The Butt of Training 

“So…  What you’re saying is I have a weak ass?  I guess it better than being a broke ass…” – me

“Though, it is technically broken.  Don’t panic.  It can be fixed.” – massage therapist

“And this is why my hamstring and back are killing me?” – me

This conversation has brought ne a lot of hope.  I was starting to fear that my back pain was “chronic” and I would never have a peaceful morning putting on socks or shoes again.   I also worried with the on-going sharp pain in the hamstring, that I was bound to need more involved medical intervention to be able to run again.  

After the massage session I did the research she recommended and read that my glutes had likely “turned off” due to tremendous amounts of sitting, and needed to be “reactivated” to prevent injury to the hamstring.    

(I blame that reading for the comment I made to my husband that night…  Namely: “hey, wanna come over here and help me turn on my ass?”)

When he realized it wasn’t as fun as it sounded, he accused me of false advertising and said he’d rather watch.

Everything I have so far says to prevent the injury….The problem is, I’m already injured.  

I have been dealing with an ebb and flow of lower back pain since around the time of the Marine Corps Marathon back in October.  

Some chiropractor visits, a couple of medical massage treatments, and a lot of stretching and icing managed to get the issue under control enough that I could put my shoes on in the morning relatively pain free, and could sit in the car at least long enough to get to work. 

Fast forward through November and December where the back pain was pretty minor and I was ramping up weekly mileage to prep for my 50k.  I went through four weeks of different injuries, fixing one to get another: over training, plantar fasciitis, tight hamstring, and as the race neared, the back pain became significant again. 

I backed off a lot during that time. Treated each injury. Ran. Iced.  Rolled.  Stretched. Repeat. 

On race day there wasn’t even a hint of pain from anywhere, but I still went in cautious. During my second 11.5 mile loop my hamstring started to pull with pain, beyond any of the toghtness I had before. And- around 18 miles, the hamstring was so bad i could feel it affecting everything about my run.   I opted run/walks and played it smart. 

After that the back pain returned. Not as bad as it was in October, but once again, I was in pain trying to put on socks and shoes or whenever I sat.  Driving was making it worse and my job revolves around a lot of driving and wearing 26lbs of gear. My back was not doing well. 

Back to the chiropractor.  Alignments that were painful this time.  Ice that was heavenly.   And another trip to the medical massage girl.  

I took pretty much the whole week off of running.  Walking and stretching never bothered the hamstring, but the explosive kick of running made it sing out in pain.  

I asked what I could do to fix and prevent this.  I need my running. I NEED it. It is how I cope. It is how I burn energy to so I can fall asleep.  It is where I hang out with inspiring people and great friends.   It is my adventure.  It is how I keep from becoming round-shaped from stress, poor sleep, eating  and genetics.  I cannot stop for too long.  Where I am now in life, I fear I wouldn’t be willing or motivated enough to push through all the issues you have when you start back into running. I don’t want to be that person who says “I used to run” as I stare wistfully beyond the person I’m speaking to.  

Thankfully, my massage therapist checked the movement of a couple muscle groups and pronounced, “your glutes aren’t firing when they should in the sequence.  I’ll give you a couple articles and once we’ve got you healed up, you can start training them and it should fix the issues”

I mean, it makes sense.  

She continued to tell me that the majority of runner injuries, in her experience, come from problems with one or both of two areas:  

1) The glutes

2) The feet

I read what she gave me and did some of my own research.  And, basically when you sit a lot, the muscles in your butt tend to shut down.  They can be coaxed to reactivate, but its difficult. 

In my case, was I was doing all this long distance running, and the muscles not meant for the activity were having to do the main work because the real cart horses – the glutes- were not engaging when they should. Basically, my back and hamstring are picking up the slack and getting injured because of it. 

This week I start rehabbing and working on this problem, and hopefully I’ll be in better shape to do my running and races this year.

So, I guess, does anyone have a go-to butt excersize or rehab technique they want to share?   Anyone have this before?


2 thoughts on “The Butt of Training 

  1. I don’t know about a “turned off” ass…however…I have been dealing with hip pain for almost a year now. That being said, I have started to finally make some progress as far as rehabbing the problem. Hip strengthening is key to getting the rest of the body turned on…including the glutes…so, my physical therpaist has me perform the following:

    1. Bridge with leg lift (hold for 5 seconds)…perform 10x each side
    2. Side plank with leg lift (hold for 3 seconds)…perform 5x each side
    3. Squats
    4. Lunges
    5. One-leg squats…perform 10x each side

    Liked by 1 person

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