Not happy! I'm just into my second week of marathon training and it's been just a little bit niggly. Right when I want everything to be perfect - or as perfect as they can be in this ageing body.
I know what the problem is. ITBS - Iliotibial band syndrome. I've had it before. A few times.
First time was when I was training for my first half marathon and it was uncomfortable for weeks. I had to scale back my training and visit my friend Chris, the physio, quite a lot. But it did eventually get better and I was able to run my half quite happily. Or maybe I should really say I ran it pain-free because I do remember that there were some not-so-happy moments in that event - like throwing up over someone's shoes when I crossed the finish line.
It reared its head again a few years later and again Chris's magic fingers put it right. Plus this time she showed me how to strap my ankles/arches so I could keep the problem at bay.
That was about five years ago and apart from running a half marathon on a very cambered road which caused another short relapse, I've really had no problems with it.
I ran the Sydney Morning Herald Half back in May and during the race I started to feel that old familiar tug around my knee at around the 17k mark. But diligent stretching and rolling whipped it back into line pretty quickly. Then after the Gold Coast 10k I felt it again. I managed to get through the whole Jetty to Jetty race before I had any issues this time but the 45 minute drive home made my knee seize up.
Back on the roller, tennis ball, heat pack, stretching and ibuprofen and it's not too bad now. I was able to run the speed session yesterday without too much issue but it's left me a little concerned about the long runs that are ahead of me.
As chance would have it, I had a coffee date with Chris yesterday and was able to talk to her about it. She agreed with my theory of why it's raised its ugly head again which basically all stems back to the health issues that Yaz caused me. I lost a lot of muscle strength because of the lack of testosterone and because I was so exhausted all the time, I didn't bother to do any strength work. My core and hip strength has suffered.
I'm okay over shorter distance - up to 12k or even 20k if I'm not running hard. But once I start to get tired my form suffers, my hip drops and my ITB starts to tighten up.
So I started last night. All those hip exercises that Chris and Sam had given me and the dynamic core work that both of them had suggested. Planks are passe now - unless they involve movement. And I thought that just holding it still was hard enough.
Guess what? Today I'm a bit sore. Not my knee. Just all those muscles that haven't had to work for a couple of years - they're complaining like a dole-bludger who's been forced into a work program to keep his entitlements. Gotta love DOMS! Means I'm getting stronger.