Since my unexpected hip issues at IM Louisville, the tightness hasn't really gone away. Even with a few weeks of taking it easy, every time I ran or got to the end of a ride, I could feel that the area around hip and just above the right buttock was much tighter than the left side. It obviously wasn't just a one-off occurrence at Ironman and I would need it to be looked at! I couldn't continue with the threat of the hip shutting down as I approach big training blocks or major races.
To that end I went to a sports massage therapist who came highly recommended and had worked on a number of athlete friends. Apart from the namby-pamby massages you get for free after IM races, this was actually the very first massage that I had ever had, I didn't really know what to expect and so just described the hip issues and laid down on the table!
The next 75mins were both painful and relaxing if you can get such a thing. Not surprisingly my legs were just so tight that they needed a lot of work and it would take several sessions just to get down into the deeper tissues. The tightness had left me with limited flexibility of the muscles and so we worked on stretching exercises that would help that.
The good thing was that we came up with a logical explanation for the right hip issue and it stems from a muscle imbalance starting on the left core and making me overcompensate on the right hip. That came as a great relief as imbalances like that can be worked out......scenarios such as hip arthritis and all that are much bigger issues!
I was pretty sore after the first session and at the end of it, I was told not to expect to be able to train hard for a few days as the muscles would have been severely broken down during the massage. Unfortunately I had a metric marathon (16.2miles) race two days later and so put a good result out of the window.....or so I thought. I actually came in 3rd overall (and won a nice purple mum for Sarah) after running in 2nd for 85% of the race with limited training in September and I had no hip issues at all. Running through the 10-13mile markers where the hip flared up in Louisville I was wary and just waiting for something to happen. It didn't and so I was well chuffed.
I have now been to a few massage sessions and we are getting to the point where I will just need to schedule maintenance sessions that will just keep any major issues at bay. I was never fully convinced about the impact of massages but trust me they are well worth it and will work out all those kinks in the body that you never thought you had!
Check out Eastport Bodyworks if you are in the Annapolis area.
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