Saturday, July 6, 2013

Preventing my ITB Problem

Without wanting to tempt fate, I think I am recovering from my ITB issues.  I have run 30 minutes with no pain at all, and I feel very few niggles at other times.  But I am continually nervous when I run - I don't trust my leg yet and I'm sure my ITB could flare up again under stress.  In other words, I'm still taking it easy.

While I recover I've been looking at causes of this problem in the first place.  If I can identify the cause I can reduce the chances of it ever happening again, right?  Here are a few things I've pinpointed:

Worn out shoes
When I got home on that day I checked my running shoes, and I'm embarrassed to say they looked like this:

I thought I was checking them regularly, but obviously not regularly enough.  Either that, or they wore down real quick in the last week!   When my Physio saw them he said rather politely "yeah, they won't be helping...". So I went out the next day and welcomed a pair of Mizuno Wave Rider 16's into my life.

Recent increase in mileage
The first thing my Physio asked me when I went along to see him was if I had increased my mileage recently, and I didn't think I had.  To be honest I had been without my Sportwatch for a month and didn't have actual stats.  I bought a diary, worked back over my schedule, and discovered that in the week prior to my injury I had run more than usual - including the hardest race in my life!

Muscle imbalances
My Physio noticed I had weak glutes and tight hip flexors, so I've worked hard on getting them to function properly and keep my pelvis and core stable as I run.  Now I can feel new muscles, and I feel stronger and more efficient when I run.

Pavement slope and hard surfaces
I have a habit of running on the left side of the road when I run out and back, so the pavement slope is the same in either direction.  I should alternate this - or better still keep off the pavement wherever I can, as it is the hardest and nastiest surface to run on.

No warmup/cooldown
I know, so naughty.
I warmup and cooldown before and after speedwork, but not for my usual easy runs.  My Physio told me to walk for 5 mins before running, so I'm going to be a good girl and do as I'm told.  Also, instead of a sporadic stretching routine, I have committed to a regular one by writing it into my training plan!

Excessive hills/downhills
I don't think I had been overdoing the hills, but my race the week prior to injury did have some biggies!

Also, the day of my injury I ran down the Franklin Road hill, and it felt really odd for some reason - sort of jarring and uncomfortable.  Maybe this was a sign, or maybe it wasn't, but I will be wary of that feeling in the future because about 15mins later my ITB was yelling at me!

So - that's my list of potential causes.  Whether it was one thing or a combination I will never know - unfortunately most of them are of the totally-obvious-and-should-know-better type!  I.e: avoidable.  Lesson learned.

If you've had a sore IT band or other running injury, did you manage to pinpoint the cause?  
Can you think of any other causes I should be thinking about?


  1. Those views are amazing. I really want to visit NZ one day. And I hope you love the Wave Riders as much as I do! Seriously a good shoe :)

  2. Yes, that's a huge hill! Looks like a great exercise that I should do, too. Glad you got in a painless run!

  3. AnonymousJuly 08, 2013

    I love that last photo- such a gorgeous race!
    I'm glad you've narrowed down the causes. I think the biggest one is probably muscle imbalances, as I know that's my biggest issue. It's so easy to overlook strength, but it's SO important!
    Keep taking it easy and you'll be back 100% in no time!

  4. I injured my knee last year while training for a marathon. I can not for the life of me pinpoint what happened. I did have a weak VMO but that's it. No warning signs. It happened out of the blue. With my current injury, I can definitely tell you exactly when it started. Now I just want it to get better. See my PT for the first time on Wednesday. Fingers crossed we can get to the bottom of it!

  5. I have the same Mizunos!! Yes- tight hips/hamstrings are often a major cause. Do you sit for your job? That can make it worse as well. Looks like you're well on your way to full recovery!

  6. AnonymousJuly 11, 2013

    Wow, that's some hill! :D
    I haven't tried Wave Riders, but they do look really comfy and stylish.
    Hope you're on the mend!


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