Since I changed the name of my blog to Ramshackle Runnah, it has given me more of an impetus to really clean-up the mess that my legs have become.
It is also me admitting that I have made a mess of my legs and that I really am starting to be an old fart with a LOT of miles on my body. Who finally has to face the fact and actually accept, that if I want to keep running and do it relatively pain-free, I have to change things. Get real Harold – you have to change a lot of things, especially when it comes to injury management and rehab.
Changing my blog’s name was also a public acknowledgement, with more than a touch of humiliation of how far I had let myself go and how injury-prone I have become.
I am making progress and over the past few weeks I have been very diligent about doing my mobilization, stretching and strengthening exercises.
Let’s get the disclaimer crap out-of-the-way.
I am not a medical professional and what works for me probably will not work for you. If you have a medical condition or injury that you do not feel comfortable treating yourself, you should always see a medical professional for your actual treatment options. I am providing this information as part of my running journey, to share my ongoing efforts to clean-up the mess my running has become due the years of not rehabbing my multiple injuries appropriately (both running and non-running related).
My rehab routine is pretty straight forward.
I just have to do it. Most of the mobilization and stretching portions are based on The Running Injury Recovery Program Workbook by Bruce Wilk, with a few extra stretching exercises from Brain Training for Runners by Matt Fitzgerald.
The strength portions of my routine are from Wilk and Fitzgerald, with some from The Best Ways to Treat Hamstring Injuries, By Thomas C. Michaud on the Competitor website along with some exercises that I have done over the years and believe should be a part of my rehab process.
The tools of torture are:
- Golf ball – nastiest device in my arsenal
- Lacrosse ball – I will never look at one the same way again
- The Stick – hurts like hell, but effective
- Plastic massage doohickey, I got at a health fair while working at Good-Will Hinckley all those years ago and finally found a use for it – to torture my tight muscles
- rubber band/theraband – push the limits of my flexibility
- Foam Roller – I haven’t thrown it out the window – yet 🙂
- Dumbbells = extra resistance
So here is what I do:
I do the mobilization routine every day and stretching/strength routines on alternating days with one day off per week.
- Seated Toe w/golf ball
- Standing Toe w/golf ball
- Standing Arch w/golf ball
- Seated Arch w/golf ball
- Seated Heel w/massage doohickey
- Seated Heel w/golf ball
- Seated Shin w/golf ball
- Seated Calf w/golf ball
- Kneeling Calf w/The Stick
- Seated Knee extended – w/massage doohickey
- IT Band at 90 degrees w/The Stick
- IT Band at 45 degrees w/The Stick
- Sitting on Lacrosse ball
- Floor Seated 45 degree Hamstring w/The Stick
- Laying 90 degree Hamstring w/The Stick
- Foam roll everything after.
It sounds like a lot, but it only takes 20-30 minutes to do everything, depending upon how deep I try to dig in and where the soreness is that day.
I use the the theraband in place of a belt or rope to assist me in extending the range of motion
- Wall Hamstring stretch
- Wall toe stretch w/theraband
- Wall calf stretch w/rope
- Ankle-Knee wall stretch
- Toes to nose stretch
- Toes to nose theraband stretch
- Straight Leg raise theraband
- Straight leg raise theraband stretch to side
- Cross leg side bend
- One legged quadriceps stretch
- One legged ankle-knee diagonal stretch
- One legged leg to chest stretch
- Pelvic stretch w/The Stick
- BT-Lunge Stretch
- BT-Spider Stretch
- BT-Cat Stretch
- and at some point during the day, I go out back of the garage and use my inversion table for 5-10 minutes, which stretches everything.
or as Wilks calls them Basic Closed Chain Exercises
I have 20 pound dumbbells that I use for some things,but I prefer to do my upper body weight workouts at the gym and do mostly body weight exercises with my legs. For exercises that use light hand weights, I just go to the cupboard and get a couple of cans of soup or veggies :).
- Flat footed squats – 2 sets of 15 Since my Chiro wants me to do these first and maintain fantastic form I do these first and I do these daily.
- Square hops – these suck and I am still working on getting better at them, in other words I am uncoordinated.
- Side step down – I do these on the front step when I get back from Bennie’s long walk
- Eccentric Achilles drop – until fatiqued
- One-leg weighted armswings
- One-leg weighted armswings w/pillow
- Barefoot push-up
- Hip Abduction w/theraband
- Lateral straight-leg raise w/theraband
- Straight leg raise w/theraband
- High Knees w/theraband
- Kickback w/theraband
- BT-Lying Hip abduction bent knee and straight leg
- BT-Cook Hip Lift
- BT-Kneeling Overhead draw-in
- BT-Knee fall-out
- Oblique Bridge
- Walking bridge
- BT-Dead bug
- Comp-Single leg tilt with or without weights depends on how leg feeling
- Forward Lunge
- Lateral Lunge
- Barbell Good Morning
- Barbell Deadlift
- Regular Old-fashioned push-ups. Yep they suck, yep they work.
Yeah, by the time I finish up these routines, my legs are pretty much toast and when I tried to do them all in one day it was too much for me now, plus it also took between 1.5 and 2.0 hours, which is just too much time.
Which is why I alternate days on the stretching/strength routines and take one day off per week to rest. On the rest day, I do a quick mobilization routine, but not the full-blown mobilization, it takes about 10 minutes.
I know that I am starting to feel the differences with my legs getting stronger and slightly more flexible. One thing that I have noticed is that the aches/pains and soreness kind of moves around (with the exception of the left hamstring which still sucks), but the amount of screaming that The Stick or golf ball elicit from my muscles is a lot less than it was when I started.
No, these routines are not always fun and it gets repetitive, but for now, these are what I need to do if I want to run more pain-free in the future.
I just want to get through the hamstring hurting phase, get a good base on the strength and flexibility and move to the stretching/strength work only twice a week, while keeping the full mobilization at 3 times a week, with other days having the quick mobilization routine, I am developing for me.
At some point (when the hamstring allows it), I will be adding in dynamic stretching before runs and strides/plyometrics after easy/recovery runs. So I have a lot on my plate coming up and it will be interesting to see how well I stick with the program, based on how badly I have done it in the past.
However, this time it feels different though, because I know that I have to clean-up the mess I have made of my body and then work hard to keep it cleaned-up (which is the hardest part).
Lots of changes, but I do notice a positive difference, which is what I want. Now to get this hamstring to come around.