Chattanooga streets were recently full of some of the most talented cyclists across the country. They tackled a grueling route to compete in the USA Cycling Championship.
From cycling to running, while most of us can't related to the workout routine of Olympic hopeful Korbin Smith or professional cyclists, anyone who takes part in an endurance sport can relate to their frustration.
Taylor Phinney was a favorite to with the road race, but his first trip down lookout mountain landed Phinney in the hospital.
Korbin recently had a serious stress fracture in his foot, and fixing it with a traditional operation might have sidelined him for months. Karin Smith says "you can go about it aggressively off the get go. You can have surgery immediately, but not everyone wants to have a permanent pin or a plate in their foot."
Knowing he need to heal, but also needed to continue exercising Korbin went to Dr. Timothy Miller, a sports medicine expert at Ohio State's Wexner Medical Center. He's one of the first in the nation to specialize in what's known as endurance medicine.
Dr. Timothy Miller says "there are more runners and endurance athletes out there than any other recreational sport. And because of that we see very specific kinds of injuries that are, for the most part, just related to them.
They are mostly injuries from overuse, like sprains and stress fractures. So in an effort to help athletes healthy, and stay in shape, Dr. Miller helped pioneer new approaches to therapy.
Korbin for example, kept running, only he did it underwater. That helped maintain his endurance, while protecting his foot. Others cross train on bikes or by swimming. And many are evaluated with high tech computer analysis. Doctors can pinpoint an athletes movement during exercise and correct any issues that might be causing injuries.
Dr. Miller says "I think what makes us special in general is that we not only focus on the treatment of the actual injury, we also focus on education of the athlete and help them prevent the injury down the road."
And in Korbin's case, make sure he never misses a step in his training.
Korbin says "having that support staff is something I think is kind of the future of endurance training."
Besides physical injuries, doctors say endurance athletes can also suffer from depression when they're injured, so a growing number of facilities now offer counseling as part of their sports endurance program as well.