Hi! It’s 26 days until the LA Marathon and 55 days until the Boston Marathon. That is so soon. It makes me nervous to think about how fast they are coming up!! But, I have to keep myself on track and doing a little countdown helps me remember I need to train and sleep and eat and breathe and drink like I’m training for a bunch of upcoming races.
Not staying on track with training, rest and proper nutrition can contribute to injuries. Boo. So, while I like to just ‘play it by ear’ with my running I’m really trying to stick to the training plan I put together.
I got IT Band Syndrome about six years ago after I ran the Disneyworld Marathon. The injury came knocking on my door in the form of knee pain after the race. In the weeks following the marathon I started to get knee pain that stopped me in my tracks about a mile or two into my run.
I got an MRI, saw my doctor and eventually was referred to a physical therapist.
The PT said I could NOT RUN for 6 weeks.
That was devastating. I actually cried. The pain of not being able to run was worse than my knee pain!
For six weeks I iced my knee, had it taped, took classes at the gym instead of running, saw a physical therapist and let myself fall into a cave of sadness that only running could get me out of.
Why did I get injured?
Well, there isn’t one easy way to tell… my PT said it was probably a combination of not being fully ready to run 26.2 miles and my IT band being too tight. Plus there were some muscle imbalances to work on that might have contributed.
Once I was cleared to run I had to slowly build back up. It was a little discouraging to see how much fitness I had lost in just about 7 weeks.
But, I love running and wanted to get back to it – so I did the work.
I also learned a lot from that experience.
My running injury taught me:
Stretching and Strength Training are important for marathon and half marathon training.
Rest days are vital for avoiding running injuries. Your body needs time to rest and recover.
Running a full marathon is not just a random, cute little hobby. If you are doing athletic things with your body – treat it like an athlete.
Not running sucks.
Don’t take out your sadness and frustration from not running on the people around you. Find something else to do that makes ya happy for a while.
There are other forms of exercise besides running that are fun. I took up kickboxing and spinning for a while.
Your body is amazing and can carry you for 26 miles, get hurt and come back from all of that to run again. It takes a lot to run that much. It takes a lot to rebuild injured muscles and bones and sad hearts – but you can do it.
It was very sad to be benched from running – but that shouldn’t have been the focus. There was so much leading up to that running injury that my body did = hundreds of miles of running in heat, snow, rain, humidity… I was thankful for all the good stuff and that helped keep me hopeful.
When I remember that I was not able to run for 7 weeks – but had been running for 100 weeks before that – that helps keep it in perspective.
And coming back from IT Band Syndrome made me a lot more aware of important things that help prevent running injuries.
If you have IT Band Syndrome see a doctor to make sure that’s the right diagnosis and see if you can get a referral to a physical therapist.
IT Band Syndrome Treatment Tips:
1. Stop running. Running on an injury never helps it get better faster.
2. RICE – Rest, Ice , Compression, Elevation.
In this case compression might work in the form of taping it.
Tip: KT Tape is the #1 go-to on this and they have videos and instructions online on how to apply the tape.
3. Stretch and self massage.
Do gentle IT Band and hip stretches to help alleviate some of the pulling on your knee. DON’T do any moves that make it hurt. Irritating an already inflamed area isn’t going to help the pain or swelling go away.
Consider foam rolling for a few minutes at a time and gradually build up.
4. Focus on recovery as much as possible. This includes – extra curricular activities, rest, nutrition and more.
Wear supportive comfortable shoes – even when you’re not running. You might want to skip the flip-flops and heels for a while.
If KT Tape or a knee brace is helping – wear it as needed (not just while working out).
Get enough rest. This includes sleep and just rest from over-exercising in general. Give your body time to heal.
Make nutrition a priority. Eat enough protein, carbs and healthy fats. Eat your fruits and veggies. Treat your body well.
Thank you for sharing this. I had the similar injury from over doing it with running and went through 6 weeks of physical therapy. I have been having a hard time getting back into running, as I was making great progress to my 10K goal and now having to start over. I have been depressed and mad at the world. Thank you for teaching me that I need to listen to my body! I know I can recover and will start a new routine next week and hopefully be back and running this summer.
Thank you for sharing your experience. I had stress fractures in both shins and haven’t ran for about 6 months now :/ It’s been hard, but I joined a gym and began doing strength training. I’m hopeful that with this new doctor and a new physical therapist who will listen to me will help get me back into running.
Kassie Strout says
55 days until Boston?? Gah! Hoping to run it to finish this year- even that will be a huge accomplishment even if it’s a PR for slowest race 🙂
I ran last year’s Boston with a torn patellar tendon- the tendon right below your kneecap (although I have had to be careful with that particular knee in the past with marathon running and ITB issues). This past October I opted for a PRP shot instead of surgery (was determined that it had degenerated too far to heal without intervention :(). No running for 8 weeks, and after I was allowed to try 3 miles at a time for a couple weeks. We assumed I’d be back at regular mileage in time to begin Boston training.
Of course, life is funny and in late November as I was humbly building myself back up (I’d gone from 8-8:30 minute miles training to struggling to stay around 9, and from 60-70 mile weeks to 20-30), I found out I was pregnant 🙂
I can still run and have the okay to continue training for Boston (for now), but it has been very interesting to document the different changes happening (back pain, weird posture, wanting to eat everything all the time <—actually that one isn't new). Fingers crossed that I can keep running until August- even if I lose Boston! But you're right- nutrition, treating your body well and listening to what it's telling you are all so important!
Great post! I hate being sideline by injury or sickness!!
Nathaly @NathyCure says
I haven’t had a running/sports injury yet. I do everything I can everyday to avoid injuries, even if that means skipping runs because I feel my muscles extremely fatigued.
I know that I might get one anyways at some point. But the most I can do to avoid them, them more I will take care of myself and avoid them.
Sally @ sweat out the small stuff says
I’ve had ankle tendinitis a few times as a result of some ankle sprains.
I also had knee pain due to scar tissue on my quad from years of running without doing all the foam rolling and stretching I should have. I had the Graston technique and Active Release Therapy which healed me. (Along with being diligent about rolling and stretching). I’m currently dealing with high hamstring issues and rest and only running on flat ground is helping along with foam rolling and tons of glute and hip strength work.
I used to have the worst IT tightness that also caused some serious knee pain! Foam rolling helps me a ton. Whenever I feel an injury coming on and don’t want to rest, I always think about how it’s better to rest early than rest once it’s too late and the damage is already done 🙂
Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog says
I feel so ignorant not knowing about this syndrome, but in my defence I’m a beginner runner, so! I’m glad you recovered though, and the most important thing is you learned from the injury!
Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog
I hear ya! I had chronic IT band issues and finally have learned enough to stay on top of it! After battling on and off for years I stumbled across the R8 roller at the RnR marathon expo in Vegas. Game changer. I use it every night and for twice as long when my now hyper sensitive self “thinks” I feel a twinge. It is the only thing that worked for me – physio, rest, ART, electroshock, cortisone (I was so desperate ) acupuncture – you name it I tried… the R8 looks like a crazy invention made with rollerblade wheels but I swear it saved my legs (and sanity!)
Thank you for this. I’m currently on week two of no running due to a hip injury and seriously feel so lost and sad. This makes me so hopeful!
Krista @ Gringita says
After my first marathon I was had an irritated/swollen knee thing (haha! Can’t remember what its called!). I didn’t get to really run for maybe three months after! I think I went too hard in my last training long-run before the actual race, so come 26.2 I was still tired from that 21 miler that I totally killed! Anyways, I definitely learned that running is not that important in life (sorry everyone). Yes, it helps and its awesome when it works for you, but not running for a few months didn’t kill me. Also since then I haven’t taken running so seriously and haven’t even been close to an injury.
Hi Monica! Long time reader here, but first time commenting. I just had to jump in on this! I’ve had chronic high hamstring tendinopathy for almost 6 years. ::breathes:: I talked myself out of it over and over for about 5 years until my last half-marathon training cycle brought me numb toes and loads of discomfort sitting for even 15 minutes. Eek! Over a year of PT + a back spasm, piriformis syndrome, and SI joint syndrome, and I’m still not back running. The first 6 months off were the worst. I swear my PT doubles as my therapist. (And bless him, his ability to deal with my tears, and his relentless spirit.) It’s been really rough! When I’m feeling my worst, he always reminds me that my goal is to be active and running my entire life, and so a year isn’t really that long in the scheme of things. Hoping to be doing some short/slow runs by spring. I bike a lot now, strength train like it’s my job, and enjoy the good days when I can. Moral of the story—don’t ignore an injury! Chronic ones take way longer to treat. Sending healing vibes to everyone struggling with an injury. More than happy to commiserate if anyone needs it!
Sally @ sweat out the small stuff says
Chelsey! You are a trooper. I have been battling this hamstring thing too. Mine is not as severe thank god. It got bad in November when I took a road trip and had to sit for so long. I’m back to running but only on flat surfaces with a day or two in between to recover. Strength work seems to help me the most. Hang in there!!
Oh Sally, you have no idea how nice it is just to know I’m not alone! I’m fighting the good fight, promise! I have a great PT and a serious stubborn streak, so I’ll be back out there. The plus side is that I’m going to be superwoman by the time I get back on the road! All power from all of this strength training. I hope things keep going in the right direction for you too! Hamstrings are tough! We got this!
I am currently on week 4 of 6 weeks total non-weight bearing due to microfracture surgery on my left knee. I can’t even tell you how much I miss running!! Well, and all exercise actually, since I can’t even walk without crutches right now. I’ve been running consistently for about 20 years, so this has been a hard season for me. I am looking forward to rebuilding my strength and adding running back to my routine in the coming months!!