Hamstring Hell – Which Sadly I Deserve

Hamstring stretch

I am sitting here with an icepack on my right hamstring. I felt it niggling a couple of days ago, then on last night’s run I felt it go ‘crunch’ and despite stretching, lots of Deep Heat, and a good sleep last night – it is worse today. I spent the morning searching for articles on what to do about it and after reading through several (Runners World had a good one, Runners Rescue was also good and the Physiotherapy Corner at Nismat also provided some good information). Essentially, all of them say ice the area, rest, and…stretch…

Sadly, I deserve it. Yes, less than a week before a 16 mile race and 3 weeks before a marathon, I pig-headedly went out running each day without stretching properly. In fact, I rarely stretch properly and this discomfort is obviously my body finally giving up in annoyance and saying “well, if you are not going to bloody well do it, I am going to MAKE you!” I don’t know why I am so bad at it? I know that going out on a cold night without a good stretch beforehand is courting disaster but sometimes I am not very clever and I only acknowledge how silly it is once I have done something painful.

I think it is because I am usually in such a rush. 24 hours in a day just isn’t enough and when you have to sleep 8 of them like I do, you try and maximise every other waking minute you have. Stopping for 10 minutes and stretching before a run always seemed like 10 minutes I was losing off my run. Well, I have learned my lesson now. That extra 10 minutes is going to floor me for several days I suspect. Ho hum. It kind of serves me right.

Of the articles I have read, several have said I can keep running, others have said to rest. The sad thing is (and this is quite sad in more ways than one) I wanted to start a little Tiger Running Streak. I say it is a bit sad because I had managed a whole week. When you pick yourself up from the floor from laughing, a week is pretty good for me! Every journey starts with a single step, I like to say, so every running streak will have to start with a single day. I felt so good getting out and running each day, but clearly not so good that I actually stretched before I went.

So, when I am back on my feet again, the challenge is to spend at least 10 minutes before every run stretching. In fact, my Tiger Running Streak (which is going to have to start again with a single step) should have an extra condition attached especially for me.

I will run every single day for a year for at least 1 mile with at least 10 minutes stretching before I run. There you are. I have set myself the challenge. Unfortunately, the icepack means it will probably need to start in a couple of days time.

Lesson learnt 😦

Thank you CellPhoneSusie for the loan of the photo (which will hopefully remind me from now on) 


5 responses to “Hamstring Hell – Which Sadly I Deserve

  1. I have never pulled a hamstring before, so I don’t really know what you’re feeling right now. But I know for a fact that it must be hurting pretty bad. I have had my fair share of injuries, usually lasting longer than they needed to be. So all you can do now is rest and ice and get better..

  2. I’m not entirely sure that stretching will help, or that lack of stretching caused your injury, Nancy … see for example recent NY TIMES article “To Stretch or Not to Stretch? The Answer Is Elastic” at http://www.nytimes.com/2008/03/13/health/nutrition/13Best.html which talks a bit about the evidence pro & con …

    I almost never stretch, and of course I’m now suffering from an ITB “issue” (not at the knee end, but at the hip end of the band — see http://zhurnaly.com/cgi-bin/wiki/Comfortably_Numb etc.) … but it’s not too bad and I think I can still do the 50k this weekend and the 50 miler in a fortnight … we shall see, and I’m going incredibly slow, of course …

    So Nancy, whatever you do (ice is nice — I prefer to apply it internally in the form of ice cream) best of luck for a speedy and complete recovery to running well!

  3. Nancy Williams

    Thank you both @^z and @Trail running for your kind comments. The NYT article is particularly revealing. I blame it on the stretching (or lack thereof) because I feel I need to blame it on something! I did go for a couple of mile ‘shuffle’ last night and it didn’t feel good.

    Good luck with your 50K, Mark – I will be looking out for your report on it next week. And I’ll let you know how the 16 miler goes – I am still doing it. A sore hamstring isn’t going to stop me.

  4. I would suggest that you DONT try to replicate the lady in the photo.

    Stretching is important but to be honest, you can’t learn it from the New York Times….

    We use the Alter book – find it on amazon. Ours has a gymnast on the front but is waay old..

    Find some stretches that suit you AND BE CAREFUL…

  5. Nancy Williams

    @jonathan Thank you for the advice! I have been particularly gentle but I have to say that knowing what stretches are the right ones is confusing to say the least (there is so much conflicting information). I will definitely look into your book suggestion. Much appreciated

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