Distance training is clearly not for the faint of heart, nor is making sure that you stay healthy in the process. The last several weeks I have had a nagging pain in my left hip after longer runs and this past Sunday after my 10 mile run, where I even shaved off 8 minutes from my earlier 10 mile run time, I found myself hobbling like a 90-year-old woman. A lot of pain in my hip which Epsom Salts, foam rolling and compression didn’t seem to touch. The previous week’s long run had also left me in hobbling pain, so I decided to get into see my Chiropractor to see if I had some misalignment going on in my back. Boy, am I thankful that I went ahead and got in to see him!
You see, I have my first of several back-to-back races coming up on November 10th and I cannot afford to miss out on any training if I can help it and still be healthy. That means getting my runs in, long runs always on Sunday morning and even more importantly, getting my cross-training in. During my half marathon season I am also implementing my marathon training schedule which means even more miles. But being in pain from a hip injury makes you want to do nothing more than lay on the couch and feel sorry for yourself, but AIN’T NOBODY GOT TIME FOR THAT!
So this morning I went in to visit my doc and after evaluating my range of motion and pushing on several painful parts of my hip he shook his head and said, well, you have a common runners injury that most often is due to sever inflammation that comes in times of increased miles that is followed up by little to no stretching by the athlete. You have Bursitis of the Hip, which in medical terms this means that the Bursae, which are small fluid-filled sacs that reduce friction between moving parts in your body’s joints and hip bursitis is caused by inflammation or irritation of the bursae in your hip often caused by lack of stretching before and after long runs and increased mileage. Yup, that’s me, go run ALL the miles and forget about the stretching.
He smiled and said I had two choices of treatment, one of which he says is the most common, a Cortisone injection directly in the area of pain in the Bursa OR I could start taking the time to stretch before and after runs and every day in between and begin ice therapy for at least 2 twenty-minute sessions at night before bed. I never want to opt for the Cortisone injection if I can absolutely help it. It always just masks the pain and ultimately can cause you to injure yourself more severely with overuse and pushing through the injury. My doctor also advised that since I have a chronic inflammation disorder that the Cortisone injection really should not ever be an option that I jump up to take.
I made sure to take the time to ask all the questions that I could, like should I stretch before I run because I have read so many conflicting articles advising that you should not. Should I add yoga in my weekly recovery routine? But most importantly, can I still run!?! He smiled, nodded and then said, “yes, you can still run, BUT you must start taking care of your body after your workouts.” He advised me that if I have an extra hour in my schedule to fit in yoga that it wouldn’t hurt, but he gave me a series of stretching exercises that focus on my injury that I should do above all else. He also advised against rolling the area with inflammation or getting massage therapy directly on that area. This will only increase the inflammation and ultimately a longer delay in recovery.
So after my amazing training paced 10-miler yesterday and the excruciating pain that followed in my hip I finally got some answers about why. Everyone in the running world will be down with an injury at one point or another, what you choose to do to come back from that injury is entirely up to you. I choose to take the time to recover and get stronger. I will start the stretching and ice therapy, but more than that I will make sure that I continue to listen to my body and get in when it is telling me that something is not right. You can run all the miles on the planet, but you will never enjoy it if you are having chronic pain in the process.