Hi everyone! I want to thank all of my visitors from the blog hop on Monday – I have never had that many comments on a post! I’m really looking forward to following all of your blogs too. It was a really nice distraction for me, because as you learned in this post, things have been a bit of a mess lately when it comes to running. On Monday I went to my very first physical therapy appointment ever at the recommendation of my coworker, and I was so nervous. After all the assessments I thought they’d just tell me that I’d injured something, but instead the doctor said that I have extremely weak hips and he has no idea how I am physically able to run long distances because I have no hip strength. I immediately felt embarrassed and like I was a “fake” runner. I have no idea why, since it’s not like I faked all those half marathons – I mean, I just ran one two weeks ago and had the time of my life! But I couldn’t shake how weird it felt to see him so shocked and surprised over the state of my hips as a half marathoner. He explained how I dump into each hip when I walk and balance on one leg, and that he shouldn’t have been able to push my legs as easily as he had in the assessments. At this point he prescribed me four exercises to do over the next week and gave me higher reps than usual because of my lack of strength. He said that they should be able to help me get stronger and hopefully identify what areas are the weakest for me. He took pictures of each exercise so that I could remember them later. Here’s what I got: (and remember, these were prescribed just for me and my wacky body so don’t take this as medical advice, but they might help with general hip strengthening!)
First, we’ve got clamshells. It looks like I get to just sleep in this one, but unfortunately I need to lift my upper leg open while keeping my feet together. I get 20 on each side.
Next, I do hip extensions on my forearms, 20 on each leg.
I then do my least favorite, side plank. I need to do 5 on each side and hold for 5 seconds each.
Finally, I do bridges. I start with a neutral spine, tuck my pelvis to flatten my back, and then dig my heels in to bring myself up to a bridge position with my knees apart. I do 20 of these. At least my view doing these at PT is nice, right?
When I left I felt really frustrated about everything. I mean, I knew I needed to strength train and do more yoga, but I never did. I just ran and ran and ran, and threw in 10 minutes of yoga and foam rolling a day and thought that was fine. I knew what I was supposed to do to be strong, but I didn’t do it and now here I am, another member of the Injured Runner’s Club with unbelievably weak running hips. And my PT wasn’t even sure how extensive the damage was (apparently hip weakness leads to lots of other problems) and wants to continue seeing me once a week for the next month to see how I’m progressing and to see what areas need the most help. The good news is that I’m allowed to do spin, yoga, and the elliptical on top of my daily exercises. The bad news is that I’m not allowed to run yet – he didn’t even want me to risk it at our appointment this week, so I’m getting my gait analysis done next week. He told me that I don’t even need to worry about rolling it out or massaging it – that it wouldn’t matter anyways.
I’ve had a few days to process everything, and I’m trying not to be too upset. Sure, I have no idea when I’ll be back in my running shoes again, and how long it will take me to get back to running a few pain-free miles. But I’ve been dying for a break in training, and with no long races on the horizon I can take it easy and let my body recover. I’m also planning on trying out lots of approved classes at the gym over the next few weeks. I’m realizing that my gym has a lot more yoga classes than I thought, and I’m looking forward to checking them all out. Real talk though: I think the hardest thing about being injured is knowing that I did this to myself, and that I might struggle to get back to normal for a while. I’ve got to really listen to my body, take things slow, and not hold myself to the standards I had before I was injured. It’s going to be a tough month, but I’m hoping I can use this time to get stronger as a runner.
I’m from Philly. Obviously a Rocky quote was coming at some point.
Have you ever been injured or gone to PT? How did you deal with not being able to run? What was your favorite safe way to stay active when you couldn’t run?