Testing Limits

I’m finding that while dealing with an injury is tough, figuring out if you’re truly healed and how to train post-injury poses its own set of challenges.  My physical therapist had advised that it would be normal to feel some discomfort in my hamstring as I intensify my program and tax the tissue harder.  This is due to the remodeling of the tissue.

For the most part anytime I’ve felt twinges in my hamstring in the past several weeks it’s tended to resolve in a short period of time, something that I’m to expect per the therapist.  I need only be concerned if the pain is sharp or lingers.

Last Wednesday I ran with dad and Armand for a 5 mile loop.  I watched my pace to ensure I didn’t push it too much given I had ran a challenging 6 mile loop with dad and Jason on Sunday.  The run went fine though we got a bit wet during the middle portion thanks to passing showers.  I had no issues with my hamstring.  On Thursday I did a DailyBurn yoga workout and took a 15 minute walk around the cemetery with Jason.  On Friday my hamstring continuously ached while I worked.  No matter which way I sat the dullness persisted.  Due to my workload I wasn’t able to get up and move around quite as often as I normally try to and wasn’t sure if this was aggravating the area or not.

Jason had planned for us to do a speed workout Fri. evening.  This was partially due to him wanting to test out the workout feature of our new Garmin watches.  I was debating on the smartness of doing the workout given the dull ache, but figured I could always back off the intensity or limit the number of intervals if needed.  I really wanted to test out my hamstring’s limits to determine if it was bordering on being injured again.

We went to the park and completed a 1 mile warmup over to the high school campus and back.  Then we had a 2 minute rest before beginning the .1 sprints that finished up a slight hill.  I had done a similar workout back in February but couldn’t remember how much recovery time I gave myself before each sprint.  Originally we planned for 2 minutes but that seemed too long, so Jason change it to 45 seconds.  We found out soon enough that 45 seconds was not enough time to quickly walk/jog back to our starting point before the watch beeped to begin the next sprint.  This ultimately pushed our ending point back which wouldn’t have been an issue except there was a fenced off area at the top of the hill so to get the full .1 in we had to turn around and start back down the hill.  Jason continued to sprint, but I tended to ease up on the downhill portions so my sprints were more like .8 of a mile.  We completed 10 of those sprints to get a full mile in then ran a half mile cooldown.

All evening and all day on Saturday I waited for my hamstring to start bothering me.  It didn’t.  Yesterday we went to the rail trail to run 6 miles.  Again I was a bit concerned since the portion we ran was nearly all flat and I tend to need hills to break up my pace and give my leg muscles a change.  The run went well though, and I think I could’ve ran farther as the morning weather felt more like fall than mid August.  My hamstring behaved and I only felt it twinge a bit later that day while in the car for an extended period of time.

I feel much better having pushed my hamstring more and see that it didn’t cause any negative setbacks.  I know I still need to be smart and not try to increase my mileage or pace too much too soon, but I feel like I can begin actual training without so much fear of re-injury.

Have you struggled with fear of re-injury after recovering from an injury?  How do you determine your rest periods during a speed workout?


About Tracy

Runner. Writer. Reader. Environmental and Indigenous Peoples advocate. Work from home Workforce Specialist. NASM Certified Personal Trainer. Assistant Varsity Track Coach. Fascinated by the ocean, waterfalls and Christmas lights.
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7 Responses to Testing Limits

  1. runeatralph says:

    I’ve definitely struggled with fear of re-injury. My achilles tear was so sudden and happened on what wasn’t really anything too strenuous, so I feared it could happen again at any moment. I eventually learned to trust it again.

    For rest periods, I try to rest for less than half of the time that my interval took. For an 800m, I usually walk for several seconds and then start jogging around. I start the next 800m after 200m.

    • TracyNicole says:

      I’m sure fully tearing something like that would instill a real fear in anyone that it could rip again. Is there a greater likelihood of that happening since it ripped once? I had worried because I read about how once you injure your hamstring it’s more prone to happening again, but I’m not sure if that’s all hamstring injuries or full tears.

      I think planning specific distance recoveries is easier than planning how much time. I think if I was in better shape I could’ve pulled off the 45 second recovery (each interval was taking me roughly 50 seconds) but I was definitely holding back.

      • runeatralph says:

        That would be a pretty quick recovery. I’m not there now, but hope to be in a few weeks. 😀

        They say the potential to tear it again is low, so I worry more about the other one.

  2. It’s tough after an injury because mentally you’re ready to get back out there, but you don’t want to over-do it and end up not being able to run again. It sounds like you’re being smart about it all and should keep doing what you’re doing. I injured my hamstring but it was very minor and I healed pretty quickly and haven’t had any problems since and that was several years ago. Maybe if you have a major hamstring injury you’re more prone to them, though, like you mentioned.

    • TracyNicole says:

      Holding myself back physically when I’m mentally geared up to go is definitely one of the tougher parts! I was up earlier than usual this morning and considered getting 3 miles in, but given I ran 6 on Sunday, will likely run 6 tomorrow and probably run 6-7 on Sat. I figured that was increasing weekly mileage too much. Instead I walked a mile after work (which oddly enough is when my hamstring started twinging go figure) and did an upper body workout. I thought a grade 1 hamstring strain was a fairly mild injury compared to others, but I guess because I’m still working to correct muscle imbalances it’s taking longer to make it stop fully bothering me? Funny how I survived 2 years of pretty solid training with these imbalances and they’re just now posing a problem.

  3. Laurie says:

    Glad to read that your hamstring is doing better. If it hurts when you are sitting, are you sure that is also your hamstring? I had piriformis issues (which didn’t prevent me from running, but hurt when I sat too long) and hamstring issues (which did affect my running) at the same time. I do stretches for both issues now and they are both much better, but I am afraid of a relapse too.

    • TracyNicole says:

      Somehow I overlooked this comment! Knock on wood I haven’t felt much of anything even while sitting lately though when I was feeling it, it was definitely my upper hamstring area where it connects to the glute. I have had tightness in the past with my piriformis though never much pain so I’m always good about taking a tennis ball or foam roller to that regularly. I’ve been researching Dead Butt Syndrome and think that’s my primary issue… sitting all day has deactivated my glutes and my hamstrings have been compensating. I’m working on adding more glute exercises into my routine to try to correct this!

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