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What to do if you’ve picked up an injury a few weeks before race day

Ending up with an injury three weeks before race day can be quite worrisome, but DON’T PANIC!

You have spent the last 13 weeks training for this marathon. It's time to focus on healing your injury, not getting in another long run.


Here are some tips of what to do if you are injured:

Have the injury assessed

Knowing what you are suffering from is the first step to understanding how to treat it.

Follow PIER If there is swelling and inflammation follow PIER:

  • Pressure. Apply pressure to the area with the aim of spreading out any swelling, enabling your lymphatic system to recycle the swelling more efficiently. Apply pressure via compression socks, tubing, tensor bandages or a neoprene sleeve.

  • Ice. This is a personal decision. Some people feel ice is very beneficial, while others despise it. If you find ice helpful, apply it for no more than 12-15 minutes at a time, allowing the area to completely re-warm before your next application.

  • Elevation. Elevate the affected limb so it is above the level of your heart for a minimum 15 minutes. This allows gravity to help encourage the swelling to flow towards your lymph nodes, easing the process of lymph drainage.

  • Rest. Take a rest day. Don’t try to get in another run and risk causing more damage.

Find alternative exercise

If you are able to walk on the injury without a limp, find an alternate form of activity to stay active; swimming or cycling are great alternatives to keep your legs moving in a safe environment.


If you are coming back from an injury at this stage, try using the following steps to guide you back into running:

  • Aim to run three times in the first week back

  • Your first two runs should be short runs of approximately 3-6 miles

  • Your first long run should be the same distance as your most recent long run

  • At this time you should have entered into your taper; as long as your injury does not flare up with these runs, continue following your planned tapering program

  • No junk miles. This close to the marathon, it is important to know the purpose of each run. You have built your endurance over 13 weeks, trust your fitness! A rest day could prove more useful than a sloppy run.

Here is an article for further information regarding returning to running after an injury or some time off.

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