Injury screening, part deux.

Monday I went in for the second injury screening of my life. The first one was, of course, when I hurt my calf and my hip earlier this year. I basically knew that I kind of had the same problem going in, except on the opposite legs and my ankle instead of my calf this time.

If you don’t remember, back in June, I hurt my right calf, but continued to try to run and walk on it, which then made my left thigh/hip hurt from overcompensating. This time I hurt my left ankle, but continued to walk on it (I blame The Mo Run) and ended up hurting my right thigh/hip due to overcompensation. I will learn one day.

So, I went to an injury screening with Results Physiotherapy at Nashville Running Company. My appointment was at 5:45, and I showed up around 5:40. The girl at the desk said the therapist was running late, and there was one person in front of me who was out walking her dog. I had a seat. A couple minutes later, the girl before me walked in, and it was Jessica that I had met at the half marathon info meeting the Saturday before! We chatted until the therapist showed up, then I filled out a form while he went through exercises with her.

Soon it was my turn. I explained what happened and what I’d been doing. He poked and prodded at me, mainly focusing on my thigh/hip, since I really can’t feel my ankle pain as much, unless you directly press on it. He concluded that I needed to work on core and hip flexor strength and showed me some exercises to do.

So, what are the exercises? Funnily enough, two out of the three are the same exercises that the doctor showed me after I hurt my hip last time that I started out doing, but manage to maybe only do once a week now. So maybe this will ingrain it in me that I really need to do them and often. He also added a new one: single leg bridges. I do bridges all the time, but the single leg versions are supposed to work your glutes and core more. I’ve been trying to do all three exercises three times a day: when I wake up, when I get home, and before I go to bed.

He is supposed to contact me after a week to see if I’m doing any better. But the best news? He said I could keep running. I was so scared I was going to have to take more time off, thus ruining both of my upcoming halfs.

Final (hopefully) hip update!

Tuesday I had a follow-up appointment with the sports doc about my hip injury.

He asked how I did in the 10k and if I was happy with my time (yes!). He also asked if I was hurting afterwards (yes!). He was glad that I had taken the four weeks off and asked about my latest running. I told him that it was going optimistically well, and sometimes my hip would hurt when I first start running but would go away. He said that was a good thing, and it just meant I was tight, not injured. He asked if I had gotten new shoes (he wasn’t crazy about me going all minimalist from the start) and how I felt in those. Then he ran through a few leg movements and checked my leg length. He said it sounded like I was doing good, that my hip flexors still seemed a little tight, and he sent in the nurse to go through some exercises with me.

The first one she showed me is a hip flexor stretch that I can add to the other ones I (should) do. She said to do it on a daily basis and on days when I run, do it after I run. She said to add to the stretch, I can raise one arm (on the opposite side of the bended leg) and twist at the waist.
hip flexor stretch exercise

Next she showed me a strengthening exercise for the gluteus medius, which she said can get weak when you sit at a desk all day. It works to stabilize the hips, so it’s important to keep it strong when you run. She said to do this every other day for 90 seconds at a time.
gluteus medius strengthening exercise

I also asked the doctor when I could expect to have my endurance back since I took four weeks off. He said that I was in pretty good shape, so I should probably be back to where I was within a month. That’s good news, since my main goal for the Fremont 5k is for it to be the first 5k I run without walking!

Stretching those hip flexors!

I had to run just a little bit last week when I went on a hunt for a new pair of running shoes. It mainly involved running for about 30 seconds in each pair of shoes I tried on, but I could immediately still feel my hip injury whenever I took off.

So I decided I should probably do what I had been putting off during my rest time: stretch my hip flexors.

Besides the butterfly, I didn’t really know any good hip stretches, so I took to Pinterest. I found these videos, which I really like:

It feels like the stretches are helping (as far as I can tell without actually running). Anyone have any other good recommendations?

Warming Up and Cooling Down for Runners

Note: There are two videos below that may autoplay simultaneously, and I can’t control it. Sorry!

Warming up before running and cooling down after is very important to help prevent injury and to let you perform to the best of your ability.

Warming Up and Cooling Down for Runners

The goal of your warm up is to get oxygen flowing to the muscles you are about to use in order to wake them up. It should involve a less intense version of what you will be doing, so walking or gentle jogging. Couch to 5k/10k suggests a five minute walk, but I usually jog part of this, as walking doesn’t really warm me up very well, and I start my run sluggish. My ideal warm up is a five minute light jog, followed by a five minute walk, and then dynamic stretching. Supposedly static stretching in your warm up can actually slow you down, so save those for after your run. To dynamically stretch, I usually alternate 5-10 high knees with 5-10 butt kicks. And maybe throw some walking lunges in there too if I’m not feeling too self-conscious (i.e., if no one is around).

To cool down, slow to a light jog or walk for about five minutes after you finish. You don’t want to stop suddenly (I’ve learned the hard way how that can make you dizzy). Allow your breathing and heart rate to return to normal, and then do static stretching.

For static stretches, I mainly focus on the areas that get the tightest while running and those that are sore in the days afterwards, which are usually my calves and glutes and occasionally my hamstrings.

What stretches and exercises are your favorites to help you warm up or cool down after a run?