Screeching Halt

I have shifted my workouts into high gear lately. Doing that 65 minute Bob Harper Pure Burn Super Strength DVD three days a week, running 4-5 miles two days a week, doing a long run of 6-8 miles on Saturdays, and unwinding (literally) with yoga on Sundays. I’ve been careful with my ITB and I’ve been stretching, but I have been pushing myself. 

As the weather and road conditions made me turn to my treadmill for more of my runs, my runs got more intense. I have a hard time (mentally) doing a “steady state” run on the treadmill. Even the incline variations of the “random” or “sport training” programs aren’t enough if I want to run for 45 minutes or more. So, I turned to hill intervals, speed intervals, and tempo programs.

If I had stuck to one of these intense workouts a week, I would have been fine. Even two with a lighter day in between probably would have been OK. But I was pushing it with the Super Strength DVD (which includes ploymetric segments with jump squats, lunges, and mountain climbers) on alternate days while “playing” with challenging treadmill programs on the other days.

That all came to a screeching halt on Thursday. After my kick-ass tempo run (which felt great at the time), I ended up with a literal (and acute) pain in my ass, probably my left piriformis muscle.

Thursday night I turned to rolling, stretching and icing.  Friday morning I did the “twists” program on my Rodney Yee DVD and iced some more. At work Friday I alternated ice and heat. Last night I did more stretching and icing.

This morning  I woke up feeling good.  Maybe 75% better. At another time in my life, I would have “tested it out.” Tried 20 or 30 min on the elliptical or even 30 min on the treadmill. Or maybe a strength routine with no squats. But one of the things I read last night stuck with me.

One website I came across said that piriformis syndrome should be treated by the standard RICE approach: Rest Ice Compression and Elevation (although I’m not sure how to compress and elevate!).  I was doing that. But it also said that doing RICE for the first 48-72 hours was key to recovery. That means that swapping out strength training for yoga on Friday was not enough. It even means that swapping out running for yoga today might not be enough. It probably means that I should take tomorrow off as well.

Because I do feel better this morning, I am feeling good about taking time off this weekend and focusing on icing and stretching. (It helps that my next race is months away so I have plenty of time to do what I need to recover and get back to training.) I am taking it easy on the foam roller for now, because the area is still tender to the touch and I don’t want to aggravate the inflammation. 

I am so glad that I have this ThermiPaq that I can use to ice and heat:

It has a clay insert that you can freeze or microwave and really does hold its temperature (cold or warm) for a long time. There also is no mess with leaky ice bags. So, I’ve been writing this post while laying on the pack that I kept in the freezer last night. In a little while I will microwave it for about a minute and use it as a heat wrap. Right now both feel so good.

I hope you aren’t sidelined by any injuries this week, but if you are, it really is important to take the time to recovery fully. It is a hard lesson to learn (and you might need to remind me of it later this week) but it really does pay off in the long run.

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9 Responses to Screeching Halt

  1. Vicki says:

    Darn, Coco, but I am glad you are being smart. My only caution is to not overstretch, as that would aggravate mine when I had it.

  2. Tink says:

    Coco, sorry to hear this but glad you are being SMART with the RICE. I have trouble at times with the piriformis muscle. Honest the best thing for me is a deep tissue massage of it and the hips and lower back and then keeping with better stretching after most anything. Literally a pain in the …. 🙁 Take care of you.

  3. Michelle says:

    I'm sorry you're temporarily sidelined. I've had piriformis syndrome and truthfully the only thing that worked for me was RICE and a good deep tissue massage! Hope you're back to running soon!

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