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A Bad Case of Cocky Runner

There goes my comeback. Pretty sure last week's post was full of unicorn gum drops and happy vibes post-PR, and I may have mentioned a few upcoming races where, obviously, I was going to kick ass and take names.

I may have to rethink my strategy. Last week's total running mileage? Six miles. SIX. Not 60. SIX.

So, what happened? I came down with a bad case of cocky runner. You ever heard of that? Symptoms include overconfidence, a refusal to abide by the scientific laws of recovery and a distinct lack of stretching and foam-rolling. I got cocky runner BAD, you guys.

After my marathon two weeks ago, I did some active recovery - 15 minutes or so of biking or elliptical, took a full rest day and then ran 4 miles on Wednesday. That, my friends, is mistake number one. I felt okay, did some minor cross-training, and then ran 12 miles on Saturday. Mistake number two. I felt fine, but sometimes I forget that the consequences of stupidity are often delayed. It's a classic case of too much, too soon. Some bodies can handle that after a marathon, but mine clearly can't.

Last Monday, I ran three miles that just felt off. Tuesday, I started feeling pain in my left knee that I quickly realized was due to IT Band tightness and crazy tight hamstrings. Let the foam rolling commence! I didn't run at all until last Friday, and even biking was a no-go. Instead, I did lots of foam rolling, stretching and pilates. You know, all the stuff I probably should have been doing all along.  I'm able to run now, but I have to foam roll for about 25-30 minutes first and then take it easy. At this point, I'll be happy if I get away with a couple weeks of babying my legs.

On the plus side, less running leaves time for more cat videos on YouTube, so there's that.

So- any overly cocky runners out there?  
You can join my club if you want. I'm thinking about making T-shirts. 

In seriousness, does anyone have any IT band pointers/suggestions they can share?
Right now I'm doing a few strengthening exercises I found online, taking ibuprofen and icing, but the biggest thing has been foam-rolling. I find that rather than attacking the IT band itself, working on my hamstrings/glutes really helps to loosen me up so that I can run with no pain - although I do slow down and only run on flat surfaces right now.

*After the first couple of comments I realized I have to add this - I didn't draw these! I merely customized my avatar to stick in there and added speech bubbles. Lest you believe I have any form of artistic talent, remember this post? That's what I though.


  1. Are you a cartoonist now? If I did a cartoon of myself, I'd have bigger boobs.


      2. I, too, would like to request a large chested cartoon of myself.

    2. I had the option of several chest sizes. You all know that if I had given myself massive knockers you would be at home laughing.

  2. Vanessa, i love these illustrations. Too cute! No, I don't have the syndrome because i'm still sucky at running and training for my first 26.2 is a humbling experience. Now, when I started putting on the miles training for the half, I had a lot of IT band issues, and the foam roller helped me tremendously especially because at night it was pretty painful around my hip area and the roller and ice is the only thing that helped. While I found it necessary to painfully work on the IT band area, it also helped when i worked on my glutes.

  3. I had cocky runner after my first marathon and it pretty much ruined my entire last half of running last year. I just felt off. I think I am getting back to normal, except for the parts that never were normal.

    I would have given myself bigger boobs too, in my mind I have way bigger knockers than I do in real life.

  4. Yep! In 2011 after my first 10K race. Decided to workout HARD the next morning (Monday morning-it was just weights but a HARD workout) then I biked HARD that monday night, then tried to run 6 mi on Tuesday morning at an easy pace (versus recovery) in new just-out-of-the-box shoes! Doh!! ya live and ya learn right?? =)

  5. OUCH girl! IT band - you are doing all of the right things. I'd also try yoga and possibly a chiro or PT. I saw a chiro pretty heavily when I injured my IT band. But stretches, strengthening, and rolling are all great to do to!!! I love the images! So creative and fun!

  6. I have IT band issues occasionally too. I do side leg lefts to strengthen my hips and foam roll. It does take time for that problem to finally subside, so it might be a month before you feel major results.

  7. I think we've all done this! LOL! After my stellar second 20 miler last year I thought I had a sub 5 marathon in the bag for Chicago...NOPE...over worked my knee and it blew in mile 17...I shuffled my way to the end...didn't run,

  8. With your amazing PR, I think you are fully entitled to be cocky. Now go do some pilates and work on stretching so you can pat yourself on the back, the legs will be fine after a little babying, like you said. But does this mean you can't do the timed race?

  9. I've had it and it sidelines me every.single.time. Don't worry though, you still have a killer PR!!!

  10. I've never had any reason to be a cocky runner, but this made me feel better about only running 5 miles last week. lol

  11. After pulling off that amazing PR you earned that Cocky Runner title! I think I would have been thinking the same :) I think it is kind of hard to come off of that runner's high after something like that and you just want to just keep going and going. I love the cartoons!

  12. You deserve to be cocky after your awesome marathon. Rest up and feel better soon!

    Not sure what to do for IT band syndrome-- stretch/foam roll/strength train

  13. My entire last year was a case of cocky runner. I'm paying for it now and getting back to the point of humbled runner. You'll be back soon! :)

  14. IT bands are the pits. in my recently adjusted foam rolling mind you are doing the right thing by NOT rolling the band but the glutes, hams & quads. Before bed I also alternate hot water bottle & bag frozen veg on the tight area & the knee for about 20 minutes. Do lots of dynamic moves to warm up properly before exercise ... I now break a sweat before a run/bike ride, never used to do that before (thats what the first mile or 2 were for!!!)

  15. Try some KT tape on the IT band. You can google exactly how & where to apply it. I had IT issues a few years ago and the tape really helped!

  16. Stretching, icing, ibuprophen and foam roll is the key. I stretch my hip flexors too, everything is connected in the end and those are usually really tight from all the running. or maybe that's just me. Good luck. Injuries suck!

  17. It happens to the best of us. Maybe set up a series of appointments with a good bodyworker in addition to rolling?

    Killer comics. Off to find where I can make my own – with amazing boobs. You know, like in real life ;-)

  18. NOPE!

    But I loved reading about your case of it!

  19. ITBS is no bueno- rest, stretch, foam roll, repeat.

    Love the cartoons, was wondering about the drawing as well until you said it was your avatar. For the record, "your hair" is strategically covering your chest in all the poses, so technically they could be huge ;)

  20. I only ran 3.92 miles last week, pretty sad I have to say, but not because I was feeling cocky, because I was feeling crappy...especially knowing that I am running a half marathon this weekend. Hopefully all my training will make up for the bad week last week!

  21. I think we all have it in us. But none of us have such cool graphic drawings, so you win! :) I have read in some places that you are supposed to take as many days of rest as miles run! This would be almost a month when you run a marathon!

  22. lol @ that first graphic! I don't have any advice but I hope it gets better soon!

  23. Aaaahhhhh - I love your illustrations! That's awesome! I have absolutely NO (zip, zero, zilch) idea how to even start such a thing and am super impressed - nice touch :) Recovery is such a funny thing and I think it can vary from person to person and from race to race….give the huge PR you had, it's not shocking that it might be taking longer. You'll be back running again really soon!

  24. So sorry girl. Hope your IT band stops acting up. I agree with Beth about recovery being different for each person and each race. I'm sure you will be back to normal in no time!

  25. I remember your "drawing" post....hahaha but I was wondering if, during your time off , you became a skilled artist. I am JUST having my first issues with IT band knee is f*cked. I have no clue what happened....I've been rolling the crap out of the band itself so I'm going to take your advice and do surrounding muscles.

  26. I too have been afflicted by cocky runner syndrome. Like the time I doubled my mileage two weeks in a row. Now, going from 10 to 20 miles is not so bad if you're an experienced runner. But, 20 to 40? Not recommended when you're a beginner. It was not good.

    Hope you're back in prime condition asap!

  27. Welcome back, so good to see the best running blog on the www back.

    I made the same schoolboy error on Sunday. After doing my longest ever 25km run on Sat chose to run a further 12km on the sun as I knew I wouldn't have time to run on mon. Consequence is a calf strain and no running all week :(

  28. i've had IT band problems on and off-all from weak hips. try hip strengtheners, keep up with the foam rolling and get a massage (also a perfect excuse for one)


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