Injury Prevention and Recovery: IT Band Syndrome

As a result of just moving into a new place and having to wait a week and a half for wi-fi (first world problems i know), I’m finally back to blogging!

We’ve all been there- you’re training hard and expecting a big PR in your next race when excruciating pain suddenly plagues you mid-run. Luckily these injuries can usually be prevented or you can make a quick recovery!

If you are a runner and have yet to experience IT band syndrome, you likely will. Whether it is simply some tightness in the band itself or a throbbing knee, taking care of your IT band is important!

Thanks to Google, I can tell you that the Iliotibial Band is a ligament that runs down the outside of the thigh from the hip to the shin. When ITBS occurs, the IT band becomes tight and inflamed from overuse. The biggest symptom is pain on the outside of the knee.

Luckily numerous visits to the physiotherapist and many hours of research have made me a self-proclaimed IT band prevention and treatment expert!

If you’re having severe pain on the outside of your knee that is keeping you from running, go to your physiotherapist. But, if you’ve never had IT band problems or have in the past, it’s time to start some stretching and strengthening to make sure it never keeps you from training! Here’s what to do:

1. Stretch. Stretching out your glutes will be your saviour. Do this stretch everyday for 1 minute (or more!) on each side.
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2. Foam Roll. If you think foam rolling is evil now, wait until you foam roll your IT band! It’s beyond painful, but so worth it! Try to roll each side for a minute everyday.

3. Strengthen your booty. Surprisingly, this is the most important. While there are many glute exercises that will benefit IT band syndrome, the classic “clam shells” work magically! Start with 30 on each side everyday and increase to 40 after a week or two.

How do you stretch and strengthen your IT band?

Post-Race Reflections

At last, after a year I was finally among throngs of nervous runners as I laced up and headed to the start line of the Beat Beethoven 8K race. As horrible as the nerves feel in the moment, theres no better feeling than right before the gun goes off, as the excited and scared energy of hundreds of runners fills the humid air.
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Having not raced in a year, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect as far as times and pacing goes but was hoping to be under 35 minutes. I struggled to pace myself and found my kilometre splits were all over the place. As a result I finished in 35:17. While I didn’t quite reach my goal, I am happy with the race and the results and have learned from the experience to not hold back, but rather keep the pace I know I can run.
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Overall it was a really fun event, followed by a delicious pancake brunch to celebrate with my parents. Today I am headed to the doctors to hopefully resolve a toe issue that has been forcing me to hold back from training too hard, followed by a long yoga session to stretch out my sore muscles and clear my head. Hope everyone else who raced this past weekend were happy with their results!