Enough With The Heavy

Writing over the weekend, even though it wasn’t much, was sort of emotionally draining for me and sort of heavy reading for you.  All this talk of MS, blech.  We can talk more about that later.  This blog is supposed to be about running too!  Yesterday, I went out for a quick 3.1 miles down to the lake and back.  I really love how close we are to Lake Michigan and that down where we are the sand is clean and it is really pretty.

Next summer I plan on running the beach.  It's a great leg workout.

Next summer I plan on running the beach. It’s a great leg workout.

Yesterday was great running weather except for the wind.  Out wasn’t bad, back it felt like I was running through peanut butter.  That probably wasn’t all the wind’s fault though.  Since the beginning of October I have been having knee pain when I run.  Sometimes it starts right away, sometimes after mile 1 and sometimes after mile 5 or 6 like at the Discovery Run a few weeks ago.  I finally broke down and visited the Aurora Sports Medicine Institute today for an injury evaluation.  The good news is that it is not full on IT Band syndrome.  We are treating it as it is though because of where the pain is.  I think this is all my fault, lately I have been really slacking on my warm ups and cool downs.  So take that as the first lesson from this blog, warm up and cool down.  No slacking!

If you are a new runner, you might be asking yourself what the heck is the IT band?  The IT band has a fancy name that I am not even going to try to spell.  Simply put it is a thick band of fascia (connective tissue).  It runs from the outside of the pelvis, over the hip and knee, and connects just below the knee. We use this band to stabilize the knee when running, and it moves from behind the femur to the front of the femur during activity. From what I understand there is also a little knob or something that it passes over.  The continual rubbing of the band over this knob when we run is what causes the problem.  The pain can last even after the run. To prevent this from happening there are a couple things that you can do (that I clearly slacked on).  Before you run you need a good active warm up and after your run you need a good static cool down.  To help prevent IT Band problems strengthen your hips and make friends with your foam roller.  Below are links for specific IT Band stretches, strengthening exercises for the hips and active warm ups.  Even though the experts say to save the static stretches for after your run I seem to have the best results with a combination of active and static warm up, it’s all about what works for your body.   If you find out that you feel the best with a combination of static and active stretches pre run remember to go easy on the static stretches.

IT Band Stretches (with pics!)

How To Roll and Stretch Your IT Band I am a huge fan of Pigeon pose!

Exercises to Strengthen Hips

Active Warm Up  In the 5k group I am a mentor for we also do forward arm circles, backward arm circles, butt kicks and high knees.  We do each move at a slow run for a short distance to get all of the blood flowing.

I have a big day tomorrow so I am off to get some sleep!  Until tomorrow!

 

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