March 18, 2012

Rest Is Not the Answer

Week of Mar. 12 ~ 18

Thanks for the nice comments after the Tokyo Marathon.
So I rested for 16 days after the marathon, hoping that the hamstring/butt/piriformis? pain in my left side would heal. Tried a run on Wednesday night and the pain was there — in fact, it was worse than it had been before the marathon. So much for the value of rest. Well, maybe if I rested for two months it would clear up, but who's going to rest for two months?

Actually, I think that some injuries respond to rest, but others don't. Hamstring and related injuries are ones that don't. It seems that an active, aggressive approach is better: easy running, stretching and exercises. Plus whatever massage, acupuncture, etc. treatments you prefer.

So I'll try that and see what happens. And actually, it had been more annoying that debilitating — I did run a 39-minute 10k and 3:08 marathon last month.

Training is the problem, especially speed training. Which is too bad, since that is what I wanted to start doing. Well, we'll see how it goes.

Easy warmup, then 600/1200/600/1200/600/1200/600 on the track. Only running at 5:00/k pace, but that was probably too fast. It was rather painful.

Easy 4.8k while timing the high school track team on a track. A few laps at about 5:00/k pace. HS and butt felt better than the day before.

11:30 - machines and abs at the gym.
8.5k run with the kids at about 5:00/k pace for 4k, then 5:30 or over. Both HS sore. Then more abs and machines in the school weight room.


10k easy in 56:56. Hamstrings only slightly sore.
Weather: 10C/50F with light rain.
Weight: 62.5kg (down from 63, so gained 2k, 4.5lbs after the marathon)

I was also told about an icing method, a good alternative to an ice bath, which I cannot handle. You just turn the shower to cold and run it on your hamstring (or wherever) for 45-60 seconds, then switch to hot water (or prepare a hot bath and get in that) for 45-60 seconds. Do this four times. You have to suck it up to get through the first 10 seconds of cold. After the second time, your leg gets kind of numb, so it's a bit easier. This is supposed to be effective, so I'll do it after every run.


  1. I reckon you're spot-on about total rest not helping hamstring and related injuries. What you're doing is the right strategy - keep running and work on the problem/weakness while doing it.

    Keep the speedwork moderate (as you are) or try alternatives. I recall Wolfgang Kruger (marathoner from the 80's) couldn't do track intervals due to achilles pain so he ran fartleks and tempo runs instead.

  2. So sorry to hear about the pain you have been having. I can relate to the HS pain. Luckily mine did go away with 2 weeks rest but I also stopped doing lunges which I think was part of the problem. I really wish I could with the track kids at bad it is so far away from where I live.

  3. Bob... My Chris took almost a year out with no healing. Cycling, swimming and Yoga helped, plus hamstring and but muscle weights or squats.