Friday, 4 March 2011

The other IT

In the About Me page, I proselytized about running. This is still quite an exciting subject for me as back in school, any attempt to run left me in paroxysms of acutely painful breathlessness. And then a couple of decades or so later it turns out I can run  reasonable distances with relative competence.

So in 2009 I started running and managed a 5km event. Then I let it slide for a while. Then in 2010 I started running again, in between mountain biking. I worked my way up to being able to accomplish 10km runs and to prove the point to myself entered a number of events.

The first was the Burnham Beeches 10km run, which I completed in 55:07 , albeit with a quick stop for a breather about half way through after a bit of a steep hill.

Then came the Milton Keynes Mo-Run, which despite another quick stop for a breather, I did in 52:11. A nice improvement.

The final event of the year was the Swindon 10km Run. This time there was no stopping and I finished in 50:16. I’m pleased with that time.

Over the winter I’ve been out a couple of times, but nothing consistent. Then I tried pushing it a bit too far by attempting to do a local 10km loop a bit too soon.

The net result of that was to be limping home well before the target distance. After a week’s rest, an attempt to run about 8km had the same result. A week later and a 5km run had much the same.

Oh dear.

In my body (and, I daresay, in yours too) I have a couple of IT bands (aka iliotibial bands). I know, I know – I thought IT was just a contraction of Information Technology too! However it turns out I have an IT band in each of my two legs.

Moreover, it seems I’ve antagonised the IT band in my left leg and given myself ITBS (IT band syndrome) aka ITBFS (IT band friction syndrome). This is, apparently, a very common problem with people doing too much running. Or perhaps more often too much too soon, as is the case with me. I should've worked my way up from a very small distance, but common sense is often an elusive thing when your own health and fitness come into it.

Anyway, the result of all this is I am now waiting for a foam roller to arrive in the capable hands of my postman. I've now heard from multiple sources that other than avoiding running for a bit, the best thing for ITBS is rolling the band up and down a foam roller using your own body weight to give the equivalent of an expensive sports massage. Foam rolling gives myofascial release and can also massage tight muscles without the large bills associated with sports masseurs.

I’m really hoping it gives good results as I was just getting into the running mind set after the freezing winter conditions…