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Posts Tagged ‘runner’s stretches’

A Beginning Runner’s Story

This is the story of how Kabri became a runner, and the tricks and tools she used along the way. Read more about her running story in Part 2 and Part 3.

Part 1: A Beginning Runner’s Story

How Kabri choose running…or how running choose her!

Three years ago, I began training for my very first half marathon. Little did I know that my journey of becoming a “runner” was just beginning.

As an active child and young adult, I participated in many forms of team sports. The love I had for sporting success, namely in competitive soccer, softball and rugby, could not scrub out my disdain for running when not chasing a ball. After college and a couple of years in a very active job, I earned both a promotion and a transfer. I was brought in from the field and placed in front of a desk, as well as moved from the east coast to San Francisco. With the beautiful Bay Area’s outdoor opportunities around me, I was determined to be the exception to my coworkers and I called “the office 35”– the 35 pounds everyone seems to gain after coming in from field positions.

When I started to tally my options, I found that there was only one activity that was realistically within my budget and time constraints. My tally went something like this:

  1. Cycling: need a bike – parts, maintenance and gear are expensive
  2. Swimming: need a pool – work hours limit activity to before-6am or after-6pm
  3. Local team sport: work hours limit availability and prohibit consistent attendance.
  4. Running? Gear—not too expensive, time—flexible, area— boundless

Only problem— I hate running.  I was determined to make running work. I figured that if I could somehow learn to love running now, then I would be in a great position for the rest of my life: able to get up and run wherever I was in the country or world. So, in order to facilitate a semi-enjoyable entry into the world of running, I decided to combine my goal with another love I had found since moving to California – hiking. I was going to be a trail runner, it was settled!

To read more about Kabri’s running experience; how she overcame new running aches and pains,  read Part 2 in the series.

Taming Tight Hamstrings

Many athletes suffer from hamstring injuries each year, but tight hamstrings can also occur from daily activities like walking.  Understanding the cause of tight hamstrings is key in determining a prevention plan.

The hamstrings are not one muscle, but actually a group of three muscles that run down the back of your leg from the pelvis to the lower leg bones making up the bulk in back of your thigh. Your hamstrings function to extend the hip and flex the knee joints. The three muscles that make up the hamstrings are the biceps femoris, semi-tendinosus and semi-membranosus.

A hamstring pull is a muscle strain where muscle fibers are torn either partially or completely. If you have a hamstring injury you are likely to know it right away. A sudden, sharp pain in the back of the thigh could be your first indicator. After which it will be hard to straighten your leg out all of the way without pain. CT scans and MRI may be used to define the more serious injuries.Hamstring injuries happen when the muscles are stretched too far causing tearing of the muscle fibers. Sudden sprints or other fast or twisting motions with your legs (e.g. soccer, running, jumping, basketball) are the major causes of hamstring injuries.

 

The primary risk factors for injury include:

  • Age: As you age, your muscles loose flexibility, making it easier to suffer from a hamstring injury.
  • Fitness Level/Flexibility: Your fitness level is based on strength, endurance and flexibility. The less flexible you are, the more likely you are to pull a muscle and depending on what activity you are participating in, the more likely that muscle will be your hamstring.
  • Strength Imbalances: The muscle strength and flexibility imbalance, specifically between the quadriceps and hamstring muscle groups can lead to hamstring injuries. The hamstring muscles of one leg may be much stronger than the other leg, or the quadriceps muscles may overpower the hamstrings leading to injury.
  • Fatigue: When you’ve done too much, too soon or have pushed yourself beyond your limits you lose coordination between muscle groups. This lack of coordination can easily result in a pulled muscle.
  • Improper Warm Up: Muscle fatigue and not warming up properly can contribute to hamstring injuries.

If you’ve ever pulled your hamstrings, prevention will clearly be your goal, repeating that injury not only interferes with your everyday activities but puts you at risk for a repeat injury. To prevent future pulls, and for tips on preventing pain before it begins visit Medi-Dyne’s Pain Solution Center.