Resistance is Useless – Hooray!

There’s another way

Today’s workout (elliptical): 40 minutes

You may recognize the phrase, “Resistance is useless!” as the battle cry of the Vogons in Douglas Adam’s “Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.” So what’s all this about resistance? I discovered this morning that by using the elliptical machine with zero resistance, I can still do a hard workout without hurting my injured hip.

I woke up this morning and tested my hip as I made my way downstairs. It still felt a little sore, but my mobility seemed fine. I wasn’t fooled into thinking that I could get away with an outdoor run today, but did consider other options. It seems that the intense pain that I’m experiencing while running manifests only when I run on the road. A recent trail run had gone well, and a handful of treadmill sessions have caused me little problem.

After some gentle dynamic stretching, I decided to test things out on the elliptical while my wife did her morning treadmill run. My theory that I would do okay with lower impact workouts quickly proved out. I started my session at neutral resistance and, instead of ratcheting that up to a mid-high level as I normally do, I just began moving. It felt a little too easy, so I increased my speed to get my heart rate going.

This session provided a good aerobic workout and I generated enough of a sweat to be satisfied with the effort. My hip felt the same from start to finish, with none of the stabbing pain that caused me to cancel yesterday’s run after three minutes. I’m pleased that I have an alternative to running while my hip gets better.

I will miss the opportunity to run the trails of Vermont this weekend, when we visit my brother and his family. I’ll gladly settle for a hike though. With only three weeks to go until my next race, I don’t need to make my injury any worse than it is already.

Band on the run. IT band that is.

Strike up the band

Today’s run (treadmill): 3 miles

It was cold and rainy this morning, as expected, so I wasted little time deciding between an indoor and outdoor run. I had things to do this morning, so I got on the treadmill earlier than usual and set my usual starting pace. This pace, which feels like 9:00/mile, can seem either easy or hard, depending on the day and circumstances. Today it felt relatively easy, but the soreness near my hip came back in a big way.

I wasn’t really concerned about the pain. It was there, but my tolerance to pain is fairly high. I was troubled that the soreness persisted even as I ran. It made me wonder if this was a bonafide injury. Running on an injury is never a good idea, but I wasn’t ready to cut my workout short. Instead, I dropped my speed back about 5% and my hip began to feel better.

I finally called it a run after reaching three miles and noted that my hip still felt tight and uncomfortable as I stepped off the treadmill. I did a little research online to see if I could identify the muscles or tendons that were causing this pain. I think that it might be my IT band. The pain is localized near my lower hip but the pain does travel a little. It’s not as intense as sciatica, but the symptoms seem to coincide with Iliotibial Band Syndrome.

I’m continuing to ice the area and I took Aleve which helps the pain. The practical next step is to rest a couple of days before I run again. Maybe I’ll do that, or substitute an elliptical session for my Wednesday run. I’m also thinking about resuming my Uechi-ryu (Okinawan karate) workouts now that I have a little more time. That will provide another cross-training option and also provide me with some much needed upper body exercise. 

Wanted: less pain and less rain

Today’s workout (elliptical): 25 minutes

I’m not sure if it’s due to method or to time, but after this morning’s elliptical session my legs are feeling much better. I’m used to experiencing soreness in my calves, quads and hamstrings after a race, but that usually goes away after a day or so. Cow Harbor really beat me up and recovery has taken four days. Next year I’ll make sure I do enough hill work prior to this race.

I’m disappointed to see that this week’s rain will hang over through the weekend. I’ve been looking forward to celebrating fall weather with a long run, but I’m not sure if I’ll have that option. It would be nice to return to the trails a change of view.  Besides that, dirt is more forgiving than pavement and I’m all for that right now.

The dreaded Day 2

Aleve and compression are good for the sole(us)

I should have known that Sunday’s hard running would eventually catch up with me. Usually I’m fine the day after a vigorous workout but then I pay for it on the second day. I’d fooled myself into thinking that running in the Hattori’s had sufficiently built up my gastrocnemius and soleus muscles but by early evening my calves were screaming. Perhaps bleating would be a better word. Yesterday’s semi-tough trail run probably contributed to that as well.

I took an Aleve before heading up to bed and wore my Zensah compression sleeves overnight. I had previously verified that it was okay to do that. This morning my lower legs still felt like they were fused to my ankles and making my way down the stairs required a tight hold of the banister. After an hour my muscles had loosened up. They were feeling far better by the time I made my train.

I’ve got a couple of errands to run around lunch today so I’ll have a chance to shake out the residual stiffness as I cover the streets of the city. I’m really hoping that things return to normal in time for my morning run.