So i’ve been injury central for the past month or so, which isn’t something i’m used to having been relatively injury free throughout my running ‘career’!
I had a problem with my groin at Endure24 which i saw a physio about. Turns out the pain was due to my hips only having 2 degrees of movement! They should have between 10-12 degrees! Can’t be good!
I’ve been doing exercises every since to sort this problem out, thankfully after 1 week i’d already increased the movement to 8 degrees. Next time i hope to be above 10.
The problem with this is i now have LOADS more movement within my hips which in the long term is brilliant, allowing for better and hopefully faster, more efficient running. However at the moment i think it is contributing to lots of little niggles. Latest being my left quad. it’s not too bad but hurts when i start running. I want to flush all these problems away so i can concentrate on my MdS training.
I’ve rested it for a few days now and it is getting a little better. However i have a 10k race tomorrow night which is 5k up hill, 5k down!
I happened to stumble across the following article on runnersworld.com and i’m wondering if i just grit my teeth and go for it????
It actually puts a bit of science behind my stupid theory that running an ultra cures injuries! Maybe it’s not been such a stupid idea all along!
DIAGNOSIS: QUADRICEPS PAIN
PRESCRIPTION: BRISK DOWNHILL RUNNING
In June 2007, I developed severe quadriceps pain. In the space of three weeks, my 5K time slowed by 2 minutes. My long run dropped from 15 miles to 5. I couldn’t run intervals. Couldn’t run on cement. Couldn’t walk up or down stairs at all.
I tried changing running shoes. I iced my quads after every workout. I stretched more. When that didn’t work, I stretched less. I gobbled Advil. Chased it with aspirin. Choked down handfuls of vitamins A, C and E. And finally quit running for a month.
When I returned to training, nothing had changed. My quads still ached.
Desperate, I resorted to a “cure” I’d read about on the Internet. But it sounded so preposterous, so incredibly counterintuitive, that I held little hope for success.
This is what I did: I jogged 2 miles up a fire trail in the nearby San Gabriel Mountains, and then I turned around and raced back down the trail at tempo effort. Before I’d gone half a mile, there were tears in my eyes. At a mile, I was mewling like a lost kitten. At the bottom, I hobbled to my car, certain that I’d done irreparable damage.
Three days later, my quads were as good as new. No, that’s a lie. They were better than new.
"Running downhill can cure quad pain once a runner’s legs adapt to the eccentric overload caused by the activity," says Beaverton, Ore., coach and exercise scientist Tom Schwartz. "Initially, the soreness caused by downhill running can be quite harsh. A parallel is the soreness caused by starting a new weight training regimen. Soreness is caused by the lowering of weights, which is the eccentric loading. Lifting weights, which is concentric loading, doesn’t cause soreness."
With concentric loading, our muscle shortens. When we perform dumbbell curls, a concentric contraction of our biceps bends our elbow, bringing our hand toward our shoulder.
Eccentric loading occurs when muscles lengthen and shorten at the same time. When we run, our quadriceps contracts when our foot touches the ground. This stabilizes our knee and stops us from collapsing. But even stabilized, our knee bends slightly, stretching our quadriceps as it shortens. This eccentric tug-of-war creates enormous tension in our quads.
Brisk downhill running increases the eccentric load on our quads, causing more muscle damage. The good news is that once our body repairs this damage, we’re left with quads that are pain-free, stronger and protected from further injury for up to six weeks.
Schwartz recommends running 20-to 30-second repetitions down a 3 percent grade at about 1500m–3K race speed. He suggests four repetitions for the first session, six reps a week later, and an additional two reps each week until reaching a maximum of 12. It’s important to note that easy downhill running will not provide the same effect.
When I suffered a new bout of severe quadriceps pain late last November, I went back to my fire trail and ran the same 2 miles of hard downhill. Two weeks later, I took first place in the national masters 10K cross country championships.
So tomorrow…i’m gonna smash that hill and hope for the best!