Embracing Rest

Usually I’m all about “Embracing the Hill, picking the toughest route and going after it. Today is much different. Today marks eight days of not running. It is self-prescribed rest, which I’m convinced is what a physical therapist will recommend when I finally get into my appointment on the 17th. What brought on this running hiatus: what I believe to be high hamstring tendinopathy; basically tendinitis in the tendon at the top of the hamstring muscle group. Granted this is a self-diagnosis at this point and has yet to be confirmed by my PT, but based on this very helpful article and an email into my PT sister-in-law (who really knows her stuff) I’m pretty sure that high hamstring tendinopathy has been the cause of the achy/tightness I’ve been experiencing since August.

high-hamstring-tendonipathy

High Hamstring Tendinopathy

Choosing rest isn’t always the easiest thing for me to do, more often than not (which seems to be the case with most runners) I push through minor pain and keep training, especially if I have a race coming up. In August as I felt a tightening in my hamstring/glute area I treated it with two days off, a few visits to the chiropractor and massage therapist and then I was back at it. Helpful, but probably not enough. But I had a race coming up. I wasn’t willing to risk taking DAYS off (now I’m entering my second WEEK off). I continued to run through September, October and into the beginning of November and the achy, tightness never really went away. I would feel it most at the beginning of a run before I warmed up, at faster paces and after especially hilly runs. Mostly I felt stiff and inflexible not painful. Usually stuff like that works itself out, but this has not. Which brought me to Google last week after a strong, but hilly 10 miler on Sunday–my hamstring was nice and tight afterwards. I have to do something about this I thought. Before it gets too bad.

I won’t know for certain what exactly I’m dealing with, the severity and the possible recovery time until I see the physical therapist on the 17th. But I’m hoping that two weeks of not running will put me ahead of the recovery game. Honestly recovery and rest aren’t places I like to be. I function better in “hard” and “challenging.” I love the work of running and training. So resting doesn’t come easy. Quite honestly it is very reminiscent of last year, when I was forced to rest thanks to a weak pelvic floor and leaky bladder. I can remember last year in those weeks of not running wanting desperately to run. For me the run isn’t always about the run. If it was I’d be a happy treadmill runner. No, for me a big part of the run is about the ROAD. As cheesy as it may sound I really do run for the road ahead. There are some roads I have a “relationship” with. I run them for how they make me feel, for the view, for the hill, for the memory of a certain run, for the curve and the bend in the road. There’s something about certain roads, that calls me outside to run down them. When I don’t run. I miss those roads. I miss those bends and curves and hills. I miss the way they make me feel and the things they make me think about. Sometimes I drive down them even when I can’t run down them, and I think about how THIS spot looks like from the ground when I’m running.

ROAD AHEAD

Missing the road isn’t the only hard part about rest. I miss training FOR something. Like a spring marathon. I abandoned last years plans for a spring marathon (and rightly so…my pelvic floor was in no shape for the pounding it would have received form marathon training). I’m wondering if I’ll need to abandon that plan again. I’m not sure I can train the way a marathon warrants, especially if I’m recovering. It is disappointing. I’m finding thanks to my experience last year that I’m much more relaxed when it comes to future running goals. If there is no spring marathon, there will be something other goals that can take it’s place. Goals that are much more inline with what my body is capable of. I

I may or may not have to modify my goals, but I do know that the less you run the more fitness you lose. Rest is important. But when you work so hard to get to a certain level of fitness, potentially PR fitness, there can be a fear that all that will be lost with rest. Experience has proved to me that this isn’t true. I’ve come back from each pregnancy faster. Yes, I may loose fitness, but it will come back and probably much more quickly than recovering from labor and delivery. Rest doesn’t always mean a loss.

Forced rest also gives me time to focus on my weaknesses. Specifically my pelvic floor, hips and core which are obviously STILL weak a year after giving birth. These are all contributing factors to high hamstring tendinopathy. But those are the only potential culprits: I’m pretty aware my running form is deficient. I over-stride. Which means my lead foot reaches way out in front of my hips, forcing the hamstring to pull my hips back over my knees/feet as I stride forward. That added load on the hamstring is mostly likely a huge contributing factor to the achy/tightness I feel. So now, during this time of rest I have the chance to strengthen my hips and core. I also have the chance to work on adjusting my stride (not an easy task for sure), working to get the lead leg underneath my hips instead of out in front of them.

Rest and injury aren’t always fun. But I’m trying to apply that “Embrace the Hill” philosophy to something I find even harder than hills: rest.

Here’s to Embracing the Rest!

-Sarah

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Comments

  1. says

    I really feel for you. I have recently decided to take December off completely from running to make sure a knee niggle fully goes away. I was fed up of it flaring up from time to time, it just seemed sensible to take a time out and work on fixing why I had the issue in the first place. It really does suck though – I’m beyond envious of every runner I see out there :(

    • scanney says

      It is hard to take time off. But I think increases the longevity of your running career. You don’t want something pesky to turn into a chronic injury!

  2. says

    I’ve been having a lot of tightness on my right side that sounds a lot like your injury. One thing that seems to help is warm (not hot) yoga, with stretches particular to the hamstrings and hips.

    I hope whatever is ailing you will be treatable!

  3. says

    Prayers for you during this self-induced rest:-) Proud of you for doing it! I’ve been trying to encourage my dad through a time of rest right now too, he had planned on BQing in Charleston in January until a leg injury sidelined him a month ago. While I am not the level of runner he is, I was unable to run after pregnancy complications for 6 months. It took me 2 years to finish a marathon again but man was it worth it. I learned so much through those years and my focus completely changed on “why I run”. It was tough, no question about it, but in the end we can look back and see how far we’ve come. Hang in there and stick to embracing the rest for the lessons it holds.

    • scanney says

      Thx so much! I think rest really does force is to stop and reevaluate why we run. And gives us a chance to focus on other things too:)

  4. jennypoore says

    I know I won’t be the only one to tell you this but you’re doing the right thing. I’ve had a very similar situation these past few months and I’m just starting to feel normal again. The winter is a good time to rest, recharge, and recover–don’t beat yourself up too much! I’ve had my fair share of therapy this fall and if I could recommend one treatment, it would be ART. My specialist has actually released the area that you’re having problems with very easily. You’re going to be back at it in no time and these few weeks off will feel as quick as the blink of an eye…promise :)

    • scanney says

      Thanks Jenny! I feel bummed thy I can’t train like I want to but I ran my body pretty hard this spring-fall so I think it needs the rest. Good luck to you too!

  5. says

    Way to listen to your body! I hope it is nothing serious. If you get a clean bill of health, come run the Albany Marathon with me in GA on March 1 :) Keeping my fingers crossed that all goes well on the 17th! xo

    • scanney says

      Thanks! I’d love to run with you! And so bummed we are just missing each other at Disney! Ill keep you posted on Albany and still really want to do fitbloggin with you! Probably will be one or the other;)

  6. says

    I’ve had the same thing for a bit now and yoga has helped immensely. Strongly recommend. the good news is that my PT allowed me to run – just wasn’t allowed hills and speed work. Had to keep things mellow for a bit. Good luck!! xo

    • scanney says

      Oh that’s good news! I have a yoga DVD that I do regularly, but I need to get I to a class. I found that barre helped a lot too:)

  7. says

    I too think that it’s really great that you are embracing the rest and allowing your body to heal. Injury/strain in the area that you’re talking about is no joke. I’ve had something similar for the better part of the year. It doesn’t bother me as much now but I know that I can really really push it. It is so hard to embrace rest especially if it means that we can’t do the thing that we love. I hope your appointment goes well on the 17th and that you are back at it soon!

Trackbacks

  1. […] run was my longest run in a month (my last long run was 10 miles on December 1st before taking three weeks off). I wasn’t sure how my hamstring would feel after the two mile mark. Would it tighten? Or […]

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