Running injury gets everyone, even super hero humans like JP Bedard. Here’s how the triple marathon runner recovered from his most challenging injury yet.
What is the most difficult running related injury you have had, and how long were you not able to run? What did you do to recover from it?
Lotta (from Finland)
Running is so much more than merely a physical pursuit: It’s a way of life, or more accurately, a way of being within your life. We run to make us happy. We run to extinguish our anger and resentment. We run to escape, and we run to find ourselves.But what happens when injury sidelines us, and we are temporarily denied our outlet, our escape, and our safety valve?
I’ve been running long enough now to have experienced my fair share of running injuries – planter fasciitis, shin splints, torn muscles, and the dreaded piriformis syndrome. Over time, I’ve become better at listening to the cues from my body, and diving into a more proactive approach to injury cure and prevention.
Far and away the most debilitating and nagging injury I’ve had was a two-year flare up of IT pain (iliotibial band syndrome). No matter what I did, there was zero relief, and I did everything! Nothing seemed to have any long-term impact – icing, stretching, not stretching, strength training, Theraband stretches, massage, and far too many ibuprofen for human consumption. My IT band usually felt fine before I went out for my run, but around 40 minutes into a workout, the pain quickly became unbearable.
In the end, I cut way back on my mileage. And I dropped out of most races over an 18-month period. I finally found my magic bullet when my massage therapist suggested that what I really needed to do was to simply tire-out the IT band so that it would have no choice but to release the tension on my knee. So, now I had mission: All I needed to do was figure out a way to tire out my nemesis. I started doing lying down scissor kicks three times a day. I would lie on my side and raise the upper leg and drop it back down under a controlled motion. I started out doing 50 reps of 3 sets on each leg, and eventually worked my way up to 150 reps of 2 sets. I would do this three times a day, and after 6 weeks, the IT pain had completely disappeared. Today, I continue to do this every morning after my run as a way of keeping my hip flexors strong and my IT loose and subtle.
Send your advice and questions to JP firstname.lastname@example.org. Want more tips, tricks and practical advice from JP Bedard? Check out his previous posts with questions from elite and everyday athletes.