Tuesday 16 January 2018

Listen to your body

Rach Power (27), from Tipperary, injured her iliotibial band after running too many miles too soon while training for a marathon

Rach Power
Rach Power

'I began running as a child but fell out of love with it for many years. I was always into the gym and cycled a bit, but other than that I took a fairly laissez-faire approach to fitness until I moved to Bristol for work.

You can't escape running in this city, aside from the many running events, people are just running everywhere - to and from work, around the Downs and in the gyms. So I went with the status quo.

Unfortunately, while I was training for a marathon, I ran too many miles too soon without doing any strength training and I ended up injuring my iliotibial band. It's a pretty common and preventative injury, but really sore once it does happen and can restrict the range of movement in your leg and knee.

It took a few months to recover, but the following year I got it again in my other leg. It then took about six months to fully go away. I went to some physio sessions, got clued up on strength training for gluteal and hip muscles, tried some foam rolling and went to the gym a lot more and focused on strength rather than on running. Touch wood, I haven't had a problem since.

Looking back, I could have avoided this injury simply by going to the gym and doing proper strength training twice a week, as well as getting fitted for proper trainers and resting more.

I've heard of other people becoming injured in the same way as I have, whether that's from running on hard surfaces or from something else, I don't know. Falling on the pavement is always a harder bang than falling on soft grass as well - something that has also happened to me!

Runners should always be mindful of the risks of running on hard surfaces. They should also take care to get fitted for proper, supportive trainers and listen to their body if niggles set in. A good physio is also worth their weight in gold medals! After sustaining the injury, I realised I had to slow down. I didn't have a choice. At first it really frustrated me, but then instead of running to beat my PBs, I started running just to finish a race and found that by going easier on myself, I learned to love running all over again just for the sake of it, rather than for chasing new times."

Rach Power blogs about running at rachpower.com

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