Taking a Break from Running

August 19, 2016

I have decided to take a break from running and cross-training altogether. After nearly two months of little running and a lot of cross-training–and seeing hardly any improvement in my hip, my coach and I decided to take a break from all forms of exercise.

This hip flexor pain started the last week of June any time I would bring my leg forward. It hurt all the time when I ran, and at its worst, it also bothered me when I walked. I took some time off, saw the PT, and wasn’t seeing too much improvement. I decided to run the Her Tern Half Marathon mid July, which I know set me back in my healing. After that I continued to cross-train every day on the elliptical, stair stepper, bike, arc trainer. . . .what ever I could do to keep myself from going crazy.


I would try to run once a week for 10 – 15 minutes to check if it had gotten better. However, after nearly 8 weeks of hardly any running, a lot of cross-training, seeing the PT, massage therapist, chiropractor, and trying to remedy the hip at home by stretching, icing, doing one exercise for it, and avoiding things that caused it to become aggravated, I was started to get really frustrated. We weren’t see much improvement, so my coach, Nichole, (along with my assistant coach. . . .a.k.a. my husband), and I decided to lay low and not to anything for about a month.


I haven’t got crazy so far, as I have been too preoccupied with taking care of a toddler all day, coaching, working at the store, and getting ready for my sister’s wedding next week. However, there are times when the running bug bites hard, and I want nothing more than to be back training.

I am mostly glad about this decision because I don’t enjoy cross-training. I did it to try and maintain as much cardio fitness as I could, but it was not something that left me feeling very satisfied after it was over. Plus, I am the queen of ‘creating work’ as my husband likes to say, so I have no problem staying occupied during the day. I sleep in (because Cullen has decided that his bedtime is now 11:00 p.m.); bake, cook, and make dinner nearly every night; go on hikes,  walks, or visit parks with Cullen; and catch up on other random things.


In due time, I will be back out there pounding the pavement, but this is a good mental break for me as well. It has left me ‘wanting it’ more than every before, and I am determined to work harder and be the best I can be.

    1. Hi Michelle,
      Just thought I would leave a note about my recent/current experience just in case it might help. I had what was thought to be a hip flexor injury and after a month of pt it would still be irritated while i ran and after running. (Super frustrating!) Walking and any movement that engaged hip flexor felt awful. For pt I did specific stretching and minimal running/walking. Went back to the doctor and showed them again the specific movements that hurt and it turns out it’s more likely a sports hernia. It’s most common in men who do sports like soccer or hockey, but I’m a trail running and had ran through a pregnancy and resulting miscarriage. It must of been the perfect storm of events resulting in this injury. Most likely its something your Dr already considered but I thought I would mention it just in case so you don’t have to go through weeks of just stretching when you could have been strengthening!
      Good Luck,

      1. Good to know! What movements made your hip hurt?

        1. It hurts after I run, and is at it’s worst afterwards. If I rest it, it feels like it has gone away, till I run again. When it’s been irritated, so for a few days after I run, any kind of sitting up makes it hurt, as does holding a plank position. Twisting movements also hurt (something like a twisting lunge feels pretty bad). They first thought it was my hip flexor because the pain extended down to my inner thigh. There is a decent amount of information about sports hernias online, but it seems to be debatable how to best diagnose and fix them. :/

    1. Ugh, I have been there, and it is so hard. A few years back I tore a muscle in my hip flexor & could not run at all for a couple of months. But sometimes it’s just what your body needs. It definitely helped me to focus on doing all things I never really had time for when I was always running. Good luck & hope it’s feeling better soon!

    1. I’m sorry you’re going through this- I know how frustrating and disappointing it can be. In my experience, if you’re going to be off of running for more than a few weeks, cardio cross training won’t help you that much. Although it may preserve your sanity a bit (or maybe not- i hate those machines so much) when you start running again after an extended layoff you’ll still feel like a beginner, no matter how much cross training you did. But looking on the bright side, starting from scratch can be a great time to make any changes to your form you’ve been thinking about. You could also take this time to see if there are any muscle imbalances that need correcting before you start running again. At times like this you’ll have moments where you wonder if you’ll ever run again- but you definitely will, and possibly come back stronger and faster than ever. In the meantime enjoy your break! You’ve been training and racing hard, and deserve it.

      1. Thanks for your comment! I am definitely at that point of ‘I’m never going to be able to run again.’ But then I come to my senses and remind myself that one day I will because I want it bad enough!

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