Running injuries SUCK. I feel like i’ve been talking about ITBS syndrome since last spring, but I wanted to give a detailed report on what happened to me recently and how I’m handling it this time around. I just hope this might help someone who is dealing with an injury. Just remember, you are NOT alone.
A couple weeks ago on December 5th, i felt an all-too-familiar pain on the outside of my knees. I didn’t want to believe it, but the IT band pain was hinting at a return. Because I’ve already had ITBS, I know what that specific pain feels like and it was easy to make the decision to stop mid-run, go home, address the issue and try to sidestep a repeat injury.
Yes, I did stop 2.5 miles into a long run and turned around even though i wanted, craved and needed a long run. Deciding to do the smart thing and walk home was actually easy. The hard part was trudging that long distance home feeling defeated, frustrated and concerned about what I could have possibly done wrong.
Here are my tips and what I did this time around. I feel like I came really close to an injury again, and playing it smart paid off. Just 10 days after the initial IT band pain and i’m already on the comeback and ran pain free three times this week!
- Stop running & start strengthening I’ve read from multiple sources that you cannot beat IT band pain by just taking time off of running. You have to strength train and get your glutes, hips, hamstrings, and lateral (side to side) movement in gear! (check out these exercises)
- Cross train if no pain Rowing & the stairmill have become my best friends for cardio when I can’t run. And they offer little to no impact on the joints which is crucial for ITBS. Try and stay away from machines that closely imitate running, i.e. the elliptical. And of course, stop if you feel pain!
- Stretch & Foam Roll Check out this video: IT Band Hell This gave me a TON of new ways to stretch and an interesting insight about NOT foam rolling directly on the IT Band.
- Avoid hills and downhill running when you begin your “test runs” Start on the treadmill. Boring yes, but you will thank yourself if you need to bail on a run and don’t have to cry in defeat on your walk back. Plus, on the treadmill you can go with little to no incline and no downhill running which aggravates this injury.
- Be grateful Your body is extremely good at giving signals when something is wrong. Don’t ignore it. Enjoy the time off, sleep in, and change up your exercise routine so you will be 100% happy and healthy for your comeback.
Monday: 5 Rounds: 250m row, 20 thrusters 30#, 45 sec side plank each side + 2.2m walk
Tuesday: 20 min stairmill, 1 mile easy 9:15/pace (no pain!), 1 mile walk
Wednesday: 5 Rounds: 500m row, 10 walkout pushups, 12 hot salsa lunges, 15 hip hikes/each leg + 1 mile walk
Thursday: 3m easy 9:22/pace (no pain)
Sunday: 5m easy 8:50/pace, 10min abs (no pain)
Total Miles: 9
I hope this is helpful–feel free to comment with any advice on how to handle injuries or what to do when you’re down for the count.