Running Rehab

by Heather

I was pleasantly surprised when I hit the pavement a few weeks after my son was born. My knee didn’t hurt and things didn’t feel that different. I took things painfully slow- alternating walking and running, being uber diligent not to overdo things.

running after pregnancy

While things were ok at first, it quickly became clear that I wasn’t going to be able to give myself the consistency I needed in order to train properly. As we reached the peak of the no-sleep debacle, I just didn’t have it in me to get out there and run on a consistent basis- slowly cutting down the walking intervals and gradually building mileage. I definitely didn’t have the time the dedication to commit to my rehab exercises in the manner I needed to in order to see progress. You don’t build muscle or gain strength by haphazardly doing a few PT exercises every few days. So after awhile I sort of subconsciously through in the towel.

Once the baby started sleeping {halleluiah} I started to get some of my energy back. Before long I was itching to get back out there, but the lack of sleep and breastfeeding had taken it’s toll on me. Even with a good warm-up, five steps into a run I was limping in pain. While I was angry and frustrated to still be dealing with this old nagging injury, I knew what the problem was this time- I had {and have} zero muscle.

Forget muscle imbalances – a leading cause of injury – I had a serious case of muscle wasting. Lack of sleep destroys you, both mentally and physically. Add to that the physical burden of breastfeeding and I was a lost cause. I love nursing my son and I think it’s the best choice for him, but it requires a TON of calories. Even when I stuff my face, I can barely keep up with the demand. There are no extra calories left for me to build muscle, gain weight, or fuel a run.

running rehab vibrams

Even though I’d love to just lace up my neon shoes and dart out for a run, it’s a back-to-basics approach for me. Instead of waiting for injury to knock me on my butt, I started where I left off last time around- with my beloved chiropractor. He’s a sports-focused chiropractor specializing in Active Release Technique. He’s an athlete himself and I knew from my past experience with him that he could help get me off on the right foot {pun intended}.

Turns out it may not really be my IT band that’s the culprit. Over the course of the month he gave me a whole boatload of new exercises to target my weaknesses, kneaded out some of the kinks in my leg, and helped me work on my running form and cadence {again}.

Now it’s up to me to be a good patient and find the dedication to truly focus on the rehab and rebuilding my strength. Committing to the rebuilding phase is what will get my back on my feet, running like I long to be. I can’t wait for the physical and mental relief a nice long run brings. Smile

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

MIz January 14, 2013 at 9:44 am
ahhh the IT BAND. mine ...um...hates me and IM NOT A RUNNER :-)
Heather January 15, 2013 at 1:33 pm
That's just cruel. ;)
Erica { EricaDHouse.com } January 14, 2013 at 9:54 am
Sigh. I am dealing with IT band/knee issues right now that are preventing me from running and it's SO frustrating!
Heather January 15, 2013 at 1:35 pm
Ugh frustrating is right- so sorry you are having to deal with that!!
Andrea @ fromfltond January 14, 2013 at 9:54 am
Lack of sleep when you have a baby is beyond hard. I'm still trying to figure out how I even functioned with no sleep in the beginning. Patience is hard too. I'm just getting back into the running game, and you just want to start off where you left off at and it doesn't seem to work that way. Here is to staying injury free!
Heather January 15, 2013 at 1:36 pm
i have no idea how I made it through either! It'd be a lot easier to be able to start right where we left off, but hopefully we'll both get back there one day- soon!
Carolina John January 14, 2013 at 2:35 pm
Be a good patient. Core work will fix most ITB problems. And get some rest!
Heather January 15, 2013 at 1:36 pm
I'm doing my best to be a good patient! Isn't it funny how core work can fix a knee (and so many other) problems?!
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