Why I’m Not Running This Week (And Maybe Next Week Too)

Hi everyone!  So I’ve got a little bit of an issue right now.  Well, maybe more than a bit of an issue.  You may have noticed little hints of this in my posts over the last month, but now it deserves its own post.  Because as much as I hate to admit it, I think I’m injured.  Let me explain:

If you’ve been reading my blog regularly in 2015 you’ll remember that I got some weird butt and “hip pain” back in January. I got and x-ray and MRI and my doctor ruled out anything serious. He told me not to overdo it or increase my milage too fast, and I think I did a pretty good job of that. But ever since then, I’ve had a nagging pain in my butt whenever I run. It started out really subtle, but by May I was feeling it pretty hard and even had to take some time off running during my trip to Fairbanks so that I could get better during Her Tern Half training. After Her Tern, I felt okay and dropped my milage a bit while training for Ragnar CO and the Klondike Road Relay. I was able to maintain long runs of up to 8 miles, so I figured that throwing in one last half in 2015 would be no problem. Except that the slight butt pain turned into a lot of pain during my long runs – and now I’m feeling it on every run, no matter the speed or distance. It’s like a pinch in the middle of my left butt, and sometimes spreads into my low back and during my 10 miler even spread down the side of my leg. Despite getting through the Columbia Gorge Half Marathon without feeling this pain at all, it’s not going away now and I feel it even when I’m just walking around. And so I have to admit that I think I’m injured, and I think I need a break from running.

i just want to run…but I can’t.

My intense Googling has led me to believe that the pain is my sciatic nerve, and that I’ve got piriformis syndrome. If this is true, the good news is that it can be fixed with stretching, strengthening, cross training, and even a tiny bit of low-intensity running (as long as I listen to my body and know my limits).  And since it seems like there’s a lot I can do to get back to normal again, here’s what I’ve got planned for the next few weeks:

  • I’m going to see a PT that my coworker highly recommends on Monday to learn more about the cause of my specific injury, how to recover, and how to prevent this in the future. It looks like it’s caused by weakness in other surrounding muscles, as well as my running form and overpronation (which makes sense because I just started working on improving my running form during Her Tern training and I run in ASICS Kayanos for overpronation control) so I’d love to get some strengthening exercises and tips on how to fix my form.
  • No running until my PT says that it’s okay to do so and I feel pain free.  I’m struggling to imagine life without running, but I know I can’t push it and need to get better before I go out for any more runs.
  • Now that my last long race of the year is over, I can turn my full attention on cross training and spending more time in the gym getting stronger.  I’m hoping I can do strength training, yoga, and spin classes so that I can get stronger, work on my flexibility, and keep up my cardio.
  • I’m going to cut waaaaay back on milage over the next few months.  I’m hoping to still be able to do all of my planned winter races, although if I need to walk the Turkey Trot and the Jingle Bell Run for Arthritis I will – and I can skip signing up for the others.  I’m 90% finished with my goal of running 500 miles in 2015 and if I don’t make it, that’s okay!
  • Lots of epsom salt baths  🙂


I’m not sure what the next few weeks will be like, but I realize that this is what I need to do if I want to keep running long races in 2016. My goal is to stay healthy and I’ll do anything it takes to get me back there.  For now, look for more gym selfies and less running pictures!  And the second I’m able to run I’ll let everyone know of course  🙂

Have you ever had this type of pain?  What did you do to recover and get back to normal?

25 thoughts on “Why I’m Not Running This Week (And Maybe Next Week Too)

  1. Boo, I’m sorry to hear this, but glad you’re taking steps to get better! I’m planning to do lots more cross-training when I start marathon training in January. There’s a spin studio LITERALLY around the corner from me, so I’m hoping to make that a habit. Fingers crossed that you’re back running soon!

  2. I have piriformis pain sometimes when I’ve increased my intensity too quickly. It an take a long time to go away (for me), but I don’t think it ever bothered me while I walked and it wasn’t sciatica as it didn’t involve my back or leg.

    Let’s hope it’s not something that will keep you out for long. I bet it isn’t.

    1. I hope so! It’s still hurting today which is not making me feel too optimistic at this point. I can’t wait for the PT to clear some things up for me!

  3. oh i’m so sorry to hear this. once again in our runner twinsie-ness, i just got over an injury that left me unable to run for about 3 weeks after my last half. but, now i have no pain! so i’m sure your pt will tell you everything you need to do to be back in no time 🙂 i’m loving biking for cross-training and am hoping to add swimming in soon.

    1. No way! We really are twins! I’m thinking some rest will help a lot. I think the cross training I’ve done so far this week is aggravating it a bit, so I may back off a bit until I see the PT. Spin is great though!

  4. Boo! 😦 It sounds like you’re approaching it smartly, though… better to nip it now and start working on getting it better than continuing to run and make it possibly worse. I hope it’s not serious and that it goes away quickly!

  5. aw I had a feeling this was coming! Hope you feel better asap!! Butt pain that increases into your back is nothing to mess around with! I think it’s really great you are taking this opportunity to focus on your form though!

  6. Just “survived” this injury myself and what ultimately stopped the immediate was INTENSE stretching….google Yin Yoga and hopefully you can find a studio that offers it in your area. It not only helped the immediate issue but it’s part of my “preventive” practice as well. I would also ask around for an athlete focused chiropractor or osteopath to help with resetting your base – even before you crank up your strength training – to get you back into alignment. My right leg was over an inch shorter than my left because of movement in my hips! Your PT may be able to help with a referral too 🙂 GOOD LUCK!!!

    1. No way! It makes me so happy to hear that you were able to fix it. I do think that what I did yesterday/today at the gym may be irritating it more than I want, so I’m probably going to stick to yoga and spin and do less squats until I’m feeling better. Thanks so much for all the tips!

      1. oh yes!!!! hold off on the squats….you’re just aggravating that whole muscle group – ouch!!! a tennis or lacrosse ball on your bum (will be painful but worth it!) will also do wonders in breaking up the fascia and allowing you to get even more out of the stretching 🙂

    1. Thank you! I’m really excited to talk to the PT and see what he thinks about everything. I’m hoping I just need another week off or something. I miss running already!

  7. Sorry to hear you are in pain still 😬 Glad you are gonna take the proper route to recovery hope you feel better soon and hopefully we can run her tern together again next year ☺️ Cheers to full recovery🍻

  8. This sounds exactly like what I have and have been running through for the last couple months! I went to a highly recommended massage therapist, and it turns out my muscles are just very tight, causing other muscles to compensate (it fascinates me how all our muscles are connected and influence each other). I’ve had two sessions so far, and the pain is nearly gone! Two recommendations she made that I’ve applied: 1) I’m a side sleeper, so she recommended a knee pillow to so my hips don’t overstretch when I sleep, and 2) a stability ball chair since I have a desk job and am sitting all day. Hope this helps!

    1. Wow that’s awesome that you recovered so quickly! In all of my intense googling I discovered the pillow tip so I’ve started doing that. The stability ball thing is a great idea though! Thanks for letting me know how you were able to get past this injury!

  9. What is it with the hip and butt pain??? It’s like a disease right now. Heal up, do your due diligence, and keep me updated on your recovery! Fingers are so crossed for both of us!

    1. It really is! I had no idea so many other people were going through this right now. I don’t know if I should feel relieved that I’m not alone or sad that all of us are out of commission right now (honestly, I’m probably feeling both things!). I hope we both get through this as quickly as possible!

  10. Hey Doll! One of the things I do with ALL my personal training clients are piriformis stretches. It’s VITAL for anyone that does a lot of lower body exercise or runs frequently. I’m glad that you are taking the advice of your doctors. You certainly don’t want to risk further injury!!

  11. Ugh, no fun! How did the PT appointment go?

    I had/have a pinched nerve in my back that causes muscle spasms in my calves or my feet to fall asleep. It go so bad a few years ago I finally had to ask my doc. AFTER all sorts of tests and specialists, he finally sent me to a sports PT. Within 30 seconds he told me the problem and how to fix it. I worked with him for a few months with great results and now I know how to manage it when flair-ups happen. The power of the PT!

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