IT Band Stretches and Photos

IT band pain is a topic I am quite well versed in (unfortunately…) and so I wanted to share some of my favorite stretches. Here are six things I try to do several times a week. My IT band is currently behaving, but that can change so quickly, so I choose to be proactive. I hope these IT band stretches help some of you who have been struggling!

IT Band Stretches:

Stretch 1: If your RIGHT IT band is the problem, stand with your right foot crossed behind your left and lean towards your left with either your arm in the air or your hands on your hips. Hold for 15-20 seconds, repeat. (follow this rule for all stretches mentioned)

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Stretch 2: If your LEFT IT band is the problem, sit on the floor with your right leg straight. cross your left leg over your right, and twist your body to the left, pushing against your left leg for resistance.

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Stretch 3: Yoga has really helped me, especially the pigeon pose. If your RIGHT IT band is bothering you, put your right leg underneath your body with your left leg out straight behind you. use your arms to balance, and try to sink down as far as you can. Hurts so good! (By the way, I am finally getting slightly visible triceps, which is hard for my long muscles, yay!)

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Stretch 4: Find something sturdy you can lean against, and put your hands on it. if your RIGHT IT band is bothering you, use your left leg as the stabilizer leg, and slide your right leg out to the left behind your left leg and push/sink as far as you can.

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Stretch 5: this involves a Foam Roller (and if you have IT band pain you DEFINITELY should own one of these anyway!) Lay your hip/leg on the side of the pain, put your other leg out in front to stabilize, and ROLL until you find a sore spot, then sit on that spot for several seconds.

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Stretch 6: lay on the floor on your left side if your RIGHT IT band is bothering you. Put your right leg behind your body and hold your foot. Put your left foot/heel by your right knee, you should feel a deep stretch.

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A few key things to keep in mind if you are suffering with IT band pain and looking to do IT band stretches. (This is based on my own personal experience, if you are having pain go see a doctor, physical therapist, chiropractor, etc.)

1.) REST. I took 6 full weeks off of running when mine was at it’s worst. It won’t get better if you keep running through the pain. Trust me on this, I tried, and it wasn’t until I took some time off that I truly felt better.

2.) Foam roll like it’s your job. It hurts, it sucks, but it will help loosen you up. Or, be proactive and use it a few times a week to keep problems at bay. A tennis ball works, too.

3.) Ice. Icing helped alleviate my swelling, especially at first when I was not being smart and was still running.

4.) Massage. I know actual sports massages are expensive, but if you can swing it, do it.

5.) Of course, stretch. A good stretching routine is something you should be doing anyway! (As I look in the mirror and tell myself…)

6.) Use resistance bands. < —- These are the resistance bands I personally use to help strengthen my hips and glutes to prevent a flare up from occurring again. They are inexpensive and totally worth it! I use them while I watch TV.

If you are looking for a way to track your daily fitness routine and goals, check out my FREE set of printables! 

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QOTD: Have you ever suffered with IT band pain? Do you do IT band stretches? Any other helpful hints you can think of?

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Weekly Workout Recap: June Week 1

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Another week has come and gone. How is it the second week of June? How is it the sixth month of 2013? Yeesh. Quick recap of a less than stellar and very frustrating workout week. My IT band is still not doing so great. I went to the chiropractor and that helped (active release) but it’s still tight but not as painful. I ran 3 times this week (well, run/walked) 1 mile, 2 miles, and 3 miles. I am going to wait until Tuesday to try again, and hit the treadmill instead od the hills around my neighborhood and see if that helps.

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Here is a summary of my week:

Sunday: rest

Monday: 30 minutes elliptical, weights

Tuesday: rest

Wednesday: 1 mile run, weights

Thursday: 45 minutes stationary bike, weights

Friday: 2 mile run

Saturday: 3 mile run

I was doing SO WELL the past couple weeks with my two a days and my hard workouts, so it’s a little frustrating to have a lot of the high intensity come to a screeching halt, but I know I have to rest to heal. I am keeping KT Tape on 24/7 to aid in recovery and healing as well. That’s all I have to report for the day. back to stretching and foam rolling!

QOTD: How do you mental handle a sports injury?

May Goal Rewind and June Goals 2013

A bit more timely this month with the goals, day four as opposed to ten. I am getting better! Last month, I set a few mini goals for myself and want to review how I did and give you my June goals.

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I must say, I rocked this months goals and am pretty darn proud.

1.) Build my running base up to 7-8 miles (A-) I completed a 7 miler, and was SUPPOSED to do an 8 last weekend but thanks to my IT band flare up it didn’t happen. However, I am proud I got to 7 and am building my base back up. Fingers crossed I am back up and running (har har) soon.

2.) Cook a new recipe (A+) I cooked a new spaghetti recipe Bobby and I both ended up really liking, and I know I will make it again. Score!

3.) Back up my photos (A+) We bought an external hard drive and I have put all of my photos on it. Wahoo! I feel better knowing they are safe if my computer dies. Which it better not. I would be sad.

4.) Stretch (B+) The second half of the month was better than the first, and honestly out of necessity. With my IT band acting up, I have been stretching non stop, multiple times a day. Hopefully I will keep at it and be more proactive.

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June goals:

1.) Heal my IT band. Pretty self explanatory. I am icing, stretching, foam rolling, and straightening.

2.) Get on track with Dumbo Challenge training. I was supposed to s art my training plan yesterday, but obviously that isn’t happening with my injury, but I would like to get on track this month.

3.) Get back to my happy weight. After the Princess half in February, I took some time off from distance running and hard workouts, so I put on a couple pounds. When I was on vacation and a a work trip for 2 weeks, where I put on a couple more. I really want to get back to my happy weight before we go to the beach in July.

4.) Stop Worrying. Oy. This is a big one for me. May brought a few changes and disappointments, and I am tired of letting my circumstances change my mood so much. Must stop worrying and just be.

QOTD: What is a goal you have for June?

Weekly Workout Recap: May Week 5

This past week was a little different as far as workouts go. You may remember my post recently saying my IT band is angry. Well…it’s still angry. I haven’t run since Tuesday, and I have been stretching and foam rolling all week. Fingers crossed I will be back on my feet in a few days. This is putting a damper on the training plan I was supposed to start tomorrow!

This weekend we went to my parents for the weekend for an early celebration of Bobby’s 30th birthday. We went out to dinner Saturday night. Let’s just say I didn’t eat so healthy this weekend!

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Here is a look at my workouts for the week:

Sunday: rest

Monday: 35 minutes stationary bike, weights, yard work

Tuesday: 3.1 mile run, weights, 45 minutes elliptical

Wednesday: 35 minutes elliptical, 45 minutes stationary bike

Thursday: weights, 45 minutes stationary bike

Friday: rest

Saturday: rest

I definitely didn’t plan three rest days, but my knee was throbbing just standing up, so I thought it was what my body needed. Hopefully this week will be better! photo (1)

QOTD: Do you go out to eat or eat your favorite meal at home for your birthday?

My IT Band is Angry

Well friends, I have tried to ignore it, but for the past few days my IT band has been very angry at me.

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I am not 100% sure what sparked this anger since I haven’t been running, but I think my muscles have weakened in my hips with my “break” in my training, leading to the aggravation.

So, this is what I have been doing…following my own advice and partaking in some IT Band Stretches. I have been stretching, foam rolling, and massaging (and praying!) the pain away. So far…it’s still there. It’s not bad, and honestly it doesn’t even hurt while I’m running, just after. I know I spoke of my Dumbo training plans the other day, but I think I may put them off another week.

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It’s frustrating, I have been doing so well on the injury front being so careful NOT to overuse my body, that it didn’t even occur to me that on the OTHER end of the spectrum (letting my muscles get weak) could be just as harmful. You live you learn right?

The rest of this week I will be cross training and doing LOTS of yoga and stretching. There is no excuse for me to not get in a good calorie burn because I am taking it easy on the run. This girl is staying motivated, whatever it takes!

QOTD: Ever have IT band woes? What about another injury? How do you still get in your burn?

WINNER of the Disney swag bag giveaway is Ryan Boeckman! Please e mail me at [email protected] with your shipping info!

*Don’t forget to enter my Outshine $100 visa giftcard giveaway!

Shoe Woes Update and Childhood Sports Ramblings

 

Thank you to everyone who gave advice and sympathy yesterday on my blog post. Today I decided to vlog with a follow up, as well as chat about playing childhood sports and ask YOU a question at the end. (Cute puppy makes an appearance too. She’s very very sneaky!)

Hope that helps further explain my running shoe situation and what I plan to do/try next!

QOTD: Did you play sports as a child, and if so do you still participate in those or have you moved on to a different fitness activity?

Want to win a $1,000 spa finder giftcard? Check out this post to enter!

Sidelined

We can’t all be heroes because someone has to sit on the curb and clap as they go by. – Will Rogers

Bring it to the curb, Kelly. Embrace your challenge, Kelly. Enjoy the time off, Kelly. What? Why? I will be honest that the last few months of running has been an ongoing battle of will, desire and what I want. I practice a physical type of yoga where every single day I work on finding space in my hip flexors, my glutes and hamstrings. When I go out to train (I have been working towards a 50k) I turn all of that work around, tightening certain said muscles. I have felt like a yo-yo. I yo-yo full of emotion, frustration and some happiness.

I did some difficult math the other day and realized I have been running on and off for close to 20 years. The 6 years have been peppered with marathons, triathlons and even adventure racing. At the ripe old age of 38, I realized that running really has been a big part of my life, my adult life. Most of my running experience has been slow. I like to run at a nice, comfortable, turtle like pace. My last marathon was made fun and exciting because I was part of an awesome pace group. Could I have gone faster? You bet! Could I have had a PR? Surely. Did I have an awesome marathon full of laughs, conversation and new friendship? Yes I did.

So here I am. I have been wondering what to do. A month ago I reached out to my coach: “Can I be an Ashtangi and a long distance runner?” Of course the answer is yes! I can be whatever I want to be. Can I go where I want to in both avenues? Probably not. Did I want to accept that? Not really. A decision, however, had already been made by this pesky thing that lives inside my leg. Thank you, IT band for making a decision for me.

Yes, this means I am currently on the side line. I can no longer eat custard on Friday night and feel okay about it (good time to go vegan!). I won’t run the 50k I had been working towards and I am okay with it. I have this wonderful practice that is helping me find strength, patience and self-reliance; these things are not bad at all. I also am finding joy in the lack of GU, body glide and my toenails are all intact.

I will spend this short running season here cheering friends on; I will embrace this. I will be the one on the side, the curb cursing my IT band. No, not really! I will forever be grateful to take this break, figure out what I need and continue to shop for new running apparel. My shoes will always be waiting for me.

-Kelly is a GOTRIbal Ambassador and author at Open Doors

QOTD: Have you ever had an experience like the guest poster?

IT Band Exercises

 

Hello! My name is Megan and I blog at RunningTowardThePrize.

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I’m excited to be a guest blogger for Heather as she is at the Most Magical Place on Earth! (And also my all-time favorite vacation location!) She has truly been an inspiration and huge help on my running journey!

Like Heather, I have struggled with IT band issues. Since this is something many runners battle with, I’ve decided to show you different exercises that I do to help combat this issue.

First, we’ll start with my story. I ran a little last summer (along with other forms of exercise), and began to have pain on the outside of my left knee.

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It actually got to the point where running more than a few steps was not possible. So off to my physical therapist I went, where he informed me that I had one of the tightest IT bands he has ever seen. (Hey, when I do something – I do it well!)

The first exercise he had me do was a stretch on one of the beds. (This can also be done on the couch.) Lay on your side, facing the back of the couch, and let your top leg hang behind your bottom leg. If your leg doesn’t go down very far, it’s a good indication that your IT band is tight.

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As you can see, my left IT band is much more tight than my right.

Next is the evil amazing foam roller. (Some days it’s evil, some days it’s amazing.) The first time you do this, you may not be able to stand putting your body weight on the foam roller. If this is the case, have your spouse/friend roll it gently along your IT band while you are laying down on your side.

If you can stand using your body weight, put your hip on the foam roller and roll from your hip to your knee. Be careful not to go on your hip or knee ‘bone’.

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It is best to do this not only after a run, but every day. It truly will keep your IT bands loose, which means less pain!

My PT also suggested doing some strengthening exercises, as a tight IT band is not always due to running, but actually due to an imbalance in your hips. Usually the hip rotators need to be stretched out. Another potential issue is an imbalance between your quadriceps and hamstrings.

Here are a few of the exercises he suggested:

Hip Thrusters

Stand on a step with one foot (the other foot will be ‘dangling’ off the step). With the leg that is ‘dangling’, thrust the hip up, and back down.

Hamstring Curls on Stability Ball

Lay on your back and put your heels on a stability ball. Thrust your hips up (into a ‘bridge’) and curl your heels toward your butt, then back out straight.

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Moving Squats with Band

Put a band around both thighs. Get into a squat position. Stay in that position while moving sideways to the right (the full length of a room), then go to the left. (This video shows where to position the band)

 

Wall Sits

With your back against a wall, lower into a squat position and stay there.

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Dynamic Stretching

Runner’s World has a great article showing how to utilize dynamic stretching before and after your run.

Most of all, it is best to make sure that you are listening to your body! If it needs a break, give it one – the last thing you want is to be sidelined for a few weeks (or months) due to an injury. And…the foam roller really IS your friend 😉

QOTD: Have you ever struggled with your IT band? If not, have you dealt with any other fitness related injury? Do you do exercises to help it?

*Don’t forget to enter my RAFLLE to benefit the Leukemia and Lymphoma society!

Road to Recovery

 

Evening friends! I hope everyone had a great day! I played catch up today…wrapping presents, addressing Christmas cards, cleaning up my room, etc. I feel like I have gone non stop all day! I also got to run, woo hoo! I ran 5 miles, no knee pain. I also ran the 5 in 51 minutes, which is decent speed for me coming off an injury.

While I was running and pondering my speed, or lack there of, I started thinking about something. I first started having IT problems after running the Run for Life Half Marathon on October 9th. Every run after that was painful. So, to get through my training, I ran all my miles, and did all my long runs….but…(yes, the dreaded but) I did them slowly, at a “comfortable” pace. I was just trying to get through the run and the pain, I could have cared less what my pace was most days. Then I ran the Jazz half marathon at the end of October, and my knee started hurting a lot during mile 2, so that was pretty painful and slower.

I then took some time off, and finally came back to running last week. I was so careful, I didn’t want to annoy my knee, and make it tight or hurt, so I ran all my runs at a slow, comfortable pace. Well, Today when running, I realized my knee was not hurting at this comfortable pace I have kept for 2 months, so I decided to try to push my pace a little today and run more uncomfortable. Not FAST, and not doing speedwork, just slight discomfort. I surprised myself, because after having to take so much time off I didn’t think I could run 5 miles in 51 minutes, but I did, and I didn’t hurt!

I feel like I am definitely on the way to healing, on my road to recovery, and will be able to continue to race, train, and get faster. 4 weeks ago I was crying saying I didn’t know if I could even run my marathon because my knee hurt when I ran even 3 miles. I swore I wouldn’t take running pain free for granted if I got better, and I am trying to keep good on that promise! I enjoyed my run today, woo hoo!

Just for fun…look at the cute McAlisters ornament I got for free for buying a $25 gift card! If you know me, you know this is the PERFECT ornament for me Smile

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Sassy sleeps in this big chair, and Bella was annoying us the other night so we put her in the chair, too. Sassy HATES Bella, and when she realized Bella was in her chair, she tried to get away, so she stood up against the back of the chair trying to get as far away from the puppy as she could, and she just stayed like this for several minutes. It. was. hilarious!

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QOTD: Do you ever feel like, in whatever you are doing, you could try a whole lot harder if you really wanted to?