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A Close Call…

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.

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I asked her to try and look sad with me…

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.

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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!

  1.  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)
  2. 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!
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

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Last Week 

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)

Friday: Rest

Saturday: Rest

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.

 


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IT Band Exercises – What Worked For Me!

Monday: 20 min lats/shoulders, 2m walk with LE

Last week I took it easy with strength training and focused on all running related workouts. Safe to say it’s not as intense of a workout week, but I feel like i’m becoming a stronger, well-rounded runner by taking the time to do all the little things. Plus i needed a down week after building mileage and general fatigue. I get asked often what I did to recover my IT Band and it’s very simple. It’s all in the hips.

I’ve been diligent with doing the Myrtls routine, almost daily or every other day since the end of April. Now that I’m healthier I just do them as often as I can after a workout or at night when i’m foam rolling. It’s just part of the normal routine now 😉 I do #8-11 of the Myrtl routine as a pre-run warm up and I also include 10-20 walking lunges and a set of 10-15 deep squats.

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In addition to the hip exercises, I do one running skills & drills day and one tough leg day which now includes a ton of lateral movements and single-leg movements which strengthen the hips/glutes & work on core stabilization. <—the key to get rid of ITBS is to strengthen!

Some of my favorite exercises include: walking hip abductions (band around ankles, walking sideways), crab walks (walking sideways in a semi-squat position with resistance band), monster walks (walking forward, taking wide steps, semi-lunge position), squats with band around thighs & ankles (not allowing knees to cave inward).

This trail running video also gave me lots of great strength ideas.

The hard part of getting through any injury is not giving up on the rehab exercises. I didn’t see any real improvement with pain or strength until about 6 weeks in. Don’t give up! Even as a personal trainer I almost forgot that you don’t see results until 6-12 weeks into any program, so try not to get discouraged if you attempt these exercises and your pain doesn’t magically disappear. Be diligent, do quality reps over quantity, and trust that in time you will be pain free & a much better runner with happy hips.

And here’s a picture of LE and me after I ran 4 pain free & carefree miles 🙂

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Monday: 15min glutes/hips

Tuesday: 4m easy 9:15/pace, 10 min lower back/glutes

Wednesday: 35 min running drills + skill work

Thursday: 20min core

Friday: 6m easy 8:44/pace (Longest run since MAY 10th!)

Saturday: Rest

Sunday: 4m easy 8:17/pace

Total Miles: 14 running (no walk runs!)

Any one else recovering from an injury? 

Have you tried Myrtls or using a resistance band for hip strength?