There’s a fine line between pushing yourself through to a breakthrough and pushing yourself to a breakdown. Running has been teaching me just how fine of a line that is. Since I started running almost 2 years ago, I’ve gone further and faster than I could have though possible. I’ve also had more sprains and pains than I’ve ever had to deal with. I’ve had to learn to pay closer attention to my body, how it feels when things are good, bad, and ugly. Thankfully, there haven’t been too many ugly moments, but there have been several times when I’ve had to pause and really evaluate the aches and pains I’m feeling from time to time. When I’m good about it, I can nip things in the bud pretty early…be it from stretching a little more, decreasing the mileage or speed, or just taking a rest week.
But other times?
I know we all do it. We think, ‘surely, just one more mile…I’m sure the pain will go away.’ Or perhaps that nagging pain and slight limp you develop after a long run will be eased with a little bit of soaking, some time on the foam roller, and a good night’s right. But sometimes, you’re dead wrong. I say all this to say…if you’re running, whether that’s been for 10 weeks or 10 years, and you notice something feels a little off physically, stop and pay attention. Go to a sports clinic, do some research, go see your physician. But don’t ignore the pain thinking that it will go away…because it won’t. It’ll only get pissed off that you decided to ignore it and it will come back even stronger. And that’s when the suffering REALLY begins.
Case in point, about 3-4 weeks ago I had an awesome speed workout. I really pushed myself and felt pretty good afterwards. After the workout, however, I proceeded to do a few more miles followed up with hill drills and a jog back to the car. *sigh* I get overzealous about running, I know..I know. Later that evening/the next day I felt a slight nagging and had a slight limp. I knew I did too much, so I just rested a little bit. Not a big deal, right? Well, the pain hasn’t really gone away, it’s just gotten more annoying. I’m planning to go to a sports clinic at my local running store this week to get a prelim consultation by a sports doctor. I’ve been looking into what might be going on, and my guess is that I’ve done something to my hip flexor.
For those that don’t know, the hip flexor is a combination of various muscles and tendons that work together to basically help you do anything that involves lifting your leg. So naturally, it’s super crucial for running. Problem is, if you’re not spending time strengthening it (like myself, who hardly weight trains anymore) or if you have random unexpected increases in distance or speed workouts (et em..me again…), then you can strain your hip flexor. And this is no bueno. Because it means no real running until you can heal.
Well since I was planning on continuing to go easy on myself this week anyway, the fact that my leg is in some pain is all the more reason to go slow. I’m going to get into some yoga this week, spend some quality time with my foam roller, and try to get some strength training back on the schedule. Being a runner isn’t one dimensional, and there’s a reason for that. Here’s to healthy injury free running for everyone! 😀