Over the years I have fallen in love with the feeling of being outside, going for runs in miserable weather, feeling strong and feeling alive. But injury after injury plagued me and I never really understood what was going on. Thinking back it was all quite obvious, the signs were all right there, but I was riding a massive runner's high and didn't see them.
A few weeks ago I was lucky enough to get a chance to move to a part of the world that is full of possibilities and opportunities. I now live less than a block away from an absolutely stunning trail. The roads are less busy and without a car the next logical step is obviously to get a bike again. I can cycle to the pool for cross training or, hey, I live by the sea! I could learn how to open water swim? Or get back into windsurfing? Or head down to the cliffs for some climbing, or hiking. There are so many opportunities and I feel like the luckiest girl in the world.
A week ago I laced up my trail shoes, put on my trusty rain jacket and headed out the door for a run in the rain. I got to the beach and the only things that I felt was being alive and full joy. Unfortunately, on my way back I felt a twinge in the right side of my hip. Surely enough, when I woke up the next morning, walking hurt. After having dealt with pain in my feet, my ankles and my shins it was now my knee. Or that's what I thought. I consulted my good friend Google (yay for self diagnosis!) and learned that while the pain was around my knee, the problem was actually coming from my IT band. And that was related to my weak, tight hips.
Remember how I said that the signs were there? It has always been my right hip and my left lower leg that caused me issues. My yoga teacher used to comment on how much tighter my right hip flexors were. When I was little my doctor had even pointed this out. But all this time I ignored the warnings. I probably even made it worse by stretching and foam rolling the wrong way and ignoring strength training.
Believe me, I have learned my lesson. And now, I am back with an intention. My intention is to come back fitter than I have ever been. To use the time and space I have to incorporate "body maintenance" (stretching and strengthening) into my routine. To be wise about rest and to accept good and bad workouts. To go slow and steady but to also train hard. And to challenge myself by stepping outside of my comfort zone and trying new things. To try new sports and to just keep feeling alive, grateful and joyful. I am back.
At this point, give me all of your stupid, obvious tips and tricks that you may have up your sleeve. I have a trick for you. It's this workout routine for ITBS that has kept me sane over the last week. If you are in the same boat as me or you want to do something good: try it. Even if you are not injured. Trust me.