One word to describe the past two weeks: FRUSTRATION.
It’s no secret that half-marathon training programs are intensive and demanding, and injuries come with the territory – but it’s important to take steps to manage injuries early and be proactive to prevent re-injury.
The morning after a tough tempo run, I woke up with an extremely sore right hip and a limp. I could barely put any weight on my right leg, and stairs presented a serious challenge. I did everything I could to ease the pain and discomfort: ice, massage, and stretching – but the pain stuck with me. I took my half-marathon clinic group out that night, and what was supposed to be an “easy” 4km run turned out to be extremely difficult.
I pushed through a few more workouts the following week but I had to cut a couple of long runs short. I was dragging behind on my tempo runs, and I found it harder than ever to power my way through hill workouts. After the first few weeks of my training I was feeling great, but these poor quality workouts just felt like taking a big step backwards. I was struggling so much that I even had a total meltdown in front of my running partner. Thank goodness for his patience and support. He knew that was a day to take the subway back home.
The injury wasn’t getting any worse, but it definitely wasn’t getting better either, and it certainly wasn’t going to go away on its own. I had a suspicion it was my hip flexor strain; I strained my left hip flexor just a few months ago and it healed after one chiropractic treatment and lots of rest (read: a few weeks of no running). But this time I knew that taking time off running was NOT an option.
I finally sucked it up and went to see Dr. Shaun Battie at Urban Athlete. I’ve gotten to know Shaun over the past few months after I brought him in to speak to my running clinics. I respected Shaun’s approach and views on injury prevention and management, so I trusted him to treat me. As I suspected, he diagnosed me with a hip-flexor strain, and weak TFL (tensor fasciae latae) and gluteus minimus muscles.
He scolded me when he found out I wasn’t doing any lower extremity strengthening exercises. I, of all people, should know better. After all, I spent the past decade researching the prevention of musculoskeletal injuries. Sean’s treatment plan includes three very simple strengthening exercises for my glutes I needed perform everyday, active release therapy, and medical acupuncture. After a few treatments with Shaun, and diligently performing my exercises, I’m finally recovering.
It’s important to remember that there will be tough days in any training program and I’m grateful that I have a lot of wonderful friends around me to help me overcome setbacks. With this injury almost healed, I am looking forward to getting back on my training schedule!
Brenda Santos has a doctoral degree in occupational biomechanics, has published work in scientific journals related to ergonomics, work-related musculoskeletal injuries, gait and posture, work-disability prevention, has been a coach and instructor for several running clinics, and is training for her first (and second) half marathons this spring