It is hard to believe that only two weeks ago I ran a half-marathon. Everything went as good as it could have, including no injuries or hurting whatsoever. I was elated. I finally knew what a runner’s high felt like, not only could I not wait to run again, I couldn’t wait to do another marathon.
Here we are only two weeks later and I can’t even make it 2.5 miles without pain in my knee, hip, and groin area in my left leg.
Coming out of the marathon, I knew that I was going to take a week off and just rest. So my first run was last Tuesday. It was a short run, a little over two miles, and besides a side stitch about half-way through it seemed to be an okay run. However, later that day and the next morning I was noticing that my knee was feeling a little weird. I just attributed it to the fact that it was my first run after the marathon, and after a week of little to no activity.
The following day I decided to go for another run. It started out great, in fact I ran the entire distance without walking (this is only the second time I have done this!), but had to stop after 2.34 miles because I was in pain. It wasn’t just my knee, but my hip as well. It was the most painful thing I have experienced since I have started running. It took me nearly 17 minutes to limp half a mile back to the car. Going up and down stairs was unbearable that day. I was doing them sideways just to keep from having to bend my knee. The consensus among my running friends was that it was an IT band issue. I needed to ice it and rest.
So for the next five days I didn’t work out, I iced it, and I rested. This brings us to today. Today was the start of a new half-marathon training plan. What I like about this new plan is that it doesn’t call for running a certain amount of miles each day, but rather for a certain amount of time. Since I also wanted to work on building a better base, I was going to incorporate the walk/run ratios from the Couch to 5k program for the first nine weeks. So the plan for today was to run for 30 minutes (I mistakenly thought it was 36 minutes!). I would be running for 60 seconds, and then walking for 90 seconds. Again, everything started out great. Around 29 minutes I could tell it was time to stop, my knee, hip, and groin area were hurting. I knew there was a chance the problem hadn’t fully healed, but I wouldn’t know until I tried running.
At this point I have two choices, continue to run with a possible injury (hopefully just IT band but don’t know for sure), or stop for two to four weeks with the hopes that it heals. I am beginning to fully understand why injuries can be so defeating and frustrating. In my heart of hearts, I know I need to stop running. I can’t afford to get seriously injured because I don’t have insurance. It’s just a hard pill to swallow. I took a month off back in April, for the same problem with the same leg, so I know I can do it again. Mind over matter, right?
What is most frustrating to me is that I can’t figure out either what I am doing wrong or what I am not doing that I should be doing that is causing this problem. A couple years ago I met with a chiropractor/personal trainer who observed many different movements to determine my alignment and balance. I am pretty sure that my right side was not properly aligned, my balance was worse on my right side, and my overall strength was less on my right side. Maybe this is still an issue and I am somehow overcompensating with my left side, which in turn is causing these problems. I am thinking another visit with him might be in order.
So now I need a new game plan for the next month. It was suggested that I stick to strength training, and low impact cardio. My question is what constitutes low impact cardio? I don’t like the eliptical, so that is out. That leaves me with stationary biking, the stairclimber, and plain old walking. What do you think? Are those low impact? In addition to core work and strength training, this will be the perfect time to try yoga and pilates. As far as the injury goes, my plan is to do daily foam rolling and IT band stretches. If after four weeks of no running, and daily IT band stretches it is not better it will probably be time to see the chiropractor or physical therapist.
Frustrating, very, very frustrating!