Yesterday evening, I got back from a run with a massive grin on my face and a real sense of achievement. I’d run more miles in that last week than I had for months. Prepare to be underwhelmed…but I ran 20 miles last week.
Yeah, I know that’s nothing, but it was also a LOT.
I’ve had two main obstacles to running lately. The first has been my focus on September’s century ride, so whilst that’s frustrating in terms of running, it’s understandable and it’s been a sacrifice I’ve been prepared to make.
The second obstacle has been some not insignificant IT band pain. It started a few weeks ago at mile 4 of a 6 miler. A ‘pain’ in my left glute (aka buttock). Maybe not a pain but the stinging burn of my IT band. That only increased over the next few runs, and then the pain would linger for the remainder of the day after my run. I knew that I needed to be very careful – this could sideline me for a long time.
There are a few potential reasons for this. Angela has pointed out that when we start running, our cardiovascular system improves quite rapidly so our ‘fitness’ increases significantly. However our muscular-skeletal system does not improve at the same speed, so our hearts want to run harder and longer but our bodies aren’t yet ready to support it. I wonder if the IT band issues might be caused by that. I’ve been doing a lot of cycle training so my cardio fitness is in good shape, but my running muscles are NOT as strong as they used to be. So maybe I’ve overworked them.
The other potential reason is my shoes. I’ve been running in the Hoka Cliftons for a year now. I LOVE them. Well, I loved the first model. But when I started running in the Clifton 2s a few months ago, I immediately noted that the toe box was much bigger and the whole shoe felt too big. I should have sent them back, in retrospect but I didn’t. I know that I need a fairly tight toe box or my foot rolls around a lot – this has caused issues in the past. Were these loose Hokas to blame for my IT band?
So I cut my runs down to 4 miles. I cut my speed down even more. I’ve done some stretching and even a little rolling. I swapped my Hokas for some old (almost unworn) Asics with a much tighter toe box. And the pain is going away. On tonight’s 6 miler, I felt the IT band at Mile 2.5 but it didn’t hurt very much at all, didn’t get worse and my running was still comfortable.
I’m signed up for a half-marathon in November in Sacramento. I was hoping to PR but I’m holding fire on the training and the speed work till I’m running pain free. There will be other half-marathons but not if I’m injured!
So…this week, I’ve run four times, I’ve covered 20 miles, my IT band pain is significantly decreased and I am really happy. Sometimes, very unimpressive achievements are pretty exciting for the girl involved.