My First Ultra Marathon (Attempt): Healing IT Band Syndrome

Spoiler Alert: Remember when Mr T. beat the snot out of Rocky, then Rocky trained during an entire song and was able to destroy the old Fool Pittyier? Yeah, it takes longer than one inspirational song to cure an IT Band Injury.

I read through my running journals recently and discovered an interesting trend; when I hike a big hill or mountain and then transition back to a run, I hurt on the outside of my right knee. So began my google search marathon that eventually aided me in pinpointing the pain as coming from my IT Band. So now what?

I found an IT Band workout/therapy routine from Strength for Running

1. I purchased the recommended resistance bands.

2. I created a therapy schedule for the next 8 weeks.

3. Started working that sucker out every other day.

I wish I could claim to have found a magic potion to obliterate the suffering; but when I scale mountains, my legs grow tired. When I run on weakened legs, my fatigued core muscles lose stability and my knees wobble, then my IT Band flips me the bird. So, after weeks of not doing therapy and trying to wait it out, only to hike up big mountains and hobble back down, I did it, and I can’t believe I’m saying this, I started doing it the right way. This process kills me because I love shortcuts.

I’ve also tightened up my diet, yes, I’m still vegan or “plant-based’, but I started tracking my calories and macros. I researched and pulled together a list of vegan foods that reduce inflammation; and I’ve started training my legs for uphills. How?
I thought it through. If climbing up mountains and then running down flares up my IT band, then I should drive to the top, run down the mountain first and do my climbing at the end on my way back up to my car. And guess what? It worked! No Pain, whoa!

Next week I’ll lay out some details on my current strategies for “Mountain Proofing” my legs and make you guys a printout of my “Mountain Legs” workout that you can try yourself.

Let’s just say I get a little obsessive and the routine has been compiled after tons of reading and culling for the best exercises for prepping your legs for hiking/running hills and mountains. The best part? All of the exercises can be quietly done in your home without waking your kids! Double win!

If you’d like to read more on my journey to my first ultra-marathon, check out my first article here.

Have you struggled with injuries? How you deal with setbacks in your own journey? Comment below!

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