It is with great trepidation that I write this post today. If I tell you my hips are sore but I’ve had no problems with my knees, those knees will lock up in pain before bedtime. August is a common time of the year for a fall marathoner to experience a few aches and pains. I am no exception.
If you run 50+ miles every week of the year, perhaps you are exempt from these problems…or maybe you have different issues altogether. Peak mileage varies throughout the year for me and it is not uncommon for my body to adjust to the ramp-up with the same issues year in and year out.
In Hal Higdon’s book, Marathon, The Ultimate Training Guide, he talks about one of the bulletin boards on his website that runners use to ask questions. He says, “Traffic remains relatively light to Body Shop for much of the year, but August brings with it an explosion of calls for help.”
In this book, he devotes an entire chapter as a review of the various runners who write to him with August injuries. We don’t need a forum of runners – a recap of my ailments will fill the post.
IT BAND SYNDROME
The Problem: Several weeks ago, desperate for a change of scenery, I decided to run down the mountain from my house…..and back up again. The back up again was, of course, the problem. I knew this hill would be too long, too tough but decided I could take it slow and be ok. My IT bands were screaming by the end of the day.
Solution: Not everyone agrees on the correct remedy for ITBS and I didn’t pay the $19.95 one author wanted to charge for his secret cure. From what I read (for free), he and I agreed that stretching does no good. It may eliminate some of the discomfort down the side of your leg, but does little to actually resolve the issue.
This band of fascia can be as tight as a guitar string when aggravated. The best remedy I’ve found is to get it loosened and relaxed: massage. I alternate a firm, jiggling motion on top of the band with long, sweeping motions that relax and move the energy down the leg.
Sometimes I do this while I’m driving and keep at it until the IT band has relaxed. This time it quieted down within just a few days. If the pain goes down the leg and across the knee cap, say good night Irene. Rest is the only solution.
The Problem: During the research I did for the post I wrote on Morton’s Toe, I discovered this toe may be responsible for many ailments, including tenderness of the Achilles Tendon. Recently, I have suffered with this tenderness around my left Achilles – worst at the start of a run and better after it has loosened up.
The Solution: Several years ago a therapist suggested I do gentle stretches of the tendon for minutes at a time as opposed to the 30 seconds of a typical stretch. Stretching the Achilles too much can make it inflamed but this long, gentle stretch seems to do the trick.
If the pain creeps down the outer bottom edge of the heel, stand on the outside edges of the feet. Some doctors suggest that you should walk on the outsides of your feet from time to time anyway.
A pain on the top of the foot always scares the life out of me – as does a pain through the arch, which reads plantar fasciitis. Massage and stretch your arch once or twice a day and pick things up with your toes; a towel or a wadded up piece of paper.
It was not uncommon for me to sit on the couch after a long Sunday run rummaging through my running books and every website I could find to diagnose what ailed me.
Over the years, I have learned where my body breaks down and how to clear up these issues before they become more serious.
Your injuries might be different: strained hamstrings, knee pain, back pain, sore hips or shin splints.
Catch them early and avoid the dreaded four letter word: REST.