Getting My Legs Back

by tinareale on March 28, 2013

Morning, friends! I have some exciting stuff to share with you today!

I got my legs back! Okay, that’s not the whole shebang for the exciting stuff, but it’s where I have to start.

As many of you know, I spent most of last year plagued by nagging injuries. Nothing too serious, but enough to pull me out of some races and leave me with ample frustration. I had had enough after I finished the Kiawah Island Half Marathon in early December. My nagging pains hadn’t stopped and I knew I needed to give my body a break.

Well, it looks like the break and slower return to running has paid off! My legs are back and happy as ever. I feel brand new again. Here’s what seemed to have worked for me to get my legs back:

1. I took a full month off of running and really emphasized cross training.

From early December through the first week of January I did zero running. Before I had only given myself a week or two here and there, basically until the running itch got the best of me. This time I knew I needed more distraction so I found lots of ways to cross train. I fell more in love with yoga during this time and went back to old favorites with workout DVDs.

2. I centered a large amount of my cross training on improving muscular imbalances.

One of my issues was a super tight psoas muscle. The psoas works to flex the hips, rotate your body, and stabilize from your core through your hips. Basically, it does a lot and when it goes wonky a lot of other things can go wonky. I focused on yoga to help stretch out my tight hamstrings and hip flexors plus strength training that really worked the gluteus medius (aka side butt) for great hip stabilization. That combo made vast improvements for my aches and pains.

3. Didn’t dive back in full throttle.

After my previous 1-2 week breaks, I always went right back into almost my normal training mileage. This time after my month off, I started from almost scratch. I first went through the first 5 weeks of the Couch To 5K program as written. Once it got through week five and the runs were all 2-3 miles at a time, I started following my own thing more. The slower start up certainly helped, though!

4. Continue keeping imbalances in check.

I’m still focusing more on strength training that hits my weak points and yoga to stretch me out. Every day I make a point to foam roll and do a three point hip stretch to keep my hips happy.

5. I followed what I know works for me.

I never had any problems when running three days a week with cross training, so I’m back to that. I slowly built up from 2-3 miles three times a week to where I’m at now. I currently run 3-4 miles on two days a week and now have made my third run my weekly long run where I add a mile to that run each week. I hit six miles last week and aim to hit seven tomorrow! It’s crazy how that used to feel “short” to me and now it’s such a feat to finish. Gets me pumped every time.

Now that brings me to the REAL exciting news!

I’m running a race! It gets better…


In California. It gets better…

image from the fabulous Pavement Runner

With the Runner’s World crew.

Runner’s World editor in chief David Willey and running icon Bart Yasso

You can see why I’m stoked to have my legs back. Just in time, too. You see, last October when I participated in the Runner’s World Half and Festival I was offered the chance to come participate in the Big Sur Marathon. Then, all the leg pain happened. I emailed Runner’s World and let them know, then told them I would 100% understand if I couldn’t go without being able to do the full marathon.

Well, they’re just so awesome they said they would still send me out there to party run with them in one of the shorter distance options! I said sign me up for the 10.6 miler and the stars aligned. Running pain went away and in a month from today I will be doing my next race along the last 10.6 miles of the Big Sur Marathon course. I can’t even express how thrilled I am. Okay, I’ll try. SQUEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!

Although, I have to say being able to run again makes me “squee” even more than this opportunity. I’m SO thankful for the lessons I learned this past year and for your support through it all. Now let’s get back to running around here! Kicking it off with a pretty big bang, don’t ya say? Winking smile 

Anyone out there going to be at Big Sur? What’s some good news you received recently?

Disclosure: My participation in the Big Sur International Marathon weekend as well as travel expenses are being covered by Runner’s World. The excitement and all the raving I will do is 100% my own.


1 Lindsay @ The Lean Green Bean March 28, 2013 at 7:57 am

ahhh so jealous! sounds like a great race!

2 Katie @ Talk Less, Say More March 28, 2013 at 8:03 am

Congrats on the race coming up, congrats on running with Runners World, congrats on getting your legs back!

I’m interested to know more about the stretches you’ve done for your hips. I’m big on sleeping pigeon for my hips but know I need to change things up from time to time. My left hip has been giving me some problems in the last couple weeks and my chiropractor has had to adjust my hips more than ever! Yesterday he mentioned just how tight my IT bands were…bring on the foam roller!

3 tinareale March 29, 2013 at 7:41 am

Well I aim to do yoga 2 times per week which helps because all the hip stretches in there like pigeon. Daily I do this 3 point stretch – holding each direction for 30 seconds. The dude doesn’t do it the prettiest in the video but that’s the gist of the movement.

4 Lee March 28, 2013 at 8:06 am


Jason and I are thinking of doing the Roswell 5K (there’s also a 10 miler) on 4/13. Interested? Apparently you get a free beer after.

5 tinareale March 29, 2013 at 7:42 am

I could probably do that. I would just need to see about someone watching the kids since I have promised Peter free reign every weekend to get stuff finally done on this house so we can move.

6 Kim March 28, 2013 at 8:11 am

That’s awesome – congratulations!!!
Glad that you got your legs back at the perfect time!

7 Lindsay's List March 28, 2013 at 8:11 am

YAY!! So excited for you, Tina! You deserve this little adventure!

8 Linz @ Itz Linz March 28, 2013 at 8:24 am

that’s SO awesome tina!!! i’m so happy for you!! xoxo

9 Kierston @candyfit March 28, 2013 at 8:30 am

Oh my goodness so exciting!!! Love the build up to all the exciting news! My smile grew with every bit of information!

Really happy to hear that your legs are back!


10 Laura @ Mommy Run Fast March 28, 2013 at 8:52 am

Woohoo!! That is so, so fantastic! I’m totally jealous! I’d love to do Big Sur someday, and of course, running with the RW crew is amazing. So excited that your legs are feeling good, and you can do the ten miler. Yay!!

11 chelsey @ clean eating chelsey March 28, 2013 at 9:15 am

Woohoo for getting those legs back!

12 Carissa @Fit2Flex March 28, 2013 at 9:27 am

1. YEAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! I know you’re so happy to be able to run injury free. Running is such a wonderful hobby, motivator, and stress release.
2. I’m a SO jealous you are running Big Sur! I have heard it is the prettiest race on the planet! It’s def on my running bucketlist.

Woohoo for legs!

13 Haley @ The Saucy Apple March 28, 2013 at 9:36 am

So jealous!!! The Big Sur runs are one of the reasons I started running in the first place. I don’t think I’m quite ready for it yet, but one day I’ll make it out there. You’re going to have so much fun, and I hope you run with your camera and take pictures of the scenery. That’s one race recap I can’t wait for. :)

14 tinareale March 29, 2013 at 7:43 am

Definitely plan to! I hate that I won’t be able to do the full course but I’m sure those 10.6 miles will still be fantastic. I don’t plan on racing it by any means because I want to soak up the experience so stops for pics will be happening. :)

15 Sarah @ Blonde Bostonian March 28, 2013 at 9:37 am

I’m so happy for you Tina! I too have been struggling this year with on and off injuries. A stress fracture in October/November, and then tendonitis in February/March. I’m now JUST getting back into the swing of things I and I found myself nodding in agreement with everything you said here. I just finished 4 weeks of no running – only cross training and yoga – and I feel better than ever. I just signed up for my first marathon, the Marine Corps Marathon, yesterday and I’m pumped. I feel like I’ve learned a lot about what my body needs (more balance and strength work for my hippys) and it will help a ton when I get into training. Thanks for being an inspiration!

16 Emily N March 28, 2013 at 9:43 am

So exciting! I have heard Big Sur is SO BEAUTIFUL! Enjoy it!

17 Heather March 28, 2013 at 9:45 am

SO jealous that is AWESOME! I have always wanted to run that race, I am sure you will have a blast. I love me some Bart!

18 Michelle March 28, 2013 at 9:55 am

I’m SOOOOO jealous!!! Yay for getting your legs back :)

19 Lauren March 28, 2013 at 10:03 am

How exciting!!!!! Nothing is better than feeling that runners high once again and in Cali! Oh girl! :) Awesome!

20 Alex @ therunwithin March 28, 2013 at 10:05 am

Gosh I am beyond jealous. this is great news and what a race to get back into it. Awesome!

21 She Rocks Fitness March 28, 2013 at 10:08 am

WOOT WOOT! Sounds like a fabulous race and trip and I am so glad your legs are back and ready to ROCK…Congrats and have a great time! I think Stuft Mama is running that too… :)

22 tinareale March 29, 2013 at 7:45 am

She is. :) We’re already so happy to get to see each other again. Hope her groin heals though.

23 Kaitlin @4loveofcarrots March 28, 2013 at 10:14 am

Yayy for getting your running legs back!! Oh my gosh I am really jealous of this race you get to do! I so wish I could go to that!

24 Tiff @ Love Sweat and Beers March 28, 2013 at 10:15 am

Yay! That’s great news! So happy for you. You’re going to have a blast! I know it’ll be hard to keep the excitement down so that you can continue easing back into things, but I know you can do it. :)

25 Natalie @ FreshLifeFindings March 28, 2013 at 10:15 am

This is great news! I’m so glad you are back to your running self, I know that feels great after a hiatus :) And I can’t wait to hear about your Runners World trip!

26 Bethany @ Accidental Intentions March 28, 2013 at 10:41 am

Wowza, Big Sur, eh? Look at you! I’m very impressed and excited to hear both that you’ve been able to get back into running AND that you’ve been taking care of yourself in the mean time. I think sometimes that’s the biggest struggle — consistently listening to your body, consistently doing what’s best for it, and consistently forcing your head to make decisions rather than your heart. I can’t wait to hear all about how the race goes!

27 Marielle March 28, 2013 at 10:50 am

Congrats! Looks like an awesome race!!

28 Christine @ Love, Life, Surf March 28, 2013 at 11:25 am

Yay!! So happy to hear that you are back to running!! And so so so fun that you’re going to Big Sur. It’s absolutely gorgeous there. One of my favorite place. You will have an amazing time!

29 Meghan @ After the Ivy League March 28, 2013 at 11:50 am

Congrats on getting your legs back! I love reading your tips and advice on how you’re managing to run pain free now. I sometimes have pain in my IT band after a longer run (5 or more miles). I’ve been foam rolling and stretching pretty regularly (I know I need to more) but I’m wondering what stretches you do for hip flexibility? And strength moves for the side butt? I think that could really help me!

30 tinareale March 29, 2013 at 7:47 am

I linked to the hip stretch I do daily in a comment up above if you want to check that oout. I also try to do yoga 2 times per week with all the hip and hamstring opening it does.

For the side butt, I do sets of hip abductions and/or side walking squats with a resistance band and/or side lunges in all my lower body or full body workouts. Not all but at least one every time. When really working on it my sports chiro even had me doing 2 sets of lying hip abductions every day before foam rolling.

31 Meghan @ After the Ivy League March 29, 2013 at 8:48 am

Awesome, thanks for responding! I have a resistance band at home so I think I’ll start adding hip abductions and side walking squats to my routine to strengthen them a bit. I’ll check out those stretches too now, thanks again!

32 Ashley @ My Food N Fitness Diaries March 28, 2013 at 11:57 am

This is so awesome, Tina! I’m excited for you!

33 Angela @ Happy Fit Mama March 28, 2013 at 1:04 pm

No way! That is so fantastic – legs back and Big Sur! Can’t wait to live vicariously through you. :)

34 Katie @ Peace Love & Oats March 28, 2013 at 1:20 pm

omg SO JEALOUS!!! Big Sur is definitely on my marathon bucket list, it’s supposed to be gorgeous!! YAY! I’m so excited for you!!!

35 tinareale March 29, 2013 at 7:48 am

I have a feeling running the last 10.6 miles is going to make me want to do the full of it one day. Haha!

36 lindsay March 28, 2013 at 1:23 pm

oh wow! that’s so amazing! i’ll be there cheering for you in spirit! so glad you are better and can run. YIPPPEEEE!

37 Rhonda Rose March 28, 2013 at 1:46 pm

What great news Tina! I know how frustrating it is to be injured and not able to do the things you love. You made a wise choice in really taking it easy and allowing your body to completely heal. What a reward this will be – congrats!!

38 [email protected] March 28, 2013 at 2:08 pm

Ahhhh SOOO exciting!!! Yay for being smart about recovery :) Great example to all!

39 Maria March 28, 2013 at 2:16 pm

Congrats! I had a whole year of fighting an nagging knee injury and I ran a bit yesterday and feel completely fine. All ready to start Bootcamp on Monday! I know how frustrating it can be to be injured, so I’m so happy that you are past that!

Big Sur is so beautiful and you’ll have an amazing time! I live the Bay Area (I think about 2 hours north), but it would be a nice weekend getaway for me to come down :)

40 Amanda Perry @ Sistas of Strength March 28, 2013 at 2:19 pm

Awwww how fun! What a great reward for taking some time off and doing the right thing for your body to heal!!! XOXO

41 jobo March 28, 2013 at 2:22 pm

YAY!!! that is SO AWESOME!!! Of course, I will be out in that area (Napa and then LA/Costa Mesa) the same timeframe but not the same day that this race is! But I will be cheering you on virtually and perhaps drinking some wine in Napa thinking of you!! SO AWESOME and SO happy for you!

42 Lorrie March 28, 2013 at 2:38 pm

Congrats!! So exciting! Such a beautiful area for a run. I’m currently going though leg injuries also- very bad piriformis pain/inflammation. I told myself I need to take a month off of running if I am to run all the races registered for in the spring/summer and fall.
I’ll think of you as I recover!

43 tinareale March 29, 2013 at 7:49 am

Oh, bummer. I know how hard it is but I can say it is worth it. And it goes by a lot faster than you think it wil.

44 Sarah @ The Pajama Chef March 28, 2013 at 2:51 pm

congrats!! so exciting!

45 Michelle @ Eat Move Balance March 28, 2013 at 3:00 pm

Congrats on feeling back to normal, and having the opportunity to participate in such a fun race! Yay!

46 Ari @ Ari's Menu March 28, 2013 at 3:08 pm

First of all, I am so freaking excited for you!!!!! Second, thank you for sharing some light at the end of the injury tunnel. I totally need to hear about that right now!!

47 Lisa March 28, 2013 at 3:19 pm

Yay yay!!!
So excited for you and this opportunity. And that’s amazing that you’re seeing some great things happen after the injury. I’m glad you were smart with your body and let it recover from the injury too! So important.

48 Stacy @ Stacy Eats March 28, 2013 at 3:50 pm

YAY!! Amazing news on both fronts!! Congratulations!

49 [email protected] Palate March 28, 2013 at 5:21 pm

Congratulations Tina! Delighted for you! You’re hard work and determination as well as dedication to looking after your body has paid off!

50 Pavement Runner March 28, 2013 at 6:28 pm

THAT IS SO FRIGGIN EXCITING! I really wish you were healthy enough to run the whole thing. It is an amazing course and one of my favorites that I have ever finished.

Bart rocks, too.

So happy for you and excited that you are getting your mojo back… safely, this time.

51 tinareale March 29, 2013 at 7:50 am

I know running the 10.6 is going to make me want to do the whole thing someday. I was bummed not to get to do it too. When they asked me back in the fall I was feeling okay then so thought heck yea. Then just a month later all the crap came back. I was SO bummed. But now just so thankful I can even still do this part.

52 Michele @ Nycrunningmama March 28, 2013 at 6:41 pm

YAYAYAYAYYA! I was SO SO SO happy when they said you had won – so excited for you! And glad you got your legs back!!!!!!! Can’t wait to read all about it (and live vicariously through you!) =)

53 Anna March 29, 2013 at 6:31 am

Yay Tina! That is so great! Wonderful job listening to your body and finding your fit!

54 Lauren @ Oatmeal after Spinning March 29, 2013 at 11:06 am

Yay- that’s so exciting!! Congrats!!

55 Ruby March 29, 2013 at 12:50 pm

This is SO awesome, Tina! Well done for sticking to your recovery plan!! That’s just fantastic and it’s made me feel like, after I have this baby, I may do some running again as well. I think what gets in the way is the constant drive to run more and faster (at least for me), but the joy of being able to run 3, 4 or 5 miles after an injury is so great, that you don’t take the constant increase for granted anymore.

56 Coco March 29, 2013 at 8:52 pm

Yay! So glad your legs are behaving! I bet that course will be gorgeous!!

57 Bonnie March 30, 2013 at 1:22 pm

Just seeing this. WAHOO! Big Sur is unbelievably GORGEOUS and you are going to love it out there! It will be tough, hilly but SO worth it. Plus, it’s covered by Runner’s World? No way. So amazing, Tina! I want Big Sur to be my first marathon – it’s on my bucket list! HAVE FUN!

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