Runners know pain.
Whether it’s a nagging annoyance or a major injury, if you put the time into training for a long-distance event, you’ll more than likely have to deal with pain at some point.
A common source of running injuries is iliotibial (IT) band syndrome, which can cause serious knee pain.
The IT band attaches to your hip muscles, the gluteus maximus and gluteus medius, and when the band is tight, it rubs against those muscles and leads to excruciating pain on the outside of the knee. IT band syndrome is caused by overuse, and runners often have to deal with it when they’re deep into a training program, putting in serious mileage and close to race day.
When you’re trying to get that training mileage in, you often spending hours on the road that takes valuable time away from the rest of your life. It’s so easy to skip the stretching after your long run in the hopes of getting back to whatever you were missing.
Unfortunately, this can lead to those hip muscles tightening and eventually can lead to IT problems.
I’ve dealt with IT problems several times over the years and can attribute them pretty much exclusively to my lack of flexibility. When I was training to run the Boston Marathon for the first time, I was finishing up my last long run on the race course when I felt that knee pain hit. It was disheartening to be only a few weeks away from Marathon Monday and feel that if this hit me during the race, I probably wouldn’t be able to finish. After all those months of training, it’s a tough pill to swallow. I was used to feeling stiff and sore after my long runs, but this was all new.