There are those times you have to go back to square one, when it comes to injuries, because the intensity of marathon training really doesn’t allow injuries any time to properly heal, and the race itself can make things even worse.
Some of my recovery products have been graciously provided to me by my sponsors, other things are expensive, and I pay for, but it is money well spent as it all adds up to a faster recovery time. Especially as hamstring injuries are VERY slow healing.
My recovery has involved the following:
- Active Release Therapy from Dr Mike Sullivan 1-2 times per week. If you are in the Lexington (KY) area, I would definitely recommend him, he is the absolute best…..no really, he is the one who teaches ART!
- Deep tissue massage once per week from Karen Keys. Karen works with the University of Kentucky Football Team and Track Team
- Religiously taking my Enduropacks, especially my L-Glutamine Recovery Tablets and Amino Acid Patches
- Using Primal Sport Mud twice a day with a heat pack
- Completing a thorough warmup before every run. This includes my Warm Up Drills, Core Exercises, and Leg Swings
- Starting off runs slowly, to allow my hamstring to warm up properly
- No strides or faster running
- Consuming a diet rich in nutrients that are known to assist with recovery (Read my 27 Foods to Reduce Inflammation)
- Keeping my hips as loose as possible to reduce the strain on my hamstring
This may seem like a long list, but I really want to get back to training, at 100%, not the 80% I was running at for most of my Chicago Marathon buildup. This means doing all the little things to reach that 100%.
The last point is the one I would like to focus on today. During the summer, when my hamstring issue first appeared. I was regularly doing yoga. Not at a class, but in the comfort of my own home. A slow, stretching focused routine. I noticed huge differences in how my hamstring felt after doing this routine, and I also noticed a difference in my runs. Women are especially susceptible to hip issues, and stretching those hips out not only prevents injuries, but helps you naturally stride out a little more without putting in any more effort (or aggravating a pesky hamstring).
These are the exercises I have found to be most effective. I hold each stretch for around 90 seconds, to really allow the muscle to let go. Make sure you continue to breath deeply the entire time. You should never stretch to the point of real pain, but it will probably be uncomfortable to start, but will ease up after around a minute.
Hurts so good! I am not a yoga instructor, nor am I qualified to tell you how to do these yoga poses, I have just found these have been very beneficial to my hips, and I always notice how much better they feel walking around after I finish the routine. If you would like any further explanation of any of these poses, please contact me, and I will be happy to help!
Have you ever had a hamstring injury? How long did it take to heal? What stretches do you enjoy doing?
Those are all great stretches and most of them are part of my quick post run routine. I especially love the feeling of stretching my hips after a run and it makes a big difference I feel. Hamstrings are really really slow! Haven’t had a problem with mine running but as a gymnast injured mine and it honestly has never felt the same flexibility wise, and it was over 15 years ago. Darn injuries!
Thankfully no hamstring injury. I love yoga for stretching. I believe starting regular yoga practice has helped my comeback tremendously!
Have a fabulous Friday my friend 🙂
Great article Tina! I Am struggling with hamstring issues right now and it is a good reminder that I need to be much better about stretching. Sometimes it is just the last thing I want to do. After reading this I am going to make sure to implement a better stretching routine with these poses included. I know my runs will feel much better if I do so.
This is so perfect for me right now since I have the SAME injury. I actually just schedule an appointment for ART and lined up a few massage appointments as well. I’ll be going down the list (and I pinned the stretches) in hopes that my hammy will heal 100% too!!
Talking injury is so taboo to me, I am afraid of jinxing myself lol. I do however love a good stretch and yes, love Pure Barre because it automatically gets me stretching and loosening everything up so I don’t even have to think about how to incorporate it into my routine. These stretches really do make a difference, I agree with you.
Oh my gosh I need these, my hamstrings acted up through my training but after my race, they’ve been so bad this week! I am doing these after work today for sure! My lower back has been hurting actually since my hamstrings hurt. Hope yours get better soon!
I know I need to do yoga more often. ALL of my lower body muscles are so tight. Sound like you have a good recovery plan!
Yoga saved me this marathon season. I practiced at least twice a week, and I swear by it as what got me to the start and through the finish healthy and happy. I get such tight hips, especially from sitting at my desk or even just over night, that yoga is my salvation.
Hip openers are my favorite stretches. So beneficial for me as I’ve had tight hips and hamstrings my whole life. Pigeon and frog are the best!
I have to admit this is something I need to get better with. I am really wanting to focus on Yoga and strength training now and into my next training cycle. Thanks for showing some of your favorites Tina!
Awesome! This sequence looks like my end of kickboxing class stretches! No one likes angry hips. Love the pictures. Great job!
Love all of those poses. My hips have been really tight recently. I am headed to hot yoga today and need to get back onto primal sport mud. Do you use it on your hip?
Every day….well on my hamstring! Twice a day actually! With a heat pack 🙂
What a great series of poses! I have had similar issues and found some of these poses helpful as well. I really like the way you shared them with pictures 🙂
Recovery thoughts your way!
Yes to this sequence—pinning! You are being super proactive, so I’m very hopeful that you will be back to running at 100% soon. I was getting regular massages and then I stopped (expensive) but I really need to start going again–they seriously help!
Hey Tina, how do you rotate your training schedule? Could you give me an example of what you do in a week(ie, Monday 10 mile long slow distance, Tuesday rest day, wednesday 5 mile tempo run…etc)?
Hi Linda, maybe I could do a post on that? Think that would be helpful?
I had a hip injury at the end of the summer and have been working to strengthen it and help loosen it. This is a a great list! I used to go to yoga classes regularly and loved it, I think I need to find a way to develop a home practice to get back at it.
These are some of my favorite yoga poses! My hips get so tight and I think it plays a big factor in my glutes not working properly, leading to muscles like my piriformis becoming overworked. I’ve been doing a few hip opening yoga poses on my own lately to help keep my hips loose before my upcoming marathon. Thanks for sharing!
I’ve been adding many of those in after pregnancy – it threw my hips out of whack and the stretches are really helping. You’re taking such a solid, well rounded approach to heal that injury… so smart!
The other day I ran about 7.5 miles and my left hip was feeling sore. Do you think these stretches would have helped?
Oh definitely! Most women will find some benefit from these!
Active Release Therapy? I need to read up more on that! Great stretches!
Yes! It is so helpful for muscle injuries! Especially when you find a great therapist! 🙂
These poses are of our daily routine in yoga. They are so helpful on a daily basis.
You know that I love this and love that you are doing yoga! These are all such great poses for runners.
I have always had tight hamstrings, but once I started to incorporate yoga into my routine, it made a huge difference. Some of my favorite are forward folds and double pigeon pose, and frog pose. Frog pose focuses more on hips, but in the end it’s all connected and it all feels good and all helps. Right?
I’ve been doing more yoga lately. That’s one good thing about not specifically training for a race right now…more time for yoga! I need to make it a habit and keep it up when the miles increase again.
My hips and hamstrings are ridiculously tight! I need to be more diligent with the yoga. These are some of my favorite poses. LOVE pigeon!
I’ve never had a hamstring injury but currently I have s weird leg thing going on that affects pretty much my entire leg – mostly my quad, side of knee and top of calf – I haven’t been able to run in weeks.
I will start doing these stretches – can’t hurt and I like to do everything I can to help my hips!!!
I know I really need to do more yoga. I was very diligent for a while but then fell off the wagon – and boy can I feel a difference.
Sounds like you have a great plan to recover your hamstrings. The hips are sooo vital, I am working on hip openers too, yoga is so great for that!
This is such a perfect round up! I really struggle with my hips (I don’t even run much any more!) and am always trying to make sure I’m still stretching them – this little routine is ideal!
I do all of these poses! I always feel SO good after some yoga, whether it’s a long routine or just a few stretches. Hip openers are some of my favorite stretches because my hips get really sore after running or basketball! I also don’t mind the toning it gives m muscles 😉
These are great, I have VERY tight hips, and sometimes these don’t even work….but I try to do them religiously!
I did these yesterday and loved them!! They felt so good on my hamstrings. I’m not sure how I hurt them so bad but I just wanted to thank you for these!
PIGEON POST FOR LIFE. I go to yoga JUST for pigeon! ah NEED to go tomorrow for sure 🙂
I love me some yoga, even when I’m not running I think hip openers are a great thing to do 1-2x a week because as crazy as it sounds sometimes everyday life is enough to make everything all tight.
The pigeon pose is my favorite! Love all of these stretches and this is a good reminder that I need to do them MORE! 🙂
Love these stretched Tina. I”m going to share them with a friend who was asking me for some the other day!
I am definitely going to give these stretches a try. I have the tightest hips from running, hopefully this will help a bit. 🙂
Hi Tina, lost track of your blog for awhile because it stopped showing up on Feedly! I hurt my hamstring in August (and we exchanged a few emails before your marathon). I’ve been doing a lot of the same things you are working on with ART, massage, stretching/yoga, and staying away from faster paces. In addition, I’ve foam rolling the hamstring – but instead of foam rolling, I use a medicine ball because it is harder. I stop on the spots that it hurts and try to relax the muscle. Sometimes it starts to sort of melt a knot away. Also been working on hip and medial glute strength to keep every thing stable while running. Hope yours heals up right soon!! Kristen