It’s recovery week here at the Modernist Cavegirl, and not a moment too soon. The knee and hip tightness that emerged at the end of the twenty miler seems to be IT band trouble. I’ve actually managed to survive 3 ½ years of running 5 days a week without so much as a twinge from my IT band before, so I was somewhat disheartened by the development. I fully expected some overuse injuries to spring up with the increased training volume, but after two very fortunate years of running nearly pain-free, it’s frustrating. I started googling around for trigger point massage and IT band stretches on Sunday night, and I came across an article that traced the start of most IT band problems to tight calf muscles. It seems entirely possible that the problems of the past few weeks may have a common cause and, hopefully, solution. In any case, it’s good to know that I’m not completely falling apart at the seams. After reading up on the injury a bit I also learned that the longer a runner has IT band problems, the harder they are to treat, so I’m trying to nip this in the bud. I’ve committed myself to a lot of gentle stretching and foam-rolling for the next few days, along with some trigger point massage with a lacrosse ball.
Everything was feeling better by Monday evening, so I decided to go ahead with my 7-mile easy run on Tuesday. Everything was fine for the first four miles or so, but then I felt the tightness creeping back in. By the time I finished, the tugging in my hip was back, along with the twisting pull in my knee. After a lot of quality time with the foam roller last night and this morning, things are improving again. Still, I’m planning to trade my run tonight for a session on the bike, provided that doesn’t aggravate it too. (And I really hope that it doesn’t, as I don’t have a Plan C.) It’s funny how resting can become such hard work. There’s a little voice that keeps saying, “go ahead – you could get in 3 miles before it starts hurting.” I ran through a tough bout of runner’s knee for almost a year, so I could probably put up with the pain here too. I still have a month and a half of high-volume training to get through, though, and I know that risking that for a week of easy miles boarders on the irrational. Still, the easy week is turning out to be a lot tougher than I thought.