Imbalances in the bod

After a few months of some not so fun hamstring tightness and pain (and just lately IT band troubles), I knew it was time to tackle the issue before I get too far into this marathon training. Yesterday, thanks to the suggestion of my physical therapist and runner friend "D," I visited a local PT who is a runner herself and is used to working with athletes. Believe me, you'll come to appreciate this if you ever have to see a doc or physical therapist regarding running injuries.

I've been to PT several times for several different issues, including S.I. joint, plantar fasciitis, runner's knee, IT band and hamstring troubles.

Each time I feel like I've learned something new, but haven't always carried those pieces along into the next training session. FAIL. I know I should continue to do those exercises and stretches I'm tasked with, but I haven't.

Once again, I learned some new things that I thought might be helpful to other runners, especially women. I think a lot of us tend to have the same reoccurring issues. If you are having pain that isn't going away, get it taken care of. You don't want to realize after the fact that you could have prevented a major injury with a few simple exercises!

What I learned so far:
1. I'm definitely weaker on my left side (where all the pain is) than my right.
2. My muscles are essentially imbalanced because there is a ton of quad strength, but not enough in the glute region (think right above your butt cheek and right below it on the outer edges.
3. The knee and foot pain can be improved by strengthening my rear and core
4. My low back essentially isn't moving as you'd want. It's got a bit of a catch in it.
5. Even with the ab work I do in my yoga practice and a few times a week during weight sessions, my core needs more work. It's always shocking how much the core plays a roll in these athletic endeavors.
6. Running will only emphasize all of the symptoms I'm having (as I figured).

The great thing is, she didn't say "Take 2-4 weeks off running." She understands that it's just not possible. So, we have a plan. I have a few minor exercises to do several times a day.

These include:
1) a modified cobra type pose pushing up only on my left arm until it's straight and looking back toward my left leg. My left low back is the area with movement issues.
2) pulling in my stomach and holding (or doing kegels) for 10-30 seconds
3)standing and thinking of slightly rolling your knees out, which automatically pulls up the arch of the foot and fires the rear (and hold)
4) foam rolling (along IT band using) and both legs at same time to get the hamstrings

For the next six weeks, I will also see the P.T. weekly and have another appointment every week to get Astym. I imagine as things progress, I'll have more exercises and stretching to do.

According to their website, Astym is "a rehabilitation program that stimulates the regenerative healing process of the body. This approach is a non-invasive therapy that works fast and consistently. The ASTYM system rejuvenates muscles, tendons and ligaments. It gets rid of scar tissue problems from old injuries in a fashion previously unimaginable. We have the scientific background, data and experience that proves it."

While it doesn't mean that this is the solution for all your IT band, hamstring, whatever issues, what it does show is how important cross training is in your routine. No matter what sport you're doing (but especially running due to the beating it inflicts on your joints), doing a different activity once or twice a week is not only beneficial, but crucial to keeping your body and life balanced.

It also reminds me that listening to your body is important. If I continued to ignore all that pain and tightness and simply continued to stretch it, things weren't going to get much better. It feels good to be working toward a solution!

So how about that cross training? Today, I rode the bike to work and am riding to boot camp tonight. Should be fun!

Training update: Last night I listened to my body. I was planning to do 60+ min run with some hill work, but when the legs and body felt like crap, I backed off, ran 7-9 hills of 1-2min each and finished with 39 minutes of running and even a little walking in mix.


Amber said…
I think I need to go see a PT for my shin. I wonder if I have imbalances? Hmmm!

Hope your injuries stay away during this training cycle!!
Raquelita said…
I hope you're able to keep those injuries under control during your marathon training! It seems like you've got a good plan. Thanks for sharing the things that you learned at the PT!
Anonymous said…
Yay for good PTs! Glad to hear you're being proactive! Its amazing how just about every running issue stems from hip/hamstring/glute imbalances.
Gracie said…
I wish my insurance covered a PT :/
Wow - very interesting. I too wish my insurance covered PT. I went to a PT briefly in Feb when I started having knee problem and he was able to tell that my right glute wasn't 'firing'. It was pretty interesting, actually. I have not been great about doing my PT exercises, but it's something I am trying to do a better job of, esp on my x-training day.

Speaking of which, i am not doing a great job with xtraining. I really wish I had a bike. i should just buy one but I am kind of overwhelmed by all of the options and I don't want to spend a lot of money on one right now... So I have just been doing core work on my xtrain days... I need to do something about that. This weekend I will be able to swim on my xtrain day since I'll be at the cabin so I am looking forward to that!

Popular Posts