IT, I thought I was done with you.

I am…rebounding from a bummed left IT.

On Saturday after my half marathon, I could feel slight tightness and pain on my left IT. This is the opposite leg of my previous IT injury. I iced, rolled, and repeated all Saturday and took off Sunday. When I ran on Monday, the legs felt fine and I repeated the cycle to be extra cautious. I went out on Tuesday for a 5 mile easy run and some circuit training. About 3.75 miles into my run, I could feel the oh so familiar pressure and uncomfortable pain that the IT band causes when tight. The pain slowly increased until the end of my 5 miler I stopped and realized I should have stopped when I first felt the pain.

After declaring my return to higher mileage, I made the most bomb schedule for the next few weeks. I am still so excited to execute it – more excited than any running plan I’ve set up for myself. My love for running returned when I took away this huge weight and stress of having to hit those paces on the scheduled days when you feel like crap. Running is my stress relief and should not be a cause of stress. I have so many goals for myself, but I just need to set myself up for them and be at a comfortable place with running.

With the twinge in my left IT, I have to realize that it has been 2 months since I’ve had a 40+ week and have to work to get to that point. Going from 3-4 days a week to 5-6 days a week cannot happen overnight and I think my IT being tight is a blessing in disguise not to jump right back up there and put possible other strains on my body that cannot be eased by a rolling and icing routine. Through a gradual re-introduction into running, I’ll feel more prepared for a summer full of those handful of good runs (scattered among less than stellar ones haha). I keep repeating  “Be patient.”

I had another nice easy 5 miler on schedule, but after yesterday, it was a smart move to be okay with not letting that happen and to hope that by using this day to continue the recovery routine, that tomorrow I’ll feel even better out there. I thought I’d look back and present some lessons I’ve known when faced with a hiccup in one’s plan.

  • Planning to succeed. When planning to build back up, introduce slowly. Don’t plan to be ready to do runs 5 days a week at higher mileage when you’ve been doing 3 days a week at lower mileage. It will lead to injury.
  • Listen to your body. If it is telling you to stop, then stop. Running to “make it go away” won’t solve the problem.
  • Be proactive. For a month I sat on my behind and complained about not being able to do something. Instead, I should have started looking up options for recovery and what works.
  • Compliments. Find something that can compliment that activity, and even help you recover. Yoga and circuit training are what I have been turning to in the meantime while I build back up. Increasing strength and flexibility can help in recovery and prevention of injury, especially to the hips 🙂
  • Know where you are running. (Specific to IT) Areas of slanted roads or continual up and down of driveways can put stress on one hip and cause pain to return. If I know I am running on a road that may be slanted, I try to run where it is even and that is usually in the middle of the path, or I hop onto the street to avoid the driveways or uneven sidewalk. Every little bit helps and yesterday I forgot about that as I was in residential area.

For those who had faced an injury that set them back, what advice can you offer?

Cue: Inhale. Patience. Exhale…(Repeat.)

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7 Responses to IT, I thought I was done with you.

  1. Great tips! I spent all of last summer not running because I suffered with IT pain, patella femoral pain, etc etc…you name it, I felt it. Ultimately what it came down to was overuse. Since then I’ve recovered (knock on wood) and have discovered that running 3 days a week is what my body can handle best. I’ve since become a better and faster runner actually,mostly because I get adequate running rest and have strengthened other key muscles through cross training and strength training. Huh…who would’ve thought all those experts were right? 🙂 I’m not saying you can’t run 5-6 days a week…obviously many people can and do. But I tell you my story to encourage you and hopefully show you another option. I spent many days crying last summer because I thought I’d never run again. So happy that’s not the case!

  2. Thanks, Natalie! Mine came with the expensive of under training for that race. Over the last few months I was mindful of that fact as I recovered from the right IT by gradually building up and incorporating the cross training and strengthening. May was a flop though. I am excited to be even more mindful of adding other exercises besides running into my training plan.

  3. Ugh, sorry to hear that! I think you have the right idea about maybe getting race-happy (I understand completely, I love races) and needing to gradually build up the mileage again. But otherwise, my advice is strengthen, strengthen, strengthen! And even if you have to take extended time off (it sounds like you’re catching it early though), everything you have done so far is in the bank that will make it easier to surpass your performances the next time you are healthy.

  4. BostonRunner says:

    Great tips! The biggest thing when returning from injury for me, is to make sure I listen to my body and don’t rush into anything. I tend to be so excited that I am able to run again and assume that I can jump back into it and be right where I started when I stopped, and fail to realize that I’m going to have to build myself up again. I think you just have to be patient with yourself and stay positive.
    Good luck!

  5. Hi Kerry, You do love your running don’t you? I have noticed this fanatacism with a lot of “new” runners. They can’t stop themselves from running.

    As you know I’ve been running forever (since 1969) and I love it! However, balancing injuries with that runner’s high made me think about which meant more to me – a lifetime of running or a few years of racing/training bliss.

    Thinking that way I started walking every other day which, in the beginning felt really stupid when I could be running. But now, uninjured and doing both walking and running gives me most of what I need and I remain uninjured!

    Being able to get out every day and move provides mental solace that can’t be denied. I NEED my time moving! By limiting the races I train for and loving the workouts when I run and loving that I can still move EVERY DAY, I think I have the best of it all!

    Food for thought. I love my running…

  6. Pingback: Running on faith: A play on words | Running on Faith

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