Monday, June 28, 2010

Operation Glutes

I got home from Boise with two clear-cut goals: 1) Heal my ITB injury and all the little parts affected. 2) Enjoy the journey. I did not want to be a negative nancy because I couldn't train and race. Plus, look at it this way, an "offseason" was handed to me. Why not enjoy it?! First step: Indulge and let loose (granny terms of letting loose, mind you). So I indulged. But that got old quickly. It also felt like I gained 5lbs in 5 days. Major yuck.

Onto the main mission: Build a strong, injury-resilient body. I'm calling it "Operation Glutes" as a huge part of my ITB issues stem from weak glutes/hips. It's turning out to be more fun than I anticipated. Don't get me wrong--it kills me when seemingly everyone I know is out there racing on the weekends and killing it. But it is what it is.

On that note, a quick aside: I got to live vicariously through one of my athletes last weekend who raced at the Breath of Life Olympic Triathlon in Ventura. She did awesome: An age group podium in 25-29 F and top 10 overall. It also qualified her for AG Nationals, so I'm hoping she can go! Glad to see her hard work pay off, the girl works hard... thanks to me!

So meanwhile I have lots of "training" going on. Part of it's legit business; part of it's to maintain sanity and burn some calories! (Did I mention I LOVE to eat?!?!) Last week I got in 9.5 hours ......of things like yoga, mellow lake swims, surfing, PT exercises/strength-training, rowing, a couple bike rides and even a couple suuuuper short test runs. (Such a nerd--I actually logged all those things!)

As for specific ITB rehab, it's all about strengthening the glutes & hips, as well as some intense stretching, ART and foam-rolling. There are a lot of major and minor muscles just in that area that often go neglected, but without working on them specifically they can really make or break your endurance lifestyle. I wouldn't say my glutes/hips are overly weak/incapable, but they're part of my current problem and they definitely need some work to not only get better now but to handle the amount of training I wish to do in the future.

Here's a look at a typical non-weight-bearing at-home PT routine:

4x15 leg abduction with external/internal rotation (side leg lifts, turn toe up/down)
3x20 bridges + 3x10 single-leg bridges (variation: with weight)
3x20 clams (variation: with band)
4x15 prone hip extension
3x10 single leg squats or 3x10 single leg deadlift
5 rounds of lateral walk with band - lead with knee; keep good squat form!
3x15 leg adduction
3x5-10 side bridge hip abduction (also an ab workout, and hard!)
etc, etc, I might be forgetting something, etc...
plus a few rounds up pushups, abs/core strength, etc.

These things are truly difficult if you do them with 100% correct form. For certain exercises I'll sometimes throw on ankle weights, but with others no weight is necessary to feel the burn.

....And that's just what I do at home; it doesn't even touch on all the stuff I do at the gym, nor my flexibility work. That would make this post too long.

Then today I had a breakthrough, after what feels like ages (but really only ~1.5 months). Back up a little first... I've tried two test runs since Boise, and pain came within 5-8 min each time. Stopped and walked :( But today I ran 10 min pain free, with no pain after, either! And that was after a circuit training routine at SPI that involved an easy 400 m run and other run-specific stuff. Yessss!

Baby steps...

There's one last thing I forgot to mention. But I gotta get going, so stay tuned for my next post about a little "medical magic" I'm trying in the mix of this rehab (no not cortisone shots or drugs of any kind).


  1. Hi Tawnee! I know you said you didn't want to make the post too long or technical, but I'd be really curious to hear your full array of glute/itb-healing exercises, including the ones you do at the gym. I took some of the workouts you demonstrated a few months back and used them to strengthen the area around my knees with AMAZING success so your credibility on these types of things are through the roof!

    Nice job on the recovery though; it sounds like things are progressing well so far! When I went down with a knee issue, cycling came back before running did. It sounds like just the opposite for you though... weird!

  2. I am glad that things are going well in "Operation Glutes" I think I will give my recovery period a cool name like that. I think it will make it easier and more fun.

    Congrats to your athlete!!! That is too cool!

  3. seriously, this period is going to make you sooo much stronger, bothe physically and mentally.

  4. glad the PT is working :)ITBS is such a pesky thing to deal with. I see so many patients who neglect the glutes and back extensors... (especially runners and triathletes) But i would love some GF lunch ideas -for some reason that is where i struggle to find good ideas. Have a good weekend!

  5. sounds like your tackling the IT Band issue head on! Good luck, I have been there, you'll be surprised how quick it can heal with the proper exercises (which you got)

    Good Luck in your recovery!

  6. I predict you will come back stronger than ever.

    Mark your calendar for Kona in 2011 :-)

    All the best,