Back in Business

That’s right, ladies and gentlemen of the blogosphere, I’m back in business. No, I’m not returning to my roadside beanie baby bed stand. Unfortunately, I believe that ship has sailed. But, after two and half months of elliptical trainers and Stairmasters, I’ve finally been able to start running again. This time, though, I’ve armed myself with a battery of anti-ITBS weaponry–that is, tricks and trades to keep that painful aching tendon at bay.

1. The Foam Roller

Foam Roller

I’ve been using this puppy religiously for 5-10 minutes after each and every run. For the video I watched to learn how to roll out my aching IT band (or “illiotibial tract”), click here. I’ll warn you–it is hella painful at first. (Yes, I used the word hella. It’s not generally a piece of my vocabulary, but seems most fitting to describe the sensation of squeezing all the lactic acid out of those hard-set knots.) BUT, as this article explains, and I whole-heartedly agree with, the foam roller has magical qualities, and is much cheaper than recurring trips to a massage therapist.

This is how I roll...

2. The Resistance Band

I was fortunate enough to be gifted these by one of the trainers we frequently work out with at the gym. Little did he know they were exactly what I needed for some extra IT band protection. Now, after my runs, I put the band right over my knees:

Then I do a little of this:

Side steps

Then some of this:

Leg Lifts

And a little of that:

Bridge

By strengthening my hips and thighs, and targeting that outer hip area that I’ve targeted as my “problem area” for IT band pain, I’m hoping to build up some strength for those longer distances.

3. The Pigeon

"The "Pigeon"

After learning this pose in Yoga, it’s one I turn to often. Now, hardly a day goes by that I don’t spend a couple minutes doin’ the pigeon. (I just got this great visual of “The Pigeon” as some kind of dance, involving a lot of head bobbing and arm flapping.)

4. This Stretch

Cross-Knee Stretch

Okay, I don’t know the name for this stretch. But it’s a good one. Just cross one ankle over the opposite knee, roll onto your back, and pull your legs in towards your chest. (P.S. You don’t have to lay down, but it makes for a pretty nice lower-back stretch, then, too.)

5. This Stretch

Standing Stretch

Alright, so I don’t actually know the name for this one either, but was recently introduced to it by a fellow runner. It seems to do the job, too.

I’m now doing what I call “pre-training training” for another half-marathon. As you know, I enjoyed my last one so much, and was super-bummed that my IT band pain kept me from competing in the Thanksgiving Gobbler Grind. A few weeks ago, I started by just running a mile, then stretching, stretching, stretching. Then I upped it to two miles and stretched, stretched, stretched. Now, I’m up to three- to four-mile runs, and am still (knock on wood) pain free. I’m hoping that with my collection of gadgets, and diligent stretching, I’ll be able to effectively train for and run the Rock the Parkway half-marathon in April.