Stretching. The Hard Way

I’m currently 1.5 weeks into my 4 weeks of physical therapy.  My physical therapist, Joseph, is literally the bomb.  He’s pretty no nonsense – so my wincing and whimpering doesn’t get me very far with him.  And so far this tough love approach to PT it totally working.

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then i went ahead and ran 15.5 miles

On my first visit last week, Joseph did a bunch of strength tests to see exactly what was going on with my body so that he could create the program that would get me on the fastest road to recovery.  Turns out my left side, the side with the Achilles tendonitis, is super weak.  Like, hella weak.  Like couldn’t push against Joseph’s hand to keep my leg aloft weak.  Now, as a result, I am in a rigorous regiment of stretching and strengthening.  As I sat in the beautiful new PT office {it’s baller.  I literally refused to go to a bootleg PT} going over the exercises with Joseph I cursed myself silently.

FYI:  THERE ARE NO STRETCHES OR STRENGHTENING EXERCISES I AM ASKED TO DO NOW THAT EVERY RUNNING MAG/WEBSITE/BLOG DOESN’T ALREADY TELL YOU TO DO.

To wit:

  • Self-massage – now that my calf is so tight that it’s trying to kill my Achilles, my homeboy has to get into my calf with his forearm and all of his upper body weight to try to loosen its death grip on my tendon. Apparently one could avoid the need for this overly painful situation by actually using The Sticks that in are in our houses.  And by we I  mean me.
  • Foam rolling – because the calf is tight, the IT band is in distress. Aside from self-massage, one key way to short circuit the chain reaction is to foam roll once a day 1 minute each side.  Wow, so novel!!
  • Strengthening the hips and glutes – to avoid putting the IT band in distress which tightens the calf, runners should strengthen their hips and glutes. Doing leg raises, clamshells with resistance bands maybe a squat or two. Wow! Who would have thought?  Clearly not me.  Hopefully every other runner in the world.
  • Stretching – 2 minutes per muscle group each side. Twice with a walk out in between – Stretch?  People stretch?  Why did no one tell me.

Full disclosure:  Until last week, I thought I was invincible.  I thought that I had cooked up the most excellent, injury proof training – the perfect mix of cross training, strength and mileage nearly devoid of rolling and stretching.  How else do you explain training for back to back marathons with nary a small ache or pain?  Turns out it was just dumb luck and hubris.  With the lack of serious strength training and regular stretching I put myself at risk of blowing out my Achilles and ending my 2014-2015 season really quickly.

As I rolled my super tight IT band on the foam roller at the PT office – the same foam roller I have at home – I vowed to update my training plan and be better to my body.  I see a lot more strength moves on my own, outside of body pump, which I still love, and stretching and rolling rather than just lying on the couch.

 

Ever learn a running lesion the hard way?

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