Now that I've started a countdown, I might as well continue it. It's the Thursday before the Sunday. Quite a few things have resolved themselves: I've hit my sponsorship target (still with a few likely donations to come in); my IT band situation has improved somewhat and the weather forecast for the day, that as distant forecast was heavy rain, has now become sunshine and rainbows. Nice. Very little has not progressed in the right direction apart from work distractions, which there are a lot, and the fact that the t-shirt from my charity hasn't arrived in the mail, not that that is really my problem.
The key improvement in all of the above is the lessening of my IT band issues. It was worst four weeks ago when suddenly it terminated a 30km run at the 15km mark, and then was a pain or sensation in almost every run thereafter. Massage might have relieved it but as soon as running resumed, so did the onset of the syndrome. About the time of the last blog, in desperation, I tried everything on the Internet and a couple of those things stuck, and it is one of those things that I'd like to describe as a typical "discovery" kind of act but with a bit of context.
When I started being a "runner" I read a little but also I rejected a lot. I was quite conservative about the way I did everything. Every run was a flat out run. I didn't do any easy runs. I did static stretching (the stretches where you hold for 10 seconds or more then release) before and after runs. I didn't do any strengthening exercises beyond what the physio had given me to fix a problem. But slowly I adopted certain habits and ways of doing things which are obviously said to be useful and other people are obviously doing. I just needed it really put in front of me with the obvious reasoning or when I was facing the obvious results of not doing it.
Leg swings are a kind of most common kinds of dynamic stretches. I remember seeing them being done (and not having a bar of them) at the last Auckland Marathon. I'd started doing one kind of leg swing about 6 months ago (between front and back) but hadn't done any others because I had enough trouble fitting all my warm-ups in before my run as it was. But IT bands, though affecting the knees, often comes from problems in the hips, and a sideways leg swing was mentioned on one (only one) of the many resources I read. I gave them a try and, along with some other more banal techniques, my following runs had far fewer symptoms. My physio yesterday noticed that my quad inflammation had decreased (although was still present). And most of my runs, albeit short tapering runs, have been without much bother.
IT band syndrome may still rear its dastardly head in the much longer, gruelling event on Sunday but at least for now I have peace of mind that it may not and it's not an inevitability that it once was. Three days to go and there is still some improvement that may happen.