I’ve been trying to stay positive about this unwanted IT band surprise. I was doing pretty well early on, through a combination of forced calm (all the deep breathing!) and denial (I’ll totally be fine after a few days off…). However, this Friday came around and the realization that I was almost two weeks in and couldn’t run more than 1 mile without discomfort in my knee hit hard. I spent most of Friday morning feeling like giving up on composure and crying pitifully into my coffee. Luckily I didn’t, since that would have made work a little awkward 😛
Instead, I hopped onto The Google at lunch and looked through a variety of IT band rehab and return-to-running protocols. I found one return-to-running plan that looked particularly helpful. Instead of starting off with steady runs they began with repeated 200m strides with walking recovery. Since I can do a mile without pain I suspect that some of the pain is fatigue related – it’s difficult both mentally and physically to hold my ideal running form longer than a one mile stretch at this point. By breaking that mile into 200m segments I hope to maintain my running mechanics and work on my form without repeatedly aggravating my IT band. I tried this out yesterday (only 800m worth) and felt great, so we’ll see how 8x200m strides feels next time and then build up as allowed prior to adding in steady continuous runs.
I also dug out my summer ’07 training log. This was my summer before freshman year of college and the low/rebuilding point of my first major injury – IT band issues in the same leg as now. I spent 5 weeks in the pool and then returned to running busting out absolutely crazy times. I went from having an 11:37 2-mile track PR to going through faster than that in 5 and 6k cross-country races. How did o accomplish this? Well, in addition to swimming ALL THE LAPS, I also majorly overhauled my running form and started doing strength training.
I don’t know if I’m quite motivated enough to get in the pool (ugh…), but I do want to come out of this injury stronger. I am soooo sick of being injured, and I know that building strength is one thing I can do to try to halt this cycle. I also want to improve my form.
The strides will provide an opportunity to work on my form – maybe with some iPhone videography for analysis/embarrassment. As far as strength, I will be focusing on glute/ab/adductor specific exercises and will also be adding in more core/upper body strength by using the killer circuit that I used during my college summer training.
This circuit takes 30 minutes for 1 time through and absolutely kills. I did one session yesterday and can barely move my arms. And my abs hurt when I breathe too hard 😳
I’m still annoyed that my leg has betrayed me in prime trail racing season, but at least I have a plan now! It’s so much easier to be optimistic when I can pretend I have some control over the future 😛