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1239 Views 1 Reply Latest reply: Mar 31, 2011 6:20 PM by JamesJohnsonLMT
Key Largo Deb Rookie 7 posts since
Feb 28, 2011
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Mar 31, 2011 12:17 PM

Help!  Pain in my hamstring and I have a 13.1 next week two days ago I began to stretch I felt an awful pain in my hamstring when I bent over to stretch my (nose to my knee).  Anyway, I hadn't felt any pain prior to that, like when I'm walking, sitting, even on a short jog.  How in the heck did this hamstring pain (feels really tight and almost like I pulled it.  What do I do?  I am doing the Iron Girl in Clearwater next week!

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  • JamesJohnsonLMT Legend 1,291 posts since
    Aug 23, 2009

    Even Iron Girls get injured every now and then, bless your heart.


    I've  learned to love hamstring pain; I get it whenever I train too hard or  sit on chairs that cut off circulation when I'm training normally. In  your case, it could be a combination of those things, and the stretch  was just past your tolerable limit, resulting in a little more damage  than you already had.


    The small micro-tears and  ruptured muscle cells that accumulate in all athletic endeavors often  result in a stiffening of the muscle in self-defense. This is to prevent  you from using it as much, but the stretch pulls against this increased  tension, and something has to give. The idea behind a productive  stretch is to go as far as the tissue can go without further damage, but  we often have the urge to stretch out tissue that is damaged the most,  feels the stiffest, and will break the easiest when we stretch it. It's a  normal inclination and nothing to be ashamed of. You may have to  sandbag your race though, or sit it out entirely.


    You  can probably foam-roll the hammys to increase circulation and speed  healing, in the hopes the damage is not major. Sometimes this works if  it is normal wear and tear. The way I and others in my trade work, is to  look for specific portions of your muscle that are in spasm. Some of  these spots can be as small as the head of a pin, but they can radiate  pain throughout your muscle just like pulling on one hair of your head  can hurt. It only takes a little damage to mean a lot.


    If  these spots can be identified and treated individually, you may get  better results than with a general foam rolling, which helps more with  general soreness. We use a technique called effluerage to slide up the  muscle with lubricant, basically mobilizing lymphatic flow and enhancing  venous blood flow. That helps after a hard run, etc., but rarely  corrects specific damage. Compressing the very spots in spasm firmly to  slow circulation, then releasing to let the blood flow back in, has the  effect of changing the way your brain responds to pain there  (stiffening), and causes the mini-spasm (we call them trigger points) to  relax. You've probably seen us doing it at races many times, and there  will be a team at Iron Girl doing it this time, but you don't want to  wait for race day.


    If you can get somebody to work on  it, great, but if time and money is an issue, you can work on it  yourself as I describe. Just find the sore spots and knots in your  hamstring and fix them. They'll still need to heal, but they won't heal  very well until they are relaxed, or as we call it, released. Take care  of that, and your body will take care of the rest. Meanwhile, go easy on  it. Most of your training is in the bag anyway. Taper, and stop  stretching tight muscle without relaxing it first.


    I had a bad hamstring all the way to my last marathon, and worked on it while driving with one hand under my leg. The weight of my leg was enough pressure on my fingers to get the job done,  and I had a great race the next day, a qualifier. My hamstring had been  bothering me for months after lots of brutal summer speedwork. I'm not  saying you will get the same results, and it takes a little practice  when you don't do it for a living like I do, but if I can do it, you can  too. If in doubt, get help.

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