Saturday, June 12, 2021

Back on the Roads!

After 8 full weeks of zero running, I have started back up again. Very gradually!

I was not exactly sure when it would be safe to return. My physical therapist cleared me to run after 7 weeks, but I felt like I needed an extra week. I still felt the injury with certain movements and I wanted more confidence that I wouldn't hurt myself. Meanwhile, the Osteitis Pubis specialist I am working with in Australia doesn't advise running until stage 8 of his program- which I won't reach for another few weeks.

The physical therapist tested my strength and was confident that I was far enough along in my recovery

that running would be ok. My adductors, glutes, abs, hamstrings -- all have a healthy amount of strength to support running. He gave me a return to running program that seemed too aggressive so I decided to use a more conservative program from my strength coach, Angela. I'll use her program at least initially, and if I feel like I can progress faster then I will switch back to the PT's plan. 

Monday, June 7
For my first "run" back, I did 6 sets of 0:30 running, 4:30 walking. Essentially this was a walk, with six 30-second jogs thrown in. This was discouraging. I felt the injury more than I expected to. I tried focusing on my form and just being really purposeful about my movements but I still felt irritation in the pubic bone area. I did have some hope, however, in that a few of the reps felt decent. I would say about half them felt pretty good and the other half did not.

Did I do too much too soon? As soon as I stopped the running portions, walking felt 100% pain free. And I didn't have any hints of the injury for the rest of the day or the next day. What a relief. This means that my 3 total minutes of jogging didn't make things worse and I could proceed with the plan,

Wednesday, June 9
Building on Monday's session, this time the 5-minute blocks were split as 1-minute run, 4-minute walk. Twice as much running! I was a little nervous heading into this but I was pleasantly surprised that I had very little pain. I felt WAY better than I did on Monday! I was very encouraged by this. So what made the difference between Monday and Wednesday? I think it's a combination of:

  • I focused more on my posture and pulling the shoulder blades down. This was feedback I got from the Australian specialist when doing a Bird-Dog exercise during our Tuesday session.
  • My body needed to get the message "Hey, we're running again, and it's okay" and shake off some of the cobwebs
  • My body needed to recover from a run and realize "that didn't cause an injury"
I've learned that the mind-body connection is REALLY important in recovering from an injury. The brain becomes used to feeling pain with certain activities so you need to train it to not feel pain once you can do those activities properly.

Friday, June 11
No injury flare ups or pain all day Wednesday or Thursday, so I advanced on Friday to 1:30 run/3:30 walk. This was also encouraging although not perfect. I would say that maybe 5-10% of my steps triggered a mild pain sensation around the pubic bone, but the rest were fine. Some of the reps felt much better than others. Once again, I really focused on my form. Several key items:
  • Fall forward as you run - let gravity help
  • Keep a straight spine with the shoulder blades down
  • When landing, ensure that the toes are spreading to form a stable platform
  • When pushing off, observe the firing of the glutes
  • Breathe through the core to help engage the core
I am encouraged by all of this and I continue to work with the PT, the Australian specialist, and my strength coach. I think my biggest issue is stability, which can be improved by glute activation. My lack of stability causes my pelvis to move too much, which is not good. My PT also discovered that I have extremely tight glutes and I fail his strength tests before massaging them out with a lacrosse ball. After the massage, my glutes start to work. So I should be using my massage ball on my glutes before each run.

I continue to swim 3-4 times a week, and I have gotten my swims up to one mile. Last week I swam 4 miles! I joined an outdoor pool so even once I am back to running full time, I plan to incorporate swimming. We also bought a rowing machine which is also great for cross training.

Long term plans
In an ideal world, the next six months will look like this:
  • June: Run/Walk, be able to run continuously for 40 minutes by the end of the month
  • July: Build a mileage base, introduce strides and some introductory faster workouts
  • August: Begin training for the Richmond Marathon, include long runs and tempos, run a 5K
  • September - October: Richmond Marathon Training, run a 5K and a longer distance
  • November: Richmond Marathon
My physical therapist is confident I can progress at this rate and so am I. As for the Boston Marathon, I plan to use my Two Rivers Marathon time to qualify for the April 2022 race. I have a cushion of over 20 minutes, so I'm confident that I will be accepted!


  1. Welcome back to the run! I would put money on your six month plan. I'm also betting that running + swimming is going to lead to a tri...just sayin' ;-)

    1. Don’t forget how I got into this mess in the first place- a bike accident! LOL. You couldn’t pay me enough to hop on one of those.

  2. Prognosis is encouraging and you appear confident in the approach to resume running. I like your caution relative to some minor or intermittent tweaks of discomfort in that injury area. Just stay cautious as you are...maybe even a bit more...but like the initial therapy...resuming running after that long off...the muscles have to adapt to the renewed strain. I presume when you run it is nothing intensive in terms of speed? I wish you well in your return!

  3. Very glad to hear you're back running! You've got a lot of people supporting you and seems like your plan is solid. Yeah, I would stay off the bike and just run and swim! Those two things alone are a great combination. Good luck with everything!

  4. Hmm... I tend to agree that part of the beginning of running and the pain while running and then walking fine shows the mental aspect of some of this that I had mentioned a few blog posts ago. After 4 1/2 months of staying on the road, I haven't had any thoughts of my foot issue in almost a month now so I think I'm past it totally now (YAY)

    Hoping this all gets you to a 5K in August and looking forward to reading your progress and rooting for you thru it all!!