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1703 Views 3 Replies Latest reply: Jul 15, 2011 12:29 PM by JamesJohnsonLMT
jnjC2129 Rookie 1 posts since
Mar 29, 2009
Currently Being Moderated

Jul 15, 2011 5:35 AM

Crossfitter moving to runner... newbie question


I am a 32 yo female who for the last 12years has been a gym rat doing weights and as little treadmill/cardio as I could get away with. I have always done high intesity training, including a year at crossfit. I have decided to see what this "running" thing is all about. When I started running I could run 3-4 miles at a time with no issues or pain. I was feeling good and loved the solitude of running, so I decided to sign up for a 10k. I worked up to 5 miles, then did the 10k in 61 min. After that race, I thought - this is fun- so I signed up for a 1/2 marathon in late August and started my training.


After the 10K though (July4th), I have had extreme muscle tightness in all muscles around and attaching to my hip, hip flexor, soas, glute and (my sports trainer says IT band is very tight on my R) as well as my lower back and romboid area (sp?)

I tried to push through it for a week and made sure I did dynamic stretching bf a run, 20-30 min of yoga like stretching post run, glutamine, plenty of fluids, chiropractor, 1 sports massage, 2 hour long stretchin sessions - I have also read a lot on running technique- making sure I am midfoot striking (videoed myself). I am also doing hot yoga on my rest days to try to keep everything loose. I managed to get all my mileage in the 1st post 10K, (22miles) but this week I have not run at all because I STILL cannot work out all those tight muscles and when I did an EASY 3 mile on Monday, I have paid for it the rest of this week.


So, I am not sure what to do... Do I need to rest my muscles? am I overdoing it mileage wise? I am frustrated because I really want to get my mileage in, but at this point I just want my muscles to unwind themselves.

Like I said, I am taking this week off, but dont know what to do next week... run through it or change to a different exercise for a week- biking...


My 1/2 is Aug 21...


Thanks for your help!

  • vcackerman Legend 340 posts since
    Dec 14, 2007
    Currently Being Moderated
    1. Jul 15, 2011 9:16 AM (in response to jnjC2129)
    Re: Crossfitter moving to runner... newbie question

    Have you made friends with a foam roller for your IT bands and glutes?   Sounds like you need to really work through those right now.


    5K: 27:54 (Roselle Run for the Roses, June 2011)

    4M: 37:51 (Elmhurst 4 on the 4th, July 2011)

    8K: 46:46  Chicago Shamrock Shuffle (April 2011)

    10K: 60:16 (Lisle Spring Spint Mar 2011)

    HM: 2:10:03 (Great Western HM May 2011)


    7/23/2011 Waterfall Glen Xtreme 10 Miler

  • hlwilliams17 Expert 40 posts since
    Oct 10, 2007
    Currently Being Moderated
    2. Jul 15, 2011 9:59 AM (in response to jnjC2129)
    Re: Crossfitter moving to runner... newbie question

    Sounds like a case of too much too soon.  Yes, you were in very good shape coming into running and so it seemed as if your body could handle more.  But realistically, you still should have built up more slowly than jumping into running 3-4 miles at a time and then starting to train for a half after only running for a couple of months.  Stretching, massage, foam rolling and all that will help but so will rest from running.  And you really should take a break if a run of only 3 miles causes you pain for a week.


    Ask your trainer for some good core and hip strengtheners.  Again, I'm sure you are in shape in these areas, but you need to reinforce your running with core and strength work as well as stretching.  Take the week off and go for an easy run next week.  If it goes OK, take a day off and then try another easy run the next day.  If things are still OK, try running only every other day for a bit and keeping miles low adding just a bit each time.  If it hurts on the other hand, you need to take more time off and really heal up.  Running through the pain is just setting you up for an even worse injury

  • JamesJohnsonLMT Legend 1,282 posts since
    Aug 23, 2009
    Currently Being Moderated
    3. Jul 15, 2011 12:29 PM (in response to jnjC2129)
    Re: Crossfitter moving to runner... newbie question

    Sometimes the truth lies between the extremes, and sometimes it has   nothing to do with extremes at all. I congratulate you for moving from   one kind of intense activity (slow-twitch non-aerobic) to an entirely   different kind (fast-twitch aerobic endurance). What many who have gone   before you (including yours truly in my own move from gym-rat to   marathoner) have learned, is while running is a great way to train for   many other sports that involve endurance, few other sports can prepare   you for running, except maybe running. There is no shortcut, really.   Otherwise, we would see ""Couch 2 Marathon" programs popping up   everywhere, lol.


    You may have heard that endurance   running is mostly about slow-twitch muscles anyway, so why don't the   years of exercise translate into instant success? It's because though   most of an endurance race relies on slow-twitch muscle fibers, these   gradually tire during the race, forcing you to recruit fast-twitch   muscle fibers toward the end of the race, when everything starts to feel   very different. These kinds of muscle fibers are best developed by   running as I will later describe. Of course, this depends on how hard   you are pushing yourself, but look at your exercise resume.. You push   yourself -- a lot! This will still be necessary, but as Heather  suggests, your ambitions are outpacing  your adaptations, and it's time  to change tactics.


    The reason I mentioned extremes is,  that your strategy  for rehabbing from or preparing for more running has  involved more  mileage and more activity, including stretching - an  activity that pulls  muscle fibers just like a contraction, just in a  different direction.  The other extreme mentioned was rest, which is  helpful at night and  maybe one or two days a week at your age, but has  little value for  solving tight muscle problems. In fact, there are many  cases of athletes  resting kinked muscles for years without any  resolution in sight.  Vcackerman's post makes the very good point that  there are things you  can do in your down time to speed the recovery of  your muscles, without  the extremes of using them more or just letting  them sit there. Foam  rolling is one popular way to increase circulation  and lymphatic flow in  exhausted, tight soft tissue to speed recovery,  without loading it  further (if not done to excess). I use other more  specific manual  techniques on myself.


    Although you were  very fit when  you jumped on the running bandwagon, what is happening in  your muscles  right now, at a microscopic level, is a lot of  re-absorption of damaged,  unnecessary muscle, and re-growth of new  cells that are adapted for  endurance sport. If running was just about  muscle strength, body  builders would be our best runners. What you have  to do is patiently  allow this exchange of one kind of muscle for  another. While your  strategy to do this with consistent increase in  mileage appears to make  sense, it is the other kind of muscle you need  to concentrate on  developing - namely, fast-twitch.


    When I  started  competing, I went from 5k to 8k to 10k, etc. Starting with the  10k and  moving to the Half is not appropriate for the kind of muscle  you have  built, in my opinion. The necessary tissue just isn't there.  While you  are working on rehab - which I highly recommend, no matter  how good some  workouts feel (think about how you will feel after,  as in that  10k) - I recommend plotting an entirely different strategy,  aimed not at  mileage, which will become increasingly possible  automatically, but  aimed instead at speed. Except in cases of  overtraining of  experienced runners, the irony is that running short,  fast power  intervals will prepare you better for the long stuff. Trust  me, the  mileage will become easier by itself, once you master this  approach.  Longer runs are more about getting your feet ready to handle  the  pounding than they are about strength. As one gym-owner pointed out  to  me, mileage causes muscle atrophy. Just look at the toothpick  frames of  world's best marathoners, versus the sprinters. There is a  definite  muscle-editing process going on.


    Right now, if  you are preparing for a Half Marathon  (although if I were you, I would  reconsider any August Half in a  temperate zone), there is really no  need to be putting in 22 mile weeks,  no matter what anybody says. Don't  copy elite athletes. They do what  they do because they can, not  because it makes them what they are. The  rest of us call these freaks  of nature great because of what they can  do, but if we try to do the  same things to become great, we become  injured instead. Distance  running is a chess game with your body. You  don't just open up by  sticking your queen out there. The patient  strategy will win, and yours  will be to train some endurance into your  fast-twitch muscle fibers,  so they are ready to share the load with what  you already have. In the  bargain, you will burn more fat throughout the  day and increase your  body's production of HGH, which is necessary for  speedy muscle repair  and development.


    Once your muscles  are running on all  cylinders, the miles will open up to you. Then,  instead of just losing  the muscle you have built so patienty over the  years, you will also be  building a different kind. While we are on the  subject of tearing  things down and rebuilding them, it is important to  know that dynamic  stretching before a run is falling out of favor. In  fact, some studies  have demonstrated that it does not enhance  performance at all, and may  even slow you down, by replacing kinetic  storage and release of energy  with elasticity and increased effort,  perceived and actual. Many point  to pre-run stretching as a way to  reduce injuries, but this belief has  also been unfounded. Once again,  many of the greats have gotten away  with it, but that does not mean it  actually helped them. They just  survive a lot more foolishness than the  rest of us can.


    As  Galloway has mentioned in his  injury-free strategy to marathoning, the  best way to warm up for a run  is to jog slowly or walk for a few  minutes. You just need to warm up the  muscles for an increase in  workload, not stress the tissue cold-turkey.  After a run, your  muscles are numbed by endorphins. Stretching -  especially protracted  ischemic stretches like yoga - during this time,  can do damage you will  not be able to feel until later, as you have also  found. Replace this  strategy with a few minutes of walking to keep the  circulation going,  and gentle, unassisted (unamplified by ropes or  surfaces) movement of  the tired muscles through their range of motion,  under their own power  only. Anything beyond will potentially produce  more damage, until later  when you can feel what you are actually asking  those sore muscles to  do.


    Resist the other common  advice to ice your muscles  after a run, because rapid chilling of  muscles has already been proven  to cause small contortions of individual  fibers, even though the ice  again numbs your ability to feel this  happening. Yes, the greats have  done it, but they can do almost anything  and it won't hurt them. If you  want to some day be as strong a runner  as they are, do not follow the  example they set today. So, put blinders  on at races, because you'll  see all kinds of idiotic behavior that is  not beneficial, even though  it is survived. I know I'm making it sound  like "you can't get there  from here," but that's the way it will really  seem for a while. Then,  one day in the future, in the closing miles of a  full marathon  somewhere, it will dawn on you that you have been  completely rebuilt,  that you really are a different animal, you really  are a runner.


    Here  is something from muscle nerds,  written for muscle nerds, but it is  useful for its description of 4  phases of muscle dysfunction, at least  one of which you currently have.  Note the mention of no benefits from  rest in one of these phases (1,  about hafway down the page)...


    Some  of what you have been going through with the upper back (rhomboid  muscles) and lower back, can be explained with the aid of the foregoing  link. The hip flexors in particular (Psoas, etc., there are several) can  pull the lumbar spine and top of the pelvis forward towards the front  of the body and give your back muscles real fits trying to compensate. I  posted a youtube video of a Psoas release technique earlier in another  thread, plus a video link to a doctor demonstrated, evidence based,  general release technique. If you are interested in these, I include  them here...


    Finally, a good set of speed workouts by Matt Fitzgerald of Runner's World (courtesy of

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