Training: My IT Band is Angry


Last week, I went on my usual Monday morning hike with two friends. On the way back, my knee started getting very unhappy. By the time I got back to the car, I emailed a fellow runner and described the pain as “stabby.” While it felt more isolated in my knee while I was hiking, by the time I got home it was abundantly clear that I could trace the source of the pain right back up my thigh and into my hip. Yes, it was the dreaded IT band.

Not familiar with your IT band? Lucky you; you must not be a runner. This page from Rice University describes it as “a tough group of fibers that run along the outside of the thigh.” Yep, for anyone who’s ever spent quality time on a foam roller, “tough” may be the only word that even touches it.

I spent Monday afternoon rolling it out and icing it, and on Tuesday I let the acupuncturist work on it a bit. It was much better after I left his office, but stiffened up and got cranky again by Tuesday night.

I figured that on Wednesday, at Pilates, Mercy would grab the Evil Stick of Torture and force that thing into submission. Instead, she opted not to inflame it further (ah, perfectly sensible when I think about it) and instead work on intense stretching of my hips. By the time I left her studio, it had stopped hurting for the first time in more than 48 hours.

I’ve taken it easy for most of the week, walking instead of running and trying not to go too crazy at Zumba on Saturday. I want to make sure that I take good care of myself so that I’m injury free when I walk into Team in Training kickoff next Saturday in San Francisco.

And speaking of that, it’s not too late to register with your local Team chapter to run the Nike Women’s Marathon in October. All Team in Training participants are guaranteed a spot in the race, no lottery necessary. Sign up online and a lovely Team representative will contact you to walk you through the process.

Have you had IT band problems? Have you ever run a race for charity? Tell me about it.

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