“I keep feeling that bar across my lower back at the end of my run.”
My client was confused.
She’d been running for years but this is the first time she had felt this.
It never bothered her around her home.
Strange thing was that short runs were fine. Luckily, the tension she felt never stopped her from running. It did help that she rarely ran two days in a row. This enabled her back to recover from the tension.
She became worried that it might get worse.
The good thing was that I couldn’t recreate her pain.
Why was this a good thing?
I had an idea what could be going on. When only long distance runs cause pain along the back, it usually means that abdominal endurance needs to be built up.
It became even more clear that it was abdominal endurance when she mentioned she hadn’t been able to do her small workouts for the past month.
I updated her program to include a few more abdominal exercises and within a few weeks, she was able to increase her distances without the tension.
It didn’t take long for her to get back to running at her normal distances. Even consecutive day runs were pain free!
If you’re in a similar situation, then I’d suggest trying these exercises daily for two weeks. Ideally lowering your distance for a short time will really help speed up the process.
These exercises are a bit more challenging than what I would give to a beginner.
Mountain climber (with elastic): This mountain climber is a slow and controlled exercise. The use of a ball makes it much harder, so you can lean against a couch or bench. The goal is to control the torso while lifting the leg. Goal: 4x10/leg.
Bear plank kick back: Once again, the body should not be shifting too much during this exercise. The goal is to keep the body steaky while the leg kicks back. Notice how the leg is not kicking up, this will round the back automatically. Goal: 4x10/leg.
Lying leg curl: This exercise is often used for the hamstrings, but the abs must have the endurance to allow several sets and reps. Often we see the hips lowering with each repetition. Goal: 4x10
You may want to start with 3 sets for each exercise and build to 4 sets.
It should never feel like there’s tension (or pain) in the lower back. If you do, check your technique and try again.