It’s that time of year – summer officially starts TODAY! It’s a season of new tennis shoes, a plethora of themed races, racerback tan lines, eating better and getting fit. I have signed up for two half marathons and was extremely excited to start training. The day I was to begin running, my inner fitness trainer declared that “there’s no better way than to jump out of bed and warm up with a couple burpees and some crunches!” Of course, I agreed. What could be more practical than 5 sets of 10 burpees and crunches first thing in the morning?!
While I applaud my over-enthusiastic inner fitness voice, my real body did not feel the same. I made it through all 5 sets *whew* and felt pretty good. Throughout the day, though, my leg began to ache right where it attaches to my hip. Friends, that is called your hip flexor. The ache went from bearable to dear-god-just-cut-my-damn-leg-off pretty quickly. Stairs became the devil, walking without a limp was impossible, and it took all of my strength to make myself get in and out of the car.
That was three and a half weeks ago.
Let me just break down what exactly your hip flexors do – turns out they’re pretty important. Your hip flexors are groups of muscles that allow you to lift your knee and bend at the waist. They engage when you kick, walk up and down stairs, do lunges and squats….and get in and out of cars. It’s one of the strongest muscle groups in your body – which means, when you strain it (or heaven forbid, tear it), it hurts like a B.
I opted not to go to the doctor, and instead to self-diagnose thanks to Google, because spending money on an MRI just didn’t sound like the most fun thing to do (or the most affordable). Based on the info I read, I’m sure I didn’t tear it, but I definitely strained it pretty well. Earlier this week, I attempted to slowly jog 1 mile….I made it 1 block. These muscles are no joke, people.
For the future, I will be sure to warm up muscles and to engage in hip flexor strengthening exercises. These can include shuffling, getting into a side plank and lifting the top leg with reps, and single leg dead lifts among others. Those who have office jobs: sitting for long periods of time can cause these muscles to become weak.
Let my over-excitement of running season be a lesson to you all (although I’m sure you’re all smarter than I, because really, what kind of sane person does burpees before breakfast?) – WARM UP AND STRETCH THOSE MUSCLES!!!
…….I’m hoping to be able to start running by July – It’s a good thing my races aren’t until September and October.
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