In honor of today’s long run with Theodora , I wanted to share with you some wonderful information I’ve been using to keep my training aches and pains at bay. Anytime I increase my weekly running mileage or intensity, I end up with tight hip flexors which affect my daily activities and my running form.
During marathon training I pushed through this pain, thinking that it was just something that came along with the territory. Of course, like any good runner I did hip flexor stretches once or twice a week after a run, used a stick or foam roller, and I tried to practice yoga every now and then. But, I never did anything to strengthen my hip flexors.
Luckily, Fred Devito , half of the power team over at Exhale Core Fusion , sent me a few tips to help my hips and aching body during my new training period.
Thanks for reaching out and asking for my opinion on your current situation regarding past training and current injuries.
I would have to say that by you training for the marathon without any other type of cross conditioning and not suffer some sort of set back is common, I have heard that scenario as well.
But the body doesn’t forget and what you are feeling today with shin splints and hip flexor inflammation is not necessarily caused by the training that you are currently doing, but rather an accumulative effect of muscle/ joint over use. But it may be the training that you are doing.
I ran distance in college and my hips and knees were fine, until about 5 years later, I couldn’t run any more. The accumulative wear and tear from earlier running weakened the interior walls of my hip socket. After that, even what I would consider normal activity created pain. After an MRI, I learned that I suffered a minor tear in my labrum and arthritis in the joint from bone touching bone. The cartilage in my hip wore out in a genetically weak area of the joint and it didn’t manifest itself as pain until years later.
Joints have a built in obsolescence. They wear out over time. Every place I go, I hear people having hip or knee replacement surgeries. That’s why when you chose exercise routines focus needs to be on positioning and alignment before movement to tax the muscles hard (they breakdown but they also rebuild). Cartilage, ligaments and tendons i.e. connective tissue does not have rejuvenation properties like muscle tissue so joints tend to just wear out or over stretch and ligaments and tendons over stretched and need arthroscopic surgery to clip and stable them back to a functional shape.
Because of this fact, routines for functional fitness, meaning fitness that helps you with living a better lifestyle, need to be intelligent. I know that you are young enough to probably be my daughter, but age doesn’t matter! If you abuse your joints with over use exercises it is only a matter of time before it comes back to haunt you. Also another important point is to keep your activities balanced. If you spin or run then you should be doing hip flexor stretches daily to balance out the tightness from so much hip flexion and over development of those muscle groups that are predominantly used (example, speed skater’s thighs).
If you enjoy exercise classes that focus on movement, choreography, quick changes and hardly any stretching, this is also a formula for injuries and we see it first hand when we get students from other studios come to core fusion or yoga at exhale.
We not only teach exercise we teach lifestyle and we educate our students on how to exercise safely to see results and avoid injuries. Injuries can and will change your life, they should be avoided at all costs by making intelligent exercise choices based on balanced work of flexibility and strength.
The muscular system, like all other systems in the body, needs to be balanced. The problem is that most of the other systems of the body: circulatory, nervous, digestive, glandular are self regulating. To balance the muscular system intelligent choices need to be made so this then comes a problem if people don’t stop and think about what activities they are choosing to do and future implications.
Fred’s great advice makes me appreciate all the cross training, yoga, and stretching I’ve added to my training plan this time around. However, it does make me realize that I need to be careful of building too many classes like 30/60/90 to my routine which also put a great stress on my joints.
Question: What are your thoughts in response to Fred’s suggestions?