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.