The Leg Bone’s Connected to the Shin Bone

I’m pumped to (cautiously) say that I think my peroneal tendonitis has been mostly cleared up!

A huge shout out to Kelsey at Spine Guys and Dr Hayer at Back and Body Health for getting my body back to normal. Ish.

Last Tuesday I went to my chiropractor for an adjustment and boy, did my body ever need it! After my Tuesday adjustment I noticed a huge difference in my running on Wednesday. So much so that I think a lot of my leg issues have to do with my hips being uneven.

For years I’ve battled with my left hip rolling up and in, basically shortening my left leg and the left side of my body.

I’ve also dealt with shin splints and peroneal tendonitis on my right side as well as my right ribs slipping out.

So in my completely not-a-doctor opinion, I’ve decided it’s all connected. I’ve used my epic skills in MS Paint to draw a diagram which will hopefully help with my explanation. If not? It’s still a totally epic drawing.

Crooked Body

I hope my drawing and summary makes sense.

After my adjustment last Tuesday and my speed work on Wednesday I had zero pain in my right leg. Seriously. ZERO!

My chiro instructed me to do some work to get my body used to being even (confession: I may have made a zillion trips to the bathroom mirror on Tuesday and Wednesday to check the alignment of my hips) so I’ve been doing squats, lunges, bridges and leg lifts to help isolate my glutes and convince my left side to start engaging.

And? Here is where I eat my words from last week. I said I don’t post mini-workouts on my blog and now I’m going to post one for you. I suppose that’s a perk to this being my blog – I can change my mind if I so choose 🙂

bum workout

I try to complete this workout after every run, it takes about 4 minutes. How do I know it takes four minutes? Well, when I make tea I set a time to steep it (otherwise I’d completely forget) and in the time it took my tea to steep I was able to complete my workout 🙂

Amanda also has a wonderful post on overcoming quad dependence and strengthening glutes here

I also found an excellent workout from the NTC app I spoke about last week. It’s in the Get Focused section and is the Perfect Alignment workout by Gabby Douglas. The first time I did this I thought I was going to die after 10 minutes, so I guess that means it’s working, right?!

photo (2) photo (3)

The five exercises above are repeated three times for 15 minutes (go math!!) and, guys, it’s hard.

Note: since the NTC app is a free app and not a paid program or a workout prepared by a personal trainer I decided it’s okay to share on the blog. If you don’t have the app already, seriously – get it! 🙂

My hope is that by strengthening the weaker areas of my body (core and glutes) I’ll be able to teach my left hip to stay put and that will help prevent (or, at the very least, reduce) any injuries in the future.

Tell me: What are the weak areas in your body? What do you do to strengthen them?

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Injuries Happen

When I think about my training over the past few months, I feel very up and down about it. When my training goes well, it goes really, really well. When it goes poorly, it goes especially poorly.

For example: December. I was sick and ran all of 22km in an entire month. No joke. December was a super, duper crappy month.

January was much, much better. I was healthy (yay!) and was able to train for the Glass Slipper Challenge and I felt pretty good about my runs. (Total mileage 100km).

February was better than January, with the exception of the cold that took me down for a few days – I managed 127km in February.

Why am I telling you all of this? Because if you look at my mileage for January and February and then I tell you I ran 54km in seven days in March, it’s pretty easy to see why I have some lower leg pain. I ran more than double of my December mileage, over half of my January mileage and 43% of my February mileage in one week.

I think that’s probably the definitely of too much too soon. Whoops.

And so this week? I’ve been resting and researching.

I’ve struggled with outer lower leg pain for a quite a while. When I first experienced it, I mentioned to my old massage therapist and my chiropractor that it felt more like tendonitis than what I thought shin splints would feel like, mainly because the pain originates near my ankle bone.

After doing some research with Dr Google today, it seems it might actually be tendonitis. Peroneal Tendonitis to be exact.

So, what the heck it is?

Symptoms of peroneal tendonitis include pain and swelling on the outside of the ankle just below the bony bit or lateral malleolus. Pain is often worse during activity but gets better with rest. There may be pain when pressing in on the peroneal tendons on the outside of the ankle. Pain may be recreated by stretching the peroneal muscles by inverting the foot or turning it inwards as well as attempting to do the reverse against resistance.

(source)

tendonitis

In my highly non-doctor opinion, this very much sounds like what I’m experiencing, and not actual shin splits. This can also be caused by high arches (check!) because additional pressure is put on the outer edge of the foot.

I first started experiencing this pain in yoga (weird, I know) because in wide-leg poses, I tend to put more pressure on the outer edge of my foot and not equally over the 4-corners of my foot (in yoga-speak).

Lucky for me, I have a massage therapy appointment this evening, so I’ll see what my therapist thinks and what she recommends for rehab. Having a crazy insane race scheduled in 11 weeks is a tough balance for me. I have a lot of high-mileage weeks coming up, so taking a lot of time off scares me, but so does injuring myself further, so I need to come up with a good plan of attack.

The last time I saw her I asked what her feelings were about the Graston technique (and, if you remember, I think my therapist is pretty awesome) and she’s not a fan. Her reasoning is that it’s similar to massage, but can create additional swelling and scar tissue due to the intensity of the procedure, thus increasing the risk of injury. So, while I’m intrigued by it, I think I’m going to hold off and try some other rehab techniques instead.

What rehab am I looking at?

First off, massage. I’ve used both massage and chiropractic techniques to treat the majority of my running pains and it’s always worked very well for me. My massage therapist uses both massage and cupping to treat tight areas and it’s worked very well for me.

My chiropractor uses active release and electrotherapy and is very encouraging when it comes to running and not stopping (so long as it won’t make it worse).

For at home recovery, I’m a big fan of ProCompression sleeves for recovery when at work (they hide well under pants!) and KT Tape. When my legs are quite bad, I find taping works wonders and I’ve been using KT Tape for years without issue.

photo (34)

Athletic tape is now fashionable – look at me coordinating to my shorts!!

I’m also considering purchasing a PowerPlay compression wrap. I first heard about these from Danielle and given I’m a fan of compression for healing, I think a wrap that includes both compression and icing is a great idea.

powerplay

What’s holding me back? The price tag. Since I’m still in saving mode (and I should probably write a post about this since my debt free timeline has been moved by about 3 months, and not in the good direction) I’m hesitant to pay $350 for this, but if it works, it would definitely be worth it!

I’m also, not-very-seriously-but-it’s-in-the-back-of-my-mind, considering a Compex electrotherapy device for at-home use. These guys are also pricey, so it would certainly be purchased after the wrap (possibly well after). The Compex Edge (the lowest model) is $399 and while I’m certain it would be helpful, I can also see my chiropractor eight times for the price of the Compex.

compex

I’m definitely a bit bummed that I’ve missed my scheduled Monday and Tuesday runs, but I know rest is the best way to approach this. I’m hopeful I can come up with a plan with my massage therapist this evening and maybe dial down my mileage a tad so I don’t keep injuring myself – this one was definitely all on me.

Tell me: How do you approach injury? What do you use to recovery quickly?

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The Thursday Runs: Staying Healthy

photo (37)

As shown in my marathon training plan there are numerous types of runs used to prepare for a race. In this series I’m breaking down the types of runs, what they mean and their purpose, and also talking about other important such running things.

With 24 days to go until my marathon, making sure I stay healthy and injury free is super duper important! There are a few ways I’ve gone about trying to stay healthy and before talking about speedwork (coming next week!) I wanted to touch on health since speedwork is one of the more common ways injuries happen.

On Sunday I logged my furthest run to-date: 30.8km, or a little over 19 miles. My original plan had me running 30km on Saturday, but I woke up with some aches and pains in my right calf and glute and I knew going for a run would be setting myself up for failure; it was unlikely I’d make it the full distance and I was pretty sure I’d just end up hurting more.

I put in a phone call to my favourite chiropractor and was able to get a same day appointment (hooray) in the hopes I’d be able to run on Sunday without issue (nevermind that I was going out with girlfriends on Saturday evening….). A visit to my chiro and some foam rolling put me in good shape to complete my nearly 31km run on Sunday (just 200m shy!).

Chiropractic

When I’m not heavy in training, I see my chiropractor every 4-6 weeks. I’ve been seeing her for nearly five years – I started when I was having huge issues with my back and work and now my visits have progressed to my running injuries. She’s helped me with IT band issues, tight glutes and shin splints. Now that I’m just three weeks out from my race, I’m seeing her ever other week, or when I need to come in, like this weekend.

Massage Therapy

I’ve had an on-and-off relationship with massage therapy. I love massages (getting my hair done and massages are up there in the top two things I love most in the world) but finding a good massage therapist can be a bit of a challenge. Thankfully I found the most wonderful massage therapist this winter and she’s done amazing work on my back and lower body. I’ve even left with bruises on my butt!

Foam Rolling

Foam rolling is something every runner knows they should  do, but often don’t. I’m that person. However, I know that foam rolling may hurt for the 60 seconds I’m rolling, but once I’m done the pain is gone. A few weeks ago I downloaded an app (PEAR Training Ingelligence) that has a 13 minute foam rolling exercise (under the flexibility category), so I’ve started doing that after every run and it’s really helped things. I’ll also use a tennis ball for my feet and glutes.

After a run I’ll also lay on my back with my legs straight up in the air for about 5 minutes to help drain the fluid from my legs.

FitSugar has a short article on foam rolling and some how to’s here.

Ice Baths

Ugh.

Cold.

I really really hate being cold.

There’s some conflicting data on whether ice baths actually do help with muscle recovery; however, I believe if it works for you then it won’t do any harm to continue to use them. I buy a bag of ice on my walk home from my long run (I have a teeny freezer) and dump it into my bathtub after raising my legs and completing my foam rolling workout. I’ll hang out in the tub with a cup of coffee (after refueling!) for 15-20 minutes and then reward myself with a nice hot shower.

Cross-Training

Confession. I suck at cross-training. Heck, I’ve even emailed myself an awesome cross-training workout from Runner’s World and haven’t done it once. Bad, bad, bad.

However, the same app that has the foam rolling workout also has a quick (9 minute!) cross training workout that I’ve started to do after my shorter runs (I do nothing after a long run. Nothing. No thank you, I’m tired). It’s so easy, I have zero excuses to not complete the exercises:

  • 60 second plank
  • 60 seconds pushups
  • 60 seconds leg extensions on stability ball
  • 60 seconds lunges x 2 (1 minute each leg)
  • 60 seconds squats

BOOM. No excuses, right?!

What do you do to stay healthy while training?

Intro

Tempo

Hills

LSD

Steady

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Crazy Body

I know what you’re thinking: Yay! Another post about running! I LOVE reading about running 🙂

I know. Me too 🙂

This has been a pretty up and down week for running. If you had asked me yesterday afternoon how I felt about my runs I’d have told you they were crap and it was a crap running week.

If you asked me this morning how I fel about my runs I’d say pretty damn good.

It’s amazing the difference one run makes.

I wasn’t even sure if I’d end up making my run last night – I skipped my hills on Wednesday because I was feeling under the weather and my headache was hanging around a little bit on Thursday afternoon as well.

I had a chiropractor appointment in the evening, so I made sure to bring all of my running gear with me in case it worked out to go for a run. Not five minutes after leaving my house a thunderstorm rolled in with pouring rain – it sure looked like my run wasn’t going to happen. In the 15 seconds it took me to run from my car to my chiropractor’s office I was soaked. Ummm, definitely not running in that. No thank you.

However, when I left her office (Back and Body Health to anyone in Calgary. Go there, it’s amazing!) 40 minutes later the rain had stopped. HOORAY.

Decision made; the run was happening.

My initial plan was to go for an easy 10k run averaging around a 6:00min/km (9:36min/mile) pace just to warm up my legs.

I started off at what I thought was an easy and comfortable pace. I felt good, loose and relaxed.

Well, when RunKeeper told me my first km was done in 4:58 my entire plan for my run changed. I was going for a PR (personal record).

In training.

Why yes, I am certifiably insane.

10k 2 10k 1

 

This makes no sense to me, either.

It really doesn’t.

My previous PR for 10k was 55 done in July of this year.

Before then? 56 done in August of last year.

My body is definitely confusing me right now, but I’m just going to roll with it.

I am working on a separate post where I want to talk about why I think I’m faster, but for now, I’m just baffled and pleasantly surprised.

I’m not going to question it since I kinda like this newfound speed 🙂