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Back Pain (Read 1024 times)

    I just recovered from a nice 6-month shin splint episode. Now I’m starting to get back pain (started May 22) when I run. After taking 6 weeks off (due to the shin splint), I started training May 2 for my second marathon, which will be this October 1st in the Twin Cities Marathon. This week I’m running 8.5 total miles and next week 10. I stretch for at least 10 minutes, before and after each run, and still seem to have lower back pain. I stretch my back using a yoga ball and 3 more stretches, yet it still becomes sore and painful about a half mile into each run. I try stretching it during the run, but it doesn’t seem to help. I am currently 20-25 pounds over weight, which includes a little extra weight in the midsection. (5’11 - 205 lbs. with a bigger build) Any advice?
      Hi, Robian. Perhaps you just started back too intensely? I know an 8.5 mile week seems like nothing when you're looking at a marathon in Oct, but if you jumped to 8.5 too quickly your body may just not have had time to adjust. Added to that a history of recent shin splints, I'd suggest that you've maybe got a small habit of overdoing it just a touch? (Not that anybody ELSE here is guilty of that...) I went ahead and looked at your log since you've made it open. It seems significant to me that your back pain started the second time you did a fartlek, and that your first fartlek was your longest run recorded to date. It also seems like your milage went up SIGNIFICANTLY during May. You effectively doubled it in two weeks. Conservative wisdom says not to increase your total weekly milage by more than 10% in a week - ie, if you've been running 3 miles in a week, your next step up would be 3.3. I think you could get away with 3.5, but your weeks went 3, 4, 3.5, 6, 7.4. You're increasing too fast. Additionally, most experienced runners will, I think, tell you not to try to increase both milage and quality at the same time - do one or the other. That is to say, either increase your milage OR add a fartlek, not both. I understand wanting to get started and run as much as you can as fast as you can, but training for a marathon's much like running for one - you can't start out too fast or you'll just end up hurting! In this case, slower is faster. Give your body a chance to adapt to a couple of 3.5 mile strictly easy weeks, then a couple 4 mile "easy" weeks, etc. Follow the 10% rule as best you can. Build up a solid base of miles before you start adding in any speedwork. (Opinions on quantity needed varies, but I've not heard less than 20 mpw recommended for adding speedwork, and some people say don't add it until you're doing 50 mpw!.) Take it easy and slow. Doing otherwise will sabotage your chances for a successful run in Oct. Maybe check out a Galloway plan for run/walking it this time around? Wishing you all the best. Janell

      Roads were made for journeys...

      Mile Collector


      Abs of Flabs

        Robian, Does your entire back (from the neck down to the tail bone) hurt, or is it only a specific location (topper/middle/lower)? Does your occupation require you to be on your feet for long periods of time? Heavy lifting? Without understanding the cause of the problem, it's hard to recommend an appropriate remedy. I agree with Wingz. This is probably not what you want to hear, but a little caution is waranted here. I looked at your log and you averaged 1-1.5 miles on each run, then the distance jumped to 3+. Your injuries could be caused by increasing your mileage too quickly.
          Robian, Glad to see you are using this site, too. I remember you from running-log.com. Sorry to hear about the lower back pain. Janell (as she seems to with all her posts) offers some great advice. If you're carrying an extra 20 pounds right now, that's gotta play a part in the back pain. If it hurts when you run, maybe you can get your miles in by walking. I know that's hard for runners to do, but, it is a way to keep dropping weight and can only help. For me, knee pain or back pain = time for new shoes. You might want to consider running shoes for heavier runners (Asics Kayano, Brooks Trance, or Mizuno Nirvana). They all cost more than typical running shoes, but, if it helps your back pain... Hope you get some relief. Ken
            Thanks, Ken. Nice to know I have a fan. <g> I've got about 50 extra pounds on me, so I totally understand about the weight being a factor. It puts more stress on the feet, which can put more stress on the legs, which can put more stress on the back... A good pair of shoes will help (I TOTALLY agree!!!), as will losing the weight (I'm working on it!!!), but really gradual progression is SO important. It's easier for us heavy runners to hurt ourselves structurally. But it doesn't HAVE to happen. I used to hurt my knees every time I started running. When I finally took the time needed to gradually work up (which was about a half year) to about 10 miles/wk, instead of just jumping right in and running as much as I could as fast as I could, guess what... no knee pain! And that in spite of being significantly heavier than the last time I started running... Robain, Ken's right. Make sure you have a good pair of shoes. If you're still on the same pair from your last marathon or if they've been hanging around your closet for a couple of years, it's time for a new pair. They make different kinds of shoes for different kinds of feet and needs (over/under pronation, heavy runners, etc) so it does pay to go to a specialty running store and get fitted. (Okay, I've never taken this advice but that's what everyone keeps saying!) Good luck, and keep us posted on how things go, okay? Janell</g>

            Roads were made for journeys...

              First off, thanks everyone for all the advice. The pain itself is strictly in my lower back. As far as shoes go, I bought the “Asics Gel Kayano” 50 miles ago, which took a nice chunk out of my small college student income. After looking at my log, I guess I did jump a bit. I just figured that doubling from 1.5 miles to 3 miles wasn’t a big a deal, compared to 5 to 10 miles for example. I think I’ll take the rest of the week off and start with a solid week of 1.5 mile runs next week, and then gradually, (10% weekly) increase my distance. I figured out that by October 1st, my weekly mileage would be around 25.5 miles, if I start next week at 7.5 miles ( 5 runs x 1.5 miles). It’s still a mile off from the marathon, but I think by that time, an extra .03% increase wont be a big issue. As far as walking for exercise, I live downtown Minneapolis and don’t have a car, so I walk everywhere I go. In a given day, I walk at least 1 mile, usually more. I live 12 blocks from where I work. I have a desk job, but it requires a lot of getting up and walking around. I’m usually never in my chair for more than 15 minutes at any given time. - Robian
                Sounds good. Don't forget you can cross-train to get in extra exercise too. Smile Listen to your body - usually you'll feel little twinges when there's a problem before it becomes a large issue. If you can, catch those twinges and take care of the problem before it becomes a big issue that'll side-line you. Happy running!

                Roads were made for journeys...

                Mile Collector


                Abs of Flabs

                  I'm rescinding my comment...
                    Mile Collector - I disagree. There are a lot of different reasons why people's lower backs hurt. Certainly weak abdominal muscles is a common reason. But without a detailed history and more medical knowledge we in the forum don't have a way to tell what it is that's causing the problem. It could be a disk issue. I had a back problem that didn't go away until I did BACK strengthening exercises. It could be trauma from a car accident. In this setting there's no way we can know and it's best left to his doctor to diagnose the problem. Robain - certainly if you've not been doing ab work it should be something you consider. But please be careful taking medical advice from a running forum. modified to add: you should probably take all running advice with a grain of salt too! Wink No one knows your body better than you do, and all advice - ESPECIALLY free advice from strangers - should be weighed with your own common sense and experience. Good luck to you in your training.

                    Roads were made for journeys...

                    Mile Collector


                    Abs of Flabs

                      Hrm... you're right. I reread his descriptions. It didn't fit. The pain shouldn't intensify during the run unless it's structural...
                        I'm rescinding my comment...
                        Which makes my reply make no sense... <g> </g>

                        Roads were made for journeys...

                        Mile Collector


                        Abs of Flabs

                          I just don't want to leave bad information up. You are still correct :-)
                            I think I’ll take the rest of the week off and start with a solid week of 1.5 mile runs next week, and then gradually, (10% weekly) increase my distance. - Robian
                            Rest and gradual increase. Sounds like a good idea to me. -Ken