Thursday, January 17, 2013

Getting Back to Running

For the past four weeks I have been going to physical therapy to help with my continued leg issues.  In short, I have been having aches in my left leg which has been annoying and limited my running.  After time with a chiropractor did not work out I visited a sport doctor who diagnosed me with "sprained hip" and recommended physical therapy to help fix things.  

I kind of feel like I am starting all over with my running.  I took about two weeks off running a month after the marathon and have only been running about five to seven miles a week.  I was in such a good workout groove during marathon training and this darn injury has really put a kink in things!  I was feeling so strong and fit and now I feel like I am starting over.  I am thankful that I wasn't sidelined very long, but it is still frustrating.   

I have been going to a local Nova Care facility for physical therapy for an hour once or twice a week and then doing about a 30 minute at home routine every day.  My first session was mostly answering a bunch of questions for the therapist to diagnose and come up with a plan.  I learned that my hips are weak (which is a common thing for runners) and my pelvis is misaligned, making one leg seem a bit longer than the other.  Essentially it is an overuse injury because I haven't been using the right muscles while running.   He did some adjustments to get my pelvis realigned and showed me some exercises for me to do at home.  
The plan is to strengthen my hip and gluteal muscles which should make things better.  My at home routine consists of exercises like Hip Hikes, Bilateral Squats with a resistance band, Wall Slides, Bridge, Clamshells with resistance band, Bridge, Star Balance with Arm Reach, and Foam Rolling.

The session with my physical therapist at the office usually involves some massage for my IT band and then strengthening exercises using the machines available at the office. 

Things have been going well and I can tell my hips and glutes are getting stronger.  The pain in my leg has pretty much subsided.  I have only noticed my leg ache maybe three times since staring PT, but my physical therapist says things are going well overall.  
I was given the OK to start increasing my distance by 10% each week.  I am going to attempt a four or five miler this weekend.  I am hopeful that things are getting better.  All of this will make me a stronger and more balanced runner so that I can continue to run for a long time.  
In looking towards the future I just added my first race of 2013 to my calendar - Fleet Feet's Soldier Field 10 Mile in May!  I ran the race last year and really enjoyed it so I thought I would sign up again.  

If you have had a an injury how have you dealt with it?  Do you have any races on your 2013 calendar yet?