‘Listen to Your Body’

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It’s been over a year since my fitness journey began, first with weight training and HIIT then with running. And I’ve been injury-free – unless you count what happened at the River City Runners’ 24-Hour Treadmill Challenge (but let’s not).

I credit this mostly to proper training, along with dumb luck and good socks as I’ve never even had a blister.

I run four times a week and am at Blitz six days a week. My schedule will change, as I’m currently six-ish weeks away from full-on marathon training. I’m working on the details, but they will consist of a little less HIIT and a lot more running – including actual speed work, more hill training and long(er) distances.

But I have this hip thing…

Surprise! As a runner I’ve developed a bit of a tender left hip flexor. Repetitive use? Overuse? Yeah, probably. It’s likely been coming for a long time and has been hinting at an arrival over the past few weeks (I blame winter’s snow and spring’s ice, as well as perhaps my desk job and bad stretching habits). At first I was convinced I could just foam roll and golf ball the discomfort away, which sort of worked. Though I sought the expertise of a chiropractor as well, and learned the following: this is common in runners, my left leg is most definitely shorter than my right, and the custom orthotics I ordered are expensive. Overall, my chiropractor told me he can likely help me quite a bit over the span of a month as long as I don’t up my mileage and take it easy at the gym. In my opinion that meant I could still run and still go to the gym – as long as it didn’t hurt. But I did “rest” aka I didn’t run. I did still go to Blitz my regular amount… hell, one day I went twice. (Yes, you’re allowed to think I’m stupid now.)

A total of 11 days after my last run and seven days after my first chiropractic treatment, I decided to test my hip with a run this past weekend. I was feeling good heading out for a quick 6km, as my hip hadn’t bothered me since that first treatment (even with all the HIIT). At the 2.5km mark, though, I realized I would need to modify my schedule for longer than 11 days. And by modify my schedule, I mean my entire schedule.

For some reason I refuse to use the word “injured.” But I’m fully aware of what could happen if I let this get any worse. I still plan to start my marathon training mid-late April, and dive into it full force for four months before attempting 42.2km in August. But that means a bit more time off running and easing up on HIIT in the meantime. As someone who doesn’t miss a workout and never skips a run, this is hard as hell to swallow.

I’m concerned. I’m concerned about losing some of the gains I’ve made running. I’m concerned about changing what I eat since I won’t be running or working out as much. I’m concerned that I should (or shouldn’t?) incorporate something like yoga into my routine.

I’m also mad. I’m mad at myself because my hip hurts when I run. I’m mad at myself because I haven’t been running. I’m mad at myself because I didn’t go to HIIT yesterday.

But I’m trying to decrease the meltdowns and self-pity parties, and listen to the co-workers, friends, gym-mates, fellow runners and Blitz trainers who have all been delivering a similar message: “You’ve been going non-stop.” “You’re too hard on yourself.” “Take a rest.” “Listen to your body.”

If I see you at Blitz and you deliver a similar message, I may seem as though I resent it but I really do appreciate it.

I also appreciate (and am focusing on) what my chiropractor said:

“I know runners need to run. Let’s work together on this.”

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