Sunday, July 12, 2009

And on the first day, I rested.

I officially began training for the ING New York City Marathon today, and was extremely relieved to find that the instructions for Day One were, simply: "Rest."

So I did my regular core conditioning workout, which includes a mix of exercises like ab crunches, planks, side hovers, bridges, and some dumbbell lifting. Usually, I do this routine once a week. In the past five days, I've done it three times.

That's because I haven't been running very much. My concern: iliotibial band syndrome. I've had a couple of bouts with it since I started running last September, but none that have lasted quite this long -- it's been about five weeks now, if I'm remembering correctly.

At first, I figured it was flaring up because I desperately needed new shoes. (I ran on my Asics 2140s until they had more than 480 miles on them.) But the cushiony Saucony Omni 8s I picked up a few weeks ago don't seem to have eased the pain.

Anyway, after feeling significant discomfort while running six miles worth of hills last Tuesday (I was in pain, but not limping), I decided to take four full days off from running. Surprisingly, I didn't miss it much -- thanks to a good hard bike ride Wednesday night, a decent swim workout Thursday morning, and the core routines.

By Saturday morning, the ITB was feeling good, and I went into the Run For Your Life 4-Miler cautiously optimistic about the injury. Unfortunately, less than halfway through, I could feel a dull ache coming on. And later in the day, I was rather sore. So I started an icing and elevating regimen; even did some ITB stretches like the one at left.

How will it hold up under pressure? We'll see. Like I said: I've had two other bouts with iliotibial band syndrome, and both other times, I ran through the pain and it eventually went completely away. (I should stress that it was never bad enough that I ran with a limp.) I'm concerned that it's lingered so long this time around, so I'm planning to pick up a Cho Pat ITB strap this week. I also just rediscovered some orthotics I purchased at Charlotte Running Co. awhile back -- they were in some cheap New Balance shoes I bought when I first started running but didn't use for long. The orthotics seem to be in relatively good shape, so I just transferred them to my Sauconys. And I may eventually invest in a foam roller, which a running buddy has highly recommended.

I'm fully prepared to back off of the training in the event the situation gets worse. It's a long road to New York, and I'm determined to find success, not failure, on Nov. 1.

As mentioned previously, I'm using the 16-week Bart Yasso intermediate program that appeared in the July issue of Runner's World magazine. I don't want to bore you guys with too many details, but I do plan to blog every Sunday about how the training is going. Hopefully, more often than not, I'll be able to tell you that it's going well!

Stay tuned...


Anonymous said...

An IT band flare up is a pretty strong sign of overuse. As you ramp up your miles, your flexibility will diminish and put you at a elevated risk for injury.

You're smart to focus so much on a stretching routine. You might want to try a foam roller for your IT band also. It will be the best $30-$40 you ever spend.

Anonymous said...

I have overcome a pretty serious bout of this injury by stretching and icing. The stretches are ones I had never done before and did not find online (they were given to me by a PT). Whatever form of stretching you try, the main difference I learned is that you are supposed to hold the stretches longer (the ones I do are for 2 minutes each), which will test your patience but which is what helps this thick tissue to stretch out (it's really not flexible to begin with). So longer stretching and ice religiously after your runs.

I agree about ramping up your milage slowly. I never tried the foam roller, but it looks like a product that will help with the stretches. And, for what it's worth, I tried one of those massage sticks (sometimes called "The Stick") and got nothing out of it.

Good luck!!

Anonymous said...

I agree with the previous two posts. Strongly recommend the foam roll for soft tissue mobility as opposed to the cho-pat strap. The strap is more like a band-aid rather than fixing the problem. The IT-band issue could be a result of something happening with your foot mechanics or an issue with your hip flexibility/glut weakness. I worked with a great physical therapist who is a distance runner for about 3-4 weeks and he got me back on my training schedule. is a good website for the foam rollers

Jason said...

I've been resting myself over the last week as I too starting feeling a "twinge" in my left knee after a good night run. Seeing my wife go through the agony of ITB The symptoms were similar to my wife's ITB issues and after seeing her go through that over the last several months, I played it smart and quit the running. I've been using a lot of the material she got from the PT for stretching/strengthening. I plan on testing the knee out tomorrow on a light 2-3 mile run so we'll see how it goes. My marathon training starts up in another couple of weeks so hopefully I'll be ready to start.

Anonymous said...

You should contact a PT named Mark Kane -, he's fantastic and really helped diagnose what I thought was "ITB" as muscle imbalances in other areas as well as tightness in the quad/hamstring. I've been injury free since doing his exercises for a year and a half and I've completed two marathons, numerous half marathons, and a ton of other races.

Cool Down Runner said...

I have had ITB too many times to count.

In reading through the comments, all of these suggestions have helped me.

Some other options that I have used with success is to hit the trails and avoid concrete like the flu.

Or if you don't have trails handy, find yourself a low traffic neighborhood and run on the other side of the street. Just be careful about the traffic - that is why the trails work better - no traffic at all.

chupacabra said...

dude you really might want to go to one of those people...oh what are they called...white lab coat, asks a lot of personal questions...A DOCTOR yea that's what they're called.

just my take on it

You can get orthotics from one of those people in the white lab coats, much better than the generic kind you pick up in a sporting goods store.