An ‘Aha’ Moment

About a month ago I wrote about a pain in, what I thought was, my hamstring. It started out as a nagging of sorts and in true fashion…I ignored it and kept running. Until the day came where I literally couldn’t ignore it any further as it evolved from a nagging pain to a stabbing god awful one while I was just beginning a run.

I took time away from running and pretty much all physical activity in hope of giving my body rest. Yet, this nagging pain still lingered on. It was with me throughout most of the day for a few weeks, but seemed to be most noticeable when I woke up out of bed. Thinking that perhaps it was some kind of severe stiffness, I took to stretching a little and trying to find the right stretches that would alleviate some of the agitation. Then, in my usual stubborn fashion, I got fed up of being inactive and signed up for a race…a 15k no less.

*rolls eyes*

Now mind you, this was after being away from running for almost a month, so my legs felt fine. They felt the way I’d expect them to after being away for so long and coming back to run such a long distance. Since I’ve been back running, I’ve paid careful attention to my leg and have made sure to stretch properly before and after each run and to take walk breaks when necessary. After mentioning the pain I’d been feeling to a few friends (one’s a runner and the other a masseuse) they shed some light…it wasn’t my hamstring…it was my ITB (Iliotibial Band) that was the culprit of my pain.

I did some research on the matter, and as it turns out, one can injure your ITB in a variety of ways…uneven running surfaces, favoring one side of the body versus another, wearing worn out shoes, running downhill excessively…and the list goes on. But me? My cause it seems was plain and simple…

Overuse.

In looking at my mileage for the month of October (I noticed the pain in late Oct – early Nov), it looked something like this:

Week 1 – 8 mi (not bad, a light week)

Week 2 – 13.5 mi (closer to my usual mileage)

Week 3 – 12.9 mi (again, still not bad)

Week 4 – 21.7 mi (WHOA…wth was I THINKING?!?!)

That was a HUGE jump in mileage from weeks 3 to 4…and it was SO very abrupt when you look at how my mileage increased or decreased between the other weeks in the month. No wonder why my ITB started acting up…I did way too much without easing myself back up to that level. Granted, I’d been doing 20 mile weeks for a few months at that point, but I think what may have  really done it for me was my complete lack of regard for the transition from shorter mileage weeks to longer mileage weeks.

*sigh*

Well the good news is that I’m getting better. The pain is still there, but I’ve learned that with proper stretching and a nice warm up, it goes away. I’ve learned my lesson on mileage and as I continue to train for the MCM Marathon I will pay much closer attention to how I feel when I run and the mileage I’m covering from week to week.

For those of you who are interested in learning more about ITBS, please check out the following links:

Iliotibial Band Syndrome

What is Iliotibial Band Syndrome?

Stretching & Strengthening Your ITB

Exercises for IBTS

Tips on Increasing Mileage Without Injury

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