother after only 2 miles, and it was bad enough that I wanted to blow my whole leg off.

1. I took a good hard look at my running form and adjusted it to prevent over-striding at any cost. It was important to start this way every run I did. Also dialed back total running volume to just running for bigger race-sim bricks (maybe 2x a week.) If I could keep it in the little to no discomfort zone rather than pain zone, I was happy.

2. I did a lot more core/glute strength stuff I had started to neglect for a while (sans pain, if the knee hurt, no go)
a. mule kicks on the floor
b. fire hydrants
c. straight leg heel drops

3. Actually eased up a lot on all stretching (the opposite of what you want to do), particularly glutes. Only basic, 10 secs max per muscle group kind of thing.

It got a lot better, but never ran enough to know how much because I was well beyond doing long workouts anymore. It was definitely in the back of my mind all the way until starting the run on race day. I had decided that if I made the whole way, great! And, if I made to 126 miles and had to power walk it in, thats what it was and would have a swim and ride to add to my data and race analysis. Ran the full marathon, 0 knee pain, wrapped up the race with 8:16s even pacing the whole marathon. I focused 100% of my effort on my "new" running form.

Disclaimer: This was my IT band story, but cannot fully speak for your situation (even though it sounds very similar). It all depends on your abilities, actual injury status, willingness to accept injury, and ability know when to quit before going too far.

Good luck.

Matt Leu, M.S. Kinesiology
Endurance Athlete and Coach
Consistency/time=results
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Re: Should I cancel my IM on June 16th? [ironmatt85] [ In reply to ]
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There's a reason I came here for help and it was to get messages like yours. Maybe our it bands stories are different but they do really look similar.

Everything you describe it's quite familiar: race-sim brick workouts, strength exercises and even the lower stretching.

I don't know what I'll decide before Monday but your story gives me hope. Thank you. I'll keep you posted
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Re: Should I cancel my IM on June 16th? [rock] [ In reply to ]
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rock wrote:
My experience, I'd trained for 3 years (with some small breaks inbetween) with the goal of ultimately doing an IM. My training was going along perfectly, then 2 weeks before IM race day I got a partial high hamstring tendon tear, unknown at the time until I came back after the race and got scans. Caused by chronic training and ramping volume way too aggressively.

I couldn't run more than 100m for the 2 weeks leading into the race. The race was overseas, flights and accommodation all booked and paid for and my family was coming as well. So I got a cortisone shot and went and did the race. That decision cost me any running or riding for 12 months while I recovered from the damage I'd done. Having said that the race was awesome, and I'd do it all over again haha

But seriously, if it wasn't overseas and I hadn't booked flights and accommodation for myself and the family, I would've pulled the pin, got healthy and picked another IM in the near future.

There will always be another IM to do, if you damage yourself too much...well you only get one body!

I'm in this boat right now. Going to IM Ireland Jun 23 and haven't run in a month due to a right knee that popped 11 miles into a long run (diagnosis is arthritic/frayed meniscus but I have MRI next week). I've upped my swimming and biking. Doc has already offered a cortisone shot for next month, but this will be IM#15 and nothing in it for me by pride. But I'll be 62 this year so there aren't many left in the future. So I have 3 options:

1. Go to Ireland, skip the race and do more tourist stuff than I had originally planned.
2. Go to Ireland, do the swim & bike then DNF.
3. Go to Ireland, swim, bike and power walk the marathon.
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Re: Should I cancel my IM on June 16th? [anakinpm] [ In reply to ]
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I've had two bad bouts of ITB issues over the years - both took a long time to finally get better. The worst was in 2014 - injury began around February - got a cortisone shot for the Boston Marathon, and that only got me to around mile 18, before I walked the rest. I finally got 'better' in September.

Personally, if you have insurance, cancel the race this year and let it heal up.


Blog: http://262toboylstonstreet.blogspot.com/
https://twitter.com/NateThomasTri
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Re: Should I cancel my IM on June 16th? [anakinpm] [ In reply to ]
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if your are there to race, cancel everything and get healthy.
If all you want is the finishers shirt and the picture for medal monday then just suck it up and then get healthy...
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Re: Should I cancel my IM on June 16th? [ironmatt85] [ In reply to ]
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Saturday test was really good. Almost a 70.3 on my own: 2:30 hrs on the turbo at 230W avg (240NP) followed by a 21.1 quite hilly run in 1:35 (350m total ascent or 1150 ft).

IT band/knee were perfect. I did run faster than my marathon pace, since running slow seemed to aggravate the it band a few weeks ago. Next morning everything was OK, or at least at the best state it's been in the past month. My mileage got to 33 miles in the last 7 days, best since March.

Given all that, I'm in for the IM. Evolution is favorable and it gives me hope I soon can start to forget about the discomfort. I will take things easy and keep the running low before the race. I realize that there is much to lose by over-running, so I'll be running twice per weeks instead of the typical 3 sessions.

Come race day, if everything's not ok, I'll be doing a nice aqua bike. But today I'm confident I can run at least 50-80% normally!

It's one of the cheapest IM in Europe and quite close home so not too much hassle.

Thank you all for your advice.
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Re: Should I cancel my IM on June 16th? [anakinpm] [ In reply to ]
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If you want to race long term and ride or run or most of your life, I would rain check the race. Go to a PT for 2-3 weeks and spend 3-4 months working through your muscle imbalances and stay in the pool.
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Re: Should I cancel my IM on June 16th? [Nerd] [ In reply to ]
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Just saw OPs last update. Sounds like a good plan.
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Re: Should I cancel my IM on June 16th? [anakinpm] [ In reply to ]
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Yep, definitely had similar problem. The faster I ran the better it felt. Still, keep your form in check (tall posture, no over striding in front of the body line) and practice it going slower too, in case thats the option you're left with off the bike... Glad things are looking better.

Let us know how everything goes, and good luck!

Cheers.

Matt Leu, M.S. Kinesiology
Endurance Athlete and Coach
Consistency/time=results
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Re: Should I cancel my IM on June 16th? [HuffNPuff] [ In reply to ]
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"But I'll be 62 this year so there aren't many left in the future."

How many is not many?
I'm about to do my 5th since that age.
(but I have walked a couple)
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Re: Should I cancel my IM on June 16th? [michael Hatch] [ In reply to ]
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michael Hatch wrote:
"But I'll be 62 this year so there aren't many left in the future."

How many is not many?
I'm about to do my 5th since that age.
(but I have walked a couple)


It all depends on what the MRI shows tomorrow and what my knee can handle. I want to finish #15 and #16 this year. Good knee or bad knee, I won't be doing a full in 2020 and 2021. If my knee is up for the challenge when I age up to 65, I would like to go out with a bang at IM Wales. I've been running for a lifetime and I don't think I'll make 5 more after this year.
Last edited by: HuffNPuff: May 20, 19 10:29
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