Hi Hayley!

After losing over 80 lbs of baby weight through diet and exercise, I got back to my old love, running. This past summer I did 2 10k races, 2 Try-A-Tris and a Warrior Dash. I was starting to work on my goal of a half marathon when I injured my IT band. The sports doctor I saw diagnosed the injury and gave me a series of stretches to do but to be honest, they haven't been helpful. I've been resting it and just started using a foam roller but I still have excruciating pain in my leg and knee after any kind of activity.

So now I'm working out less (ok, not at all) and not running and making horrible food choices. Between a stressful job and two young kids, physical activity is my outlet for relieving stress, improving strength and just clearing my head so I can be a better mom, wife and co-worker.

I NEED to run, Hayley. And if I can't do that, I need to do something intense that leaves me sweaty and feeling like I could possibly die. There is a 30k race at the end of March I'd like to start training for. Do you have any recommendations or guidance for activities I can do to strengthen my IT band, get rid of this injury and still get the workout I need? The scale is already starting to creep up a bit. I'm vowing to make healthier choices and to be more mindful of what I eat but I feel like I need the physical activity part to help keep me on track.

Respectfully yours,



I think you need to read my article from last week.  Start there.  Being injured is NO reason for you to completely give up and allow yourself to make the wrong choices.  Where did your old running self go?  I understand you are injured, but that should make you more determined to get yourself back to the runner you love to be. 

I am speaking from experience right now.  Four weeks ago I was in the best running shape of my life, and only 6 weeks out from attempting a personal best in a marathon but while I was out for a tempo run I tore 3 ligaments in my right ankle and saw my PB dream vanish. I did not give myself permission to just give up and instead of focusing on my marathon goal I started to do everything I had to do to recover.  Tomorrow I am hoping to attempt my first run since becoming injured and I do plan on still attempting the marathon in 2 weeks.

If your stretches are not working you need to have a second opinion.  See a physiotherapist who can teach you how to strengthen your body so your IT band can repair itself and all the symptoms you feel now will no longer prevent you from being active.  My guess is because of your pregnancy your core and your glutes have become weak and you have lost your hip stability.  When you started running again your IT bands had to work overtime to make up for the stability you lacked elsewhere in your body.  Check out this article for exercises geared towards running strength, but only attempt them if they do not cause pain.

Start moving again! Running is not the only way to burn calories and get your heart rate up.  Try using cardiovascular machines at the gym that keep your pelvis stable (stationary bikes, ellipticals, rowing machines) or get yourself into a spin class; these classes are great ways to burn all those stresses from work and from life. Most importantly, stop making horrible food choices! Just because you cannot run is not a reason to eat poorly.  No excuses, simply eat as you were prior to becoming injured.

Definitely keep that 30km goal in the back of your mind as you can do it, but only if you do all that needs to be done to rehabilitate your injury.  Begin a physiotherapy program, do your homework daily and get your body moving again.  Once you are pain free (hopefully before the end of this year) ease yourself back into running.  Start training to run 5km again, then 10km, then 20 and finally 30.  Trust me, if you get back into it too quickly you will start this same cycle over again.

Use this time now to focus on rebuilding your post baby core and trust that sooner than later you will be running again, and when you finally are it is going to feel so good!

Good luck!

(Attached -- John Krasinski leaving the gym last week)