I just started training for my first half marathon. Today I ran 4 miles. Toward the end of my run, I noticed some achiness. I am not sure if the area is considered the hip flexor area but basically the ache runs along my bathing suit line where my leg connects to my torso. Prior to today, I have not run in several months and I am 10 pounds overweight. Could these two issues be the cause or the aches? Is it safe to just run through it as I did today or could I injur myself? Any advice is appreciated!
Realistically, you're a newbie. 4 miles after having "not run in several months" is a lot. So yes, you should expect some soreness. I would suggest you back off and go with run/walk (maybe 3 minutes/2 minutes), starting at about 2 miles, every other day. Work back into it gradually, adding distance a little at a time, and/or changing the run/walk ratio. You'll be able to get back sooner than a C25K type program, but it will still take some time. I've been through something similar (off for 2 months) and it took several weeks to work up to a steady 4 mile run.
Len knows his stuff. I have found the following warmup to be VERY useful for correcting a lot of hip weakness: http://teachtorun.com/2013/03/02/how-should-you-warm-up-for-before-you-run/#comment-28
It's going to get you good and warmed up before your run and ready to move backwards, forwards, laterally, etc. This will activate more muscles in your hip region taking some pressure off of those flexors.
Another thing to think about, Snowy1978, especially in light of your recent down time, is that sitting in chairs, or the sitting posture in general, including sleeping in the fetal position, leads to a shortening of your hip flexors. This doesn't mean you can just stretch them back into shape. You have to set your expectations for returning them to a normal state of elasticity over a similar time frame that you might have spent shortening them.
The normal tone of muscles, and maintaining that tone, is a complicated process handled automatically by your central nervous system. It is developed over a period of time, and is often changed more slowly than we would like. If you think there is a problem in your hip, such as a shortened muscle, spasm, or perhaps something more serious, make sure you allow time for the desired change to occur, along with setting more modest goals for mileage. Pain may be part of that process, but that gives you more time to determine the true origin of the pain, and less time for making it worse.
If you are pushing less, but the pain is getting worse, it's time to seek a professional opinion. In the meantime, there are dietary strategies for increasing your metabolism to lose the excess weight, and to reduce the load on your hips when you do run. A general rule of thumb for returning runners, is that it can take twice as many months to get back to fitness as you spent in down time, in other words two months of training for each month down. This varies by individual, but set your expectations accordingly.
it sounds like it's probably just normal soreness for the running at first. definitely listen to your body though, if it's just sore, it's ok to run. if it really hurts, give it a break, maybe you pulled something, etc.
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