You might be thinking that it is crazy that my hips are still giving me problems. But looking back on my training, I realized that there were a few reasons why I ended up where I am today. I had thought after the Pumpkinman Half Ironman training I could go straight into full gear of Boston Marathon training like I had for other marathons. Since I hadn’t experienced any injuries prior to this, I was that cocky athlete that though she could do whatever and not get injured. I forgot that during my Pumpkinman training I only ran 3 days a week and I was also really drained with overtime hours at work and added stress. My body was a mess when I went to 5-6 days of hardcore marathon training for 3:30 marathon.
My sports doctor said that I fatigued my muscles and kept damaging them by continuing to run and exercise.My muscles weren’t conditioned for this training. As a result, I didn’t get enough oxygen to my muscles and built up lactate and hydrogen ions, increasing my muscle’s acid level (Source: Runner’s World: The Runner’s Body , p. 188).
My muscles started to break down and scar tissue built up. The scar tissue is supposed to help heal the injured muscles but for only a short period of time. If the scar tissue stays there for a long time, it binds to the muscles and restricts movements (Source: Runner’s Resource ). Yoga seemed to help my hips but once I started to pick up running and more intense workouts, my hips still seem to get tight. It does not help that I sit all day at work for 8+ hours with my muscles in a shortened state (Source: Livestrong ).
The next thing on your mind might be that I should completely rest but my doctor said that is actually worse because my muscles will just continue to get weaker. The best thing for me is to keep up with working out but listening to my body. I also realized I need to see someone at Be Well Boston at least 2 times a month. Deep tissue massages help break down the scar tissue while also increasing blood circulation and range of motion of the muscles. Better blood circulation means the muscles get more nutrients to the muscles but also removes toxins like lactic acid.
I had asked Katrina, one of the owners at Be Well Boston , why you are sore after a massage. She told me that there are a lot of reasons and it may even vary from client to client. However, part of the reason is that a deep tissue massage is like a workout because there is micro-tearing of the tissues (including breakdown of the scar tissue) which can result in temporary inflammation. Additionally, the deep tissue massage releases metabolic waste that is stored in your muscle tissue, flushing waste products from your tissue. You might be sore, but you don’t want to be sore for more than 1-2 days (just like a workout). You should also drink a lot of water before and after to help flush the toxins out of your system.
Since I was experiencing a lot of pain while sitting at work, it was time for me to book an appointment with Jessica to help expedite the scar tissue break up on my hips. As she started to work on my hips, she warned me that she was going to progressively apply more pressure and to let her know if I ever was in too much pain. It probably sounds strange, but I look forward to a massage that hurts (in a good way) because I know that I am really getting to the bottom of my issues. Thankfully, it never was to the point that I was in too much pain and I was able to handle the pressure Jessica was applying.
After the massage, I had asked Jessica what the tightest areas were. She kind of smiled because she said a lot was tight! But the areas worst off were the following:
Tensor Fascia Lata (TFL) ( Image Source )
Gluteus minimus, medius and maximus
When Jessica was working on my gluteal muscles, I could definitely tell where the problem was. She was moving smoothly along the muscle until she hit what felt to be a huge knot. I forget how Jessica had described it, but in a nutshell, it was like all these muscles were sticking together, which is not something you want. Also, I was not surprised when she said the tensor fascia lata was really tight. This was the part that hurts the most while I sit at work. It also explains why my IT band was incredibly tight when I tried to foam roll since it’s all connected.
Before I left, Jessica gave me a new stretch to include in my routine. You lean up against the wall and let your hip drop. You should feel it in the hip and IT band. I like that I can do this stretch while at work and not have to worry about having to worry about changing into gym clothes.
I’ve still got a lot of work to do to get my hips back to normal but I know that with some dedication and hard work I can get them lengthened and strengthened!
If you want to give Be Well Boston a try, mention that you heard of them from Little Miss Runshine and you can get a 10% off your first visit!