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?

Yoga Challenge

With the blog name “run towards zen”, you’d expect me to be a super calm and zen-like person. But, I’m still working on that, starting with yoga. I love yoga and know it is so important for my health and for my running. But, after I finish my run or bike, strength training and work a full day at Starbucks, it’s hard to find the motivation to hit the mat.
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That means it’s time for a 21-day yoga challenge! They say it takes 21 days to form a habit. Not sure if that’s completely accurate, but regardless I’m just going to go with it. I’m hoping posting it for the world to see will keep be accountable and motivated, so some words of encouragement are welcomed!!

This does not mean I’ll be doing hour-long sessions of intense power yoga every day. Some days may just have to end up being 10 minutes of some easy poses and a good meditation.

How yoga benefits running:

Running is an extremely repetitive form of exercise, and therefore creates tightness in your muscles making you susceptible to injuries. To avoid injury, it is important for runner’s to be flexible and strong! As we know, yoga poses aid our flexibility and are a form of stretching. It will loosen and lengthen your muscles to make us not only flexible but also stable!

When I first started practicing yoga, I honestly expected it to be pretty easy. I was wrong. It is not just sitting on a mat stretching. Yoga is a full body workout and works muscles you probably won’t know existed until you attempt to hoist your body of the ground using only your arms.

Lastly, the best part of yoga (in the opinion) is its ability to restore and calm your body and mind. It is definitely the best way to relax after hard workouts.

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Do you struggle to motivate yourself to get on the mat? Join my yoga challenge! As my favourite yogi/instagrammer Rachel Brathen says #yogaeverydamnday!