/ Sore hip flexors when running
Do any of UKC the runners have any suggestions for alleviating sore/tight hip flexors when running?
It seems to come on after about 10-12km on the flat and a bit sooner if there's lots of uphill.
I run 6.6km once a week without any issues but in the last month have done a 14km and yesterday a 20km run. The 14km one was pretty much flat with no pain until the last couple of km. The 20km one had about 470m of uphill over a mix of forest tracks, tarmac and bog... The final uphills we had to walk fast up as we were both in pain yet as soon as we get to flat or downhill sections we can run fine again.
These longer runs are done at a very leisurely pace (we can chat) and are basically just a way of rescuing poor weather days. However both myself and partner are struggling with sore hip flexors. The day after I'm fine and no residual pain etc.
Any suggestions welcome
I used to get awful hip flexor pain when running longer distances and it turned out to be tight quads. Several incredibly uncomfortable massages and a new stretching regime and it was sorted.
Not real advice, but it sounds like pushing for a 20km run based off a 6.6km a week is not really recommended unless you have superb base built over years. Some would suggest that your long run should not be more than 20~30% of your weekly mileage. I don't necessarily agree with that as it would mean one might need to run 100 miles a week in order to do a 20 mile run for their marathon training.
Shoes and form could be contributing factors. I take your shoes are not crazily worn out and fit well? Unfortunately, I'm not educated enough to give advice on form or particular thing what could cause sore hip flexors.
From my own experience (n=1), just building more mileage per week and doing this consistently would get rid of such niggles. I'm currently on 70+ mile weeks and my last 3 weekends included 24.6mi (3k ft vertical), 18mi (1.5k ft) back-to-back and 23mi (4.3k ft) long runs. I seem to recover well enough, but I couldn't have imagined running that not so long time ago.
Might be worth looking into some half marathon training plan which might give some structure?
I find I have to stretch pretty thoroughly after every run. Maybe try being systematic with stretching and seeing it if improves.
Also, it sounds like you are maybe increasing distance too quickly, maybe that is putting too much strain on it? After I was building up again after an injury I was told to increase no more than 10% per week, and I think that is the advice for building up whether from injury or not.
We're both pretty (very) hill fit and often jog downhills in walking boots or trainers in the warmer months so whilst the jump in distance seems big it's probably not that bonkers as we'll often do 2 x 25km hill days every weekend.
My partner doesn't run at all during the week! So he's gone from 0 to 14km 4 weeks back and then 20km...
The 20km was a mistake as we'd not included the whole route when we plotted it out. We actually fast walked the boggy bit in the middle of our route (about 1.5km) as bits were calf deep squelch/tussocks so it wasn't all running...
it's more just trying to work out what to stretch, or if it's a posture thing or whatever as we're both suffering the same pain which goes as soon as we walk or hit the flat or downhills.
The longer runs recently have been purely just to get out on days where it's been too blooming foul to go up Munros etc.
My road shoes are good and pretty springy, my trail shoes a bit less so. I wreck the uppers long before the soles wear out so I don't think the shoes are an issue.
I'll definitely try some quad stretches (save the odd yoga class I don't really do any stretching!)
Neither of us are tired at all, that's the frustrating thing. We're going at ~7 min per km type speed (averaged over varied terrain, slower on uphill sections) basically chatting as we jog along.
If I do a shorter run then I'll go at 5 min/km or a bit faster speedwise but I can't sustain that on trails etc so go a lot slower and just bumble along.
We're both used to hill walking with a large sack and doing long days usually 2 days a week so both pretty fit. We both cycle 50 mins each day with hills.
In my previous struggles with hip flexors I've found these exercises useful
Squats, back and forth lunges. Good for the Rectus Femoris (one of the quad muscles). You can add weight if you like, there are other exercises you could google
Leg raises, high knees, various other things that target the Psoas, etc
Have a look at these:
Particularly the kneeling hip flexor stretch.
A good hands-on physio or sports massage person will often be able to help immediately and also give you considerable feedback about what you might need to change.
Might be worth getting X rayed. I had right hip niggles and right knee pain since 2017. It steadily worsened and now it turns out my right hip is gubbed and needs replaced. The right knee pain is referred from the hip. Prior to the surgeon telling me I needed surgery I'd been seeing a Physio for 2 years who was adamant I would not be getting a joint replacement due to my age (47).
> We're both pretty (very) hill fit and often jog downhills in walking boots or trainers in the warmer months so whilst the jump in distance seems big it's probably not that bonkers as we'll often do 2 x 25km hill days every weekend.
For me hill fit and running fit are totally different and jogging down is different to running up. I work in the mountains, and have still always stuck to very careful increases in running distance. Your body does move differently.
> The longer runs recently have been purely just to get out on days where it's been too blooming foul to go up Munros etc.
Yep, it has been that kind of winter! Running has been my main thing too.
> I'll definitely try some quad stretches (save the odd yoga class I don't really do any stretching!)
Stretch hamstrings and hip flexors too. It all takes a hammering and tightness builds. Even if it's not currently something that you are feeling, stretch it before you do!
Thanks, that's definitely something to consider if it gets worse or starts hurting when I'm walking but as neither I (or my other half) have no issues with my hips otherwise I suspect it's probably a case of stretching the right muscles etc, maybe some posture issues (I think we both lean forward too much) and also a certain amount of stupidity in going from running pretty short distances to longer ones.
> Yep, it has been that kind of winter! Running has been my main thing too.
Tell me about it.
Neither of us normally run but this winter some of the weekends we've been away have been so blooming hideous up high that we've resorted to low level bimbling to a cafe/pub then get the bus back again, basically just so we don't go stir crazy sitting in a bunkhouse all day!
How's your resting squat? If you struggle to sit comfortably in a deep squat that could be a sign of reduced mobility. Take a look at Ido Portal's Squat Routine or "30/30 Challenge".
Five or six minutes of resting squat a day has done great things for my hamstrings and hip flexors. You could/should also stretch or do some yoga or similar compensatory movement.
I can easily squat unassisted (not holding anything) with my feet flat but not sure I'd want to try staying there for 30 mins though. Certainly no harm in trying a few mins a day to see if it helps.
I cant do a resting squat for 1 second!
I managed 4 minutes last night but nearly passed out when I stood up and all the blood rushed to my legs!
Maybe stating the obvious, and everyone is different, but a basic, gentle Pilates class is doing me the world of good. I've been walking and running for 25+ years, and now (in my 50s), things are beginning to creak. Exercise tightens everything up, and if you do tightening up continually (I'm told the default action for muscles is to contract, so liken it to perpetually turning the screw), you can guess where that ends up. I've started attending a gentle regular Pilates, and am feeling the benefit of moving (which increases blood flow which helps) and stretching (reverse of the default contracting) muscles which I never knew I had, had forgotten about, needed "un-tightening", and generally moving. Walking and cycling tend to keep upperbody in one position (think about being strapped into a rucksack, or sat on a bike) in a repetive similar movement, so it's good to get out of that mould.
It's working for me at the moment, other people may think differently, and have other needs and need specialist advice. And looking on the bright side, my Pilates class is me and 10 lovely ladies once a week getting sweaty If you pick your Pilates class and tutor carefully, they should be able to assist with any injuries or niggles you need taking into account: the training for some Pilates qualification can be quite rigourous.
I have started doing more flexibility work.
I don't think we need to be super flexible, but we need to be functionally flexible and strong.
I'm finding the Sauna is making a difference. 3-4 days a week I'm doing 15 minutes Sauna and I'm just less stiff. the evidence it helps isnt great as far as I can see but there is evidence that Sauna's are the poor man's altitude so help fitness.
But I do need to work on my squat. My posterior chain is a constant issue with problems all down my soleus/achilles/calf/hamstring most weeks. I find I'm constantly nursing a niggle. I'm averaging 75 mile weeks so it's not too bad but it is taking maintenance to keep things at bay.
> Maybe stating the obvious, and everyone is different, but a basic, gentle Pilates class is doing me the world of good.
Yes, I used to suffer calf injuries on a regular basis and a bit of ITB pain. Started going to gentle yoga classes once a week, been about 2 years now and it’s definitely made a difference. I can’t remember the last visit to a physio...
To the OP, defo recommend regular stretching, maybe Pilates, yoga..whatever. I am running about 800-1000 miles a year for the last few years. (Off-road)
personally I think the answer is there in your first post. 6km is an almost negligible amount of running and then jumping up to double that or more in a single run is bound to cause issues. If I were you, I’d run more base miles p/w - maybe around 10 miles - even if you then yo-yo’d around in terms of occasionally doing some much longer runs I think you’d have fewer problems. You really do have to adapt to running more and other sports (eg running and walking) don’t transfer directly IMO.
Thank you everyone , seems our stupidity of going from 6.6km or 0 (my other half doesn't normally run at all except down the odd hill when hillwalking) to 20km may not have been so sensible and is most likely why both of us were moaning about our hip flexors.
I'll try some stretching and perhaps also think about increasing to two 6.6km runs to work per week so that next time we do something similar it's not such a big jump.
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