3650 Miles in the Hurtlocker


Process of elimination (Read 223 times)

    Anyone have a good system for eliminating variables related to injury?  Specifically, I've been dealing with hamstring/IT-Band/Hipflexor issues off and on for the last two years.  I've changed a lot of things from specific stretches/strengthening, shoes (support to neutral), mileage, speed training, etc. but still have not really found a way to permanently eliminate any of these injuries.  I'm not talking about curing the symptoms but getting to the root cause of the issue.


    Sure, each of these has gone away for a while as a result of one change or another, but as I look back over the last two years, I'd say that less than 25% of my running has been completely pain free.  It is mostly tolerable, but it is getting to the point where the idea of running pain free is becoming a novelty.  I feel like at this point I can do all the stretching/strengthening I want but something else is going on, just not sure how to figure out what it is.

    Prince of Fatness

      Anyone have a good system for eliminating variables related to injury?  Specifically, I've been dealing with hamstring/IT-Band/Hipflexor issues off and on for the last two years.


      When I read this I chuckled because I could have written it.  I have been dealing with similar crap for close to three years now.  Tried a bunch of things, some helping more than others, but never got to the root cause.


      A few months ago I came to the conclusion that my problems are chronic in nature.  Misalignment, muscle imbalance type of stuff.  I think that working a desk job, sitting all day, for 25+ years has had a cumulative effect.  I may be wrong in my diagnosis, but it is really the only explanation that makes sense.


      I don't have a lot of pain running.  Stiffness, etc., yes, but that seems to get better as I warm up.


      My main problem is that the last few times that I have ramped up the mileage my right leg would go numb during sustained hard efforts.  I also get tingling sensations at times.


      What has helped me?


      • Core work.  Strengthening exercises.
      • Frequent walk breaks at work.
      • I see a sports chiro who does adjustments and also ART.
      • Massage.  Foam roller and lacrosse ball.
      • Varying paces while running.
      • Losing weight, which I suck at right now.

      What does not help me?


      • Sitting.
      • Stretching.  I will do some dynamic stretching on occasion, especially before a hard effort, but that's it.  When my hamstrings are tender stretching always makes them worse, and strengthening exercises always make them better.  That's counter intuitive to me and it took me a while to figure out.
      • Varying pacing.  I got stuck in the mindset of mileage, mileage, mileage.  Ended up running too much of it slow.
      • Did I mention sitting?

      Going forward I am going to focus more on variety in pacing and not skipping core work, sacrificing a few more miles.  For one thing, I am going to be 50 next year and I am no longer mentally prepared to make a long investment like building a base over say a year only to get fucked and break down.  That happened early this year and I am done with it.


      That's all I can think of for now.  I feel your pain, dude.  I'm in the same boat.  If you need me to clarify any of this let me know.  If I think of anything else that I think will help you I will post it here.


      Good luck!


      Feeling the growl again

        Anyone have a good system for eliminating variables related to injury?  


        Yup.  Stop getting older at age 29.  Problem solved.  Big grin


        Like Finn, this resonates with me, as you are likely aware of from last weekend.  Not so many years ago I bragged that I had NEVER lost a day to injury.  It really felt refreshing to go out and run.  Now the past 3-4 years, it has been one thing after another and increasing with time.


        Finn pretty much lasted the same cause/solutions I would type so I won't repeat them.  Core work, core work, core work.  I started plank exercises last night and I was very, very humbled at how weak my lower back has become recently and no longer surprised at the issues I had during the 50.  I also try to minimize sitting, although our request for one of the walking workstations at the office was shot down yesterday.  Sad   So I try to minimize sitting in other ways.

        "If you want to be a bad a$s, then do what a bad a$s does.  There's your pep talk for today.  Go Run." -- Slo_Hand


        I am spaniel - Crusher of Treadmills



          Finn pretty much listed the same cause/solutions I would type so I won't repeat them.  Core work, core work, core work. 


          +1  Core, hips and glutes are a big component.  As you noted, you have probably had multiple issues going on.  When you correct for one, weakness in another area shows itself.  I usually relate IT band issues to the hip flexor/glutes.  Hamstrings are such a big muscle that a any kind of tear or damage could linger for a long time.  I have a fellow runner friend that has suffered from a chronic hamstring pull/strain for the last two years now.  He was a 1:12 HM runner and building towards a good marathon showing before his hamstring said NO.  He just hasn't been able to get back to the volume, let alone the intensity, since.


          I'm also a big believer that too much sitting is causing problems too.  We're not getting any younger and recovery time is only taking longer.

            I worked with a personal trainer to relieve lower back pain, and it had the extra benefit of helping my hips and legs feel better.  If you search my log in 2012 for "PT" activity, subtype "Precision", you'll see the sorts of exercises and sets I did.  (And I need to get back on that horse.)


            One other thing to look at is Q-angle.  When I had a treadmill video thing done at a running clinic, I was described as a "balance beam runner" -- I tended to put my feet down on a more or less single track.  That increases your hip angle and applies extra stress to the hip flexors and ITB.  One solution is to occasionally practice running down a line (e.g. road or track lane marker) and imagine a small axle between your knees, such that your feet run along two close "railroad tracks".


            No matter what: good luck, and I hope things improve.

            "I want you to pray as if everything depends on it, but I want you to prepare yourself as if everything depends on you."

            -- Dick LeBeau

            Prince of Fatness

              I've been thinking about this more and from reading comments from others it appears that a strong core is a recurring theme here.


              Along those lines there is another thing that I will mention.  Balance.  How is your balance?  Mine is terrible, especially on the side that goes numb.  Another indication that I should not neglect core work.  Weak hips, glutes.


              Anyway these are the exercises that I do 3x a week...


              Bridges on exercise ball 3x
              Crabs with exercise band 3x
              Hamstring curls on exercise ball 3x
              Overhead lunges (holding a weighted ball over my head while doing lunges) 3x


              This takes me about 20 minutes so not bad.  I am thinking of adding one or two more exercises and going up to a half hour.  That's an hour and a half a week.  If I cannot swing that then I am just plain lazy.  First on the list of things to add are squats, as I think that they would be effective at improving balance.  Maybe also some pushups.


              an amazing likeness

                Reading this thread (which, given the title, ironically I read this morning whilst in on the...) and some naval gazing due to the date being the third anniversary of this made me really ponder running hurt or limited by some part not performing well...some random thoughts:


                1. Yes -- core work is critical. Beyond what everyone has offered -- I've found that focusing core on torquing strength and flexibility is critical to overcome power imbalances between one leg and the other's push-off. We all have one leg that does more of the forward push-off force and having core stability to counter that imbalance is critical.


                2. I think Road Camber gets underplayed as a key contributor to ITB issues and other problems.  Managing and evening camber wear & tear doesn't get enough attention.


                3. Upper body strength pays off. I have to work on it to fight my neck and shoulder damage...but running pace and upper body conditioning have some relationship, especially on long runs.  Arm carriage, head position, arm swing, etc -- all are improved with upper body strength. I'm not talking about power lifting...just overall strength conditioning. 


                (If you can get access to one of those Upper Body cycles...they're a heck of a  workout and force you fire all the core and upper muscles.  Great aerobic workout as well.)


                4. We need to pay attention to oncoming problems sooner. You don't tend to realize what you're doing for adjustments that are overloading and transferring problems to another area until the new area starts to complain loudly.  By then you've got two problems -- the original problem area, and the secondary problem created by how you reacted and overloaded somewhere else.


                5. Hamstrings deserve all sorts of strength attention...they are completely overwhelmed by the quads..over matched to a fault. Improving turnover is also the hamstrings best friend.

                I've done my best to live the right way. I get up every morning and go to work each day. (for now)

                  Good stuff, thanks all!  


                  I think mbher hit a big part of my frustration.  I get one issue corrected and another comes up.  Definitely will increase the back focus of the core work, but I do a number of core exercises, plus lunges, reverse lunges, etc.  I just feel like I'm using a shotgun approach and not getting to the root of the problem.   If it is sitting, that will be tough to solve, at least at work.

                  Feeling the growl again

                    The last couple days I have started experimenting with exercises intended to strengthen the lower back.  Ever since the race I have not had the pain that caused me to DNF, but it is constantly fatigued/tight-feeling.  One of them was the "bird dog", ie get on your hands and knees then extend your opposite leg and arm.  What was interesting was that with my left leg back, I could hold that position until I got bored.  But when I switch to my right....the hip/piriformis that has been giving me all the issues...I started trembling almost immediately.


                    Apparently, I must have developed a terrible imbalance.


                    I noticed before the 50-miler that whenever I ran long without bodyglide or otherwise chafed under my arm, it was always only my right arm and kind of further around to the back than I would have expected.  Now after the 50, due to the arm-warmers I was wearing, I have a pretty nasty wound worn in my skin in that spot.  I think it would be interesting to film myself and watch it in slow motion.  I am suspicious that I have gotten stronger on my left side and am torquing around to the right, twisting my right arm further around to the back than it should and resulting in it slapping my side as it comes forward.


                    I'm going to really start focusing on this when I run.

                    "If you want to be a bad a$s, then do what a bad a$s does.  There's your pep talk for today.  Go Run." -- Slo_Hand


                    I am spaniel - Crusher of Treadmills