Lessons Learned From Ryan Hall’s NYC Marathon Withdrawal

Ryan Hall has not finished a marathon in almost two years.

Breaking The Injury Cycle

Hall’s injuries began before the London Olympics, when plantar fascia problems hampered his training leading into the trials. Then, during the Olympic Marathon, a hamstring injury forced him to drop out at 10 miles. That same hamstring issue caused him to withdraw from the 2012 NYC Marathon. Later that spring, Hall withdrew from Boston with quad pain. This fall, it seems the injury has moved to his hip.

While located in different parts of the body, these injuries are likely connected and illustrate the difficulty of breaking from the injury cycle.

1. The plantar problems probably resulted in Hall altering his form to take pressure off the amount of work his foot had to do. The result was over working the hamstring.

2. The time between the Summer Olympics and 2012 NYC Marathon was only a few months so his hamstring injury never had a chance to heal.

3. Then, it’s likely his fear of reinjuring the hamstring lead to him becoming quad dominant (trying to push the leg back, rather than pull from the hamstrings and glutes as it should). This over worked the quad and resulted in a strain.

4. This fall, it seems the problem is in his hip and is consistent with his previous injuries as the issues move up the kinetic chain.

This is why it’s so difficult to break from the injury cycle. I am sure Hall has some of the best therapists in the world treating his injuries. But, the body is a connected chain and will always compensate (often times unknowingly) when we have pain or weakness in a specific area. This results is a never-ending cycle.

RELATED: Hall Withdraws From Boston

How You Can Learn From This
First, I think it’s important that you don’t set goal races after being injured.

I believe one of Hall’s mistakes is signing up for the next marathon before he’s even healthy. I work with too many runners who, after an injury, “need a goal race to stay motivated.” I understand the mental component to this, but what inevitably happens is they stop listening to their body and instead push towards that upcoming race. Maybe the best thing for their body is to back off a speed session or skip a few long runs, but because the race is coming up, they stubbornly force the training.

Remember, everything in the kinetic chain is connected.

After an injury, even when you’re fully healthy, your body and mind are going to try and protect it. As such, other parts of your kinetic chain are going work harder to compensate and this may lead to another injury. It’s even more important that after an injury you work on improving your form, lack of mobility, and strength of your entire kinetic chain.

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