I’ve had a few did not starts (DNS) in my running history for various reasons. I was injured, didn’t want to race in extreme temperatures, or the vibe wasn’t right. Sometimes, I made other plans. These DNSes include both small and big races.
Marathons: In 2017 or 2018, just one week before the Revel in Salt Lake City, I injured my back, making it difficult to walk, so I didn’t run the marathon. In 2023, a month before the California International Marathon (CIM), I hurt my sciatic nerve/hip, leading me to skip this marathon and the Richmond Half Marathon, a race I’ve always wanted to do.
The rise of Social Media and Resting: I started my blog in 2010 when social media became popular. Before Instagram, TikTok, and Twitter, there was blogging, a place for sharing thoughts. It was my gateway into the running social media world. Now, everything is so fast-paced. Quick 7-minute videos are trendy and get far more views than blogging. My blog usually gets somewhere around 40,000 views per month, but there are so many TikTok and Instagram videos that get that with a single video. It is easy to find dozens of big influencers on social media. Today, there’s a trend of running through injury, which I question. Obviously not with every runner, but with many.
My own injury: My hip and sciatic pain arose at an inopportune time, the month before CIM. Those peak weeks were crucial. I planned to run a couple more 20-milers and use the Richmond Half Marathon as my final tune-up. Instead, I’ve been managing my injury with massage and physical therapy, improving from severe pain to running about 6 miles before experiencing tightness. Three weeks ago, I couldn’t walk or stand without pain. Now I can do some easy runs.
Running through this injury wouldn’t prove anything. It could have led to a labrum tear or stress fracture in the hip, both requiring long recovery periods. It’s better to rest than risk a serious injury.
Mentally: It’s funny, when I first started running, I thought missing a race was the end of the world. Maturity and time were really the way I got out of that mindset. I realized there are plenty of other things besides running. Plus, there are plenty of other races. Mentally, missing Richmond and CIM is hard, but I also know I made the right decision, and I would have been in pain and miserable racing either of them. Why run a marathon 1-2 hours slower than I wanted, be in more pain, and likely further injure myself? When you put it that way, it’s a no-brainer.
Resting Won’t Hurt You: No running injury improves by running; it often worsens. What feels fine might be causing microdamage, leading to issues like stress fractures, torn muscles, or something else severe.
I’m sharing this to remind others that resting during an injury is common. Missing a race might cause FOMO and it does stink, but sometimes, resting and recovering is the only way to fully heal.