Rehab/Recovery Week 1

*Disclaimer* This post will likely be one of the longest I’ve written. Feel free to skim.

Since I’m not running right now, at least not at the level I have been), it would be easy to let the blog go to the wayside for a while. Instead, I plan to use it as a recovery journal of sorts. A local masters runner, whom I respect greatly, suggested that. Hopefully it will be something I can look back on and learn from once this period is over.

The current plan is to write in the moment observations of how I feel and leave overall conclusions for a later date. The framework I have chosen is four part: pre-workout assessment, workout assessment, post-workout assessment, end of day (eod) assessment. I may cut that number down in later weeks but for now this is what I am doing. This week will include only 6 days since I started on Tuesday.

Starting point: distal hamstring strain caused by incomplete hip extension and week glutes.

Goal of PT rehab and recovery: get back to full hip extension, strengthen glues to help get good control of hip alignment while running, and develop better midsection control.

Day 1 – Tuesday October 6, 2015
Pre-workout assessment: Did not write down.
Workout assessment: I did have to modify some because I did the workout at home. (Mom was parked behind me.)
Walking-The incline was not as high because our treadmill is decidedly not high-tech. I worked up quite a sweat thanks to the warmer temps inside the house. Towards the beginning of the walk my knee, just below the kneecap on the left side felt off just like it did on the test run at PT Monday that I failed to mention. After the first eight minutes or so it did not reappear.
NTC Core Crunch-I modified the frogger with twists to avoid extra impact on the knees just in case. I also used my foam roller instead of a medicine ball which I do not own. These exercises were incredibly hard and proved to me just how weak my core really is. I could not make it through the later sets without brief one or two second rest breaks..
PT homework-I am still not 100% sure that I’m doing this right although I try to remember the instructions every time. The bridges resting on the foam roller were slightly difficult but not too much. The Single leg bridges were slightly more difficult for the right leg than the left. I had to skip the ones on the exercise ball because I do not own one. By the time I got to the step back lunges my legs were starting to feel the fatigue. I don’t remember specific sensations.
Post-workout assessment: My left hamstring felt rather tight, similar to how the right felt after the last long run on September 26th. I’m clueless as to the cause. The right hamstring felt fine but the knee felt cranky in its usual (as of late) way. I iced the right knee and wore the compression sleeve on the left hamstring for 15 minutes before work. My upper muscles felt the burn, the good post-workout kind even if that workout didn’t feel like much at the time.
EOD assessment: My left leg felt incredibly wonky. The hamstring was tight. I felt soreness right at the hip when I lifted the leg. I still don’t know why this occurred. I wore the compression sleeves again and foam rolled.

Day Two, Wednesday October 7, 2015
Pre-workout assessment: I had a charlie horse in my right calf immediately upon waking. overall my abs felt extremely sore. My glutes were mildly sore. My left hamstring still felt tight. I think I was too ambitions Tuesday.
Workout assessment I backed off and stuck with just the PT homework as a precaution. Overall everything felt a little more difficult because everything felt still and sore from the previous day. I also moved slower because of how tired I felt when I woke up. I need to figure out how to get more sleep.
Post-workout assessment: I definitely felt soreness in my glutes, abs and upper arms. The tightness in my left hamstring diminished. I wore the compression sleeve for as long as I could before work. The hip issue also diminished. I think it might be connected to the ab work.
EOD assessment: I struggled mentally, likely a consequence of being completely on my own all day at work. That does not help my tendency to dwell on things. Recovery won’t happen in a day.

Day Three, Thursday, October 8, 2015
Pre-workout assessment: I had another “off” night of sleep. My muscles, especially the abs felt the work of the previous day.
Workout assessment:
Walking: With the more advanced treadmills at the gym, I was able to increase the incline as much as the PT recommended. I slowed the speed a tad too. I could definitely feel the burn in my glutes. The odd sensation on the inner portion just below the kneecap of my right knee did not make an appearance. I was “aware” of a sensation on the outer part of the right knee. There’s not a better way to describe that. It didn’t hurt or ache really but I knew it was there. Perhaps this is a new stage of healing.
PT homework: The handout for the bridges on the stability ball instructed that the exercise be completed 3x per week. Since the PT did not mention anything about that I opted for caution and omitted these since I completed them Wednesday. The rest of the exercises were completed without too much difficulty except the step back lunges. On two of the fifteen completed with the right leg stepping back, my left knee protested but it was only on two of the fifteen. Perhaps my form was poor on those two?
NTC Ab Burner: I was definitely too ambitious with the new core workout Tuesday. My abs were still seriously sore. I figured I would at least start to see how much they protested. I lasted 30 seconds before decided to wait.
Post-workout assessment: I felt much better. My muscles are still rather sore, especially while foam rolling which did help ease the soreness. The left hamstring felt almost normal. I alternated legs wearing the compression sleeve just in case. Legs felt pretty good overall.
EOD assessment: I felt almost completely normal although I did have some mild tightness in my right calf. I wore a calf compression sleeve for an hour or so.

Day Four, Friday, October 9, 2015
Pre-workout assessment: I felt a little creaky upon wake up but nothing too bad.
Workout assessment:
stationary bike: I felt really good and was even able to push a little. My legs were a little tired, like I’ve lost a little fitness but not bad at all.
PT homework: Everything went off without a hitch although I had to be deliberate with the step back lunges. That’s the only time I felt anything off at all.
NTC Ab Burner: My abs were still somewhat sore but not preventatively so. The only modification I made was using a 6lb ball instead of an 8lb one. I actually felt really strong.
Post-workout assessment: I foam rolled and everything felt significantly better than Thursday. Everything feels 100% for the first time in a long time. No stiffness, soreness or weird knee stuff.
EOD assessment: I felt completely normal and loved it.

Day Five, Saturday, October 10, 2015
Pre-workout assessment: I felt a little creaky but overall okay.
Workout assessment:
Run: I was nervous before starting but followed the PT’s instructions of 4:1 run/walk intervals. Fitness/endurance-wise, I felt great, like I didn’t need the intervals. My knee (inner just below the kneecap) felt a little off during the first interval and part of the second but after that it felt completely normal. I really enjoyed being able to run.
PT homework: I did all but the bridges on the exercises ball. Everything felt good even the step back lunges. I was cautious of course.
Post-workout assessment: I know I sound like a broken record but everything feels really good, no stiffness, soreness or other weird aches. I’m feeling optimistic.
EOD assessment: My stride felt a little off at some points during the day but not terrible so. Other than that everything felt pretty good.

Day Six, Sunday, October 11, 2015
This was a complete rest day as usual.
Initial assessment: My right hamstring felt a little tight and sore like it did before I thought/noticed that something was wrong. I stretched and foam rolled as well as wore the compression sleeve. Mentally, I felt a bit low. I’m good with my decision but seeing all the tweets and coverage did bring out a bit of wistfulness.
EOD assessment: Although I indulged a bit too much in wallowing and hyper-analyzing everything (see the initial assessment), everything felt pretty good throughout the day.

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2 Comments

Filed under recovery, running

2 responses to “Rehab/Recovery Week 1

  1. cindy lucking

    Jeni,

    You might want to ask your PT about foam rolling and stretching your hamstring. I was rolling and stretching like crazy but my hamstring wouldn’t heal until I stopped. I had a tear so maybe my situation is different,
    but it doesn’t hurt to ask. Keep up the good work on the therapy exercises!

    • Jeni @ stepping out

      I did ask about the foam rolling. He gave me the okay as long as I wasn’t doing it to the point of pain. Most off e foam rolling that I’ve been doing has been for my quads and glutes. My stretching is limited to back, quads and calf. During my time off I did read that stretching the hamstrings is counter intuitive so I back away from that immediately!
      Thanks Cindy!

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