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  • MeggieBATC

That's Just How the Ankle Rolls

If you’ve followed any of my socials over the last 3 days, you know how the first race of the Spartan US National Series went for me.



For those who may not know, here’s the brief synopsis:

  • Half a mile in, I rolled my left ankle. I felt a pop and a tear. I hobbled along and eventually the ankle was feeling decent enough to try to jog.

  • Just before 3 miles in, I rolled it again. I knew then and there that I was not going to do anything special in the race

  • I finished the course in 8th place in the 30-34 age group.

If there is one thing I’ve learned throughout my racing career, it's that every experience is a lesson. I am not here to make excuses and I will not throw myself a pity party. Was I happy with my results? No. But this race was a stark reminder to what I’ve long known.


Nobody is immune to ankle injuries.

The ankle is the most common injury amongst obstacle course racers. If you are reading these words, you have most likely, at one point or another, rolled an ankle while running along a rocky trail, tripping over a fallen branch, or dismounting from an obstacle. The truth of the matter is that nobody is safe.


Picture on the Left - Day of Injury; Picture on the Right - 4 Days Post-Injury

Most people don’t know this about me, but my athletic training career was formed off of my horrendously bad ankles. I first broke my right ankle when I was 13, and I’ve been chronically spraining both, multiple times a year ever since. But this weekend’s sprain was different. Yes, the mechanism of injury was the same, and yes my attitude towards the injury was the same, but this ankle sprain was much more severe.


Before I move further, I do not condone my actions in continuing on with this race. I am a trained Certified Athletic Trainer and I know my body. I ruled out signs of a fracture immediately and I listened to my body throughout the entire course. I probably should have ended my race, but I know my body’s limits and I was able to continue on. If you ever suspect injury and you are not familiar with the pain/ sensation, please seek medical attention.



Flash forward to now, 3 days later, as I sit here writing this.


Yoga is an essential part of The OCR Trainer's Injury Prevention Training

My ankle is not back to normal. But it is back to its normal size and my range of motion is within normal limits. Pain is a casual 2/10 and that’s mostly due to fatigue from full days of working on my feet as a Personal Trainer. There is slight discoloration, but balance and strength are returning rapidly.

Now again, I’m not looking for sympathy and I’m not making an excuse for my race results. My takeaway from this experience is the value in my ankle stability training.


Injury prevention needs to be the basis of OCR training.

Leg day during OCR training needs to be more focused around single leg stability training rather than lower body strength development. Back squats are great, but single leg reaches, pistol squats, and single leg plyometrics are more valuable of exercises for obstacle course racers. Your body requires the stresses of eccentric strengths as well as power and explosive stability. The truth of the matter is this: while running is very much a single plane exercise, your body needs the benefits of multi-planar stability to be able to recover from the unforeseen stresses of the race course.


To build power and quickness in running, you must work both strength and explosiveness in the weight room. Running is a fast-twitch activity and your gait needs to be trained as such. Try these quick injury prevention exercises {barefoot, if possible} to help strengthen your ankles.

Also, make sure you’re incorporating speed, agility, and quickness exercises into your weekly training regiment. Everything from sprints, agility ladders, cutting and direction changes will all add to your ankle’s ability to recover.


While there is no magical exercise to keep you injury-free, the more high-impact stability exercises you add into your training, the more your body will be able to recover to maintain the healthiest season possible. We will never be able to prevent ankle rolls and sprains, but we can do our part in strengthening the muscles to maintain our stability for season-long longevity.