For forever, I've been an "on again" / "off again" runner. I never stayed with a schedule for more than 2 weeks because of sloth.

Starting 2 months ago, I started running 3 miles 6 time per week. I'm fast and loving it. This Sunday, I upped my daily mileage from 3 to 6 miles. Now, at about mile 4, I keep getting some kind of weird discomfort where my left leg connects to the hip. I keep going with no trouble. But, I am thinking that something is just not right. I'm seriously worried this involves my joint? cartilage? bone?

  • For years. walking or running, my shirt collars always bunch-up next to my neck on the right side, and fall-off to the left (exposing like half my left shoulder).
  • I am right-handed and right-footed.
  • I had a bike accident 6 years ago that broke my left clavicle, but no noticeable hip damage.
  • I think that, to a lesser degree, I had this shirt collar issue before the clavicle break.

To maybe fix this hip issue, I am going to try to use my left leg, more than my right leg, for propulsion and lift. The role of the right leg will become more about balance. Do runners normally think about the role of each leg?

A right-handed person has a stronger right leg, right? There must be asymmetry when you run. And, at the least, some sort of asymmetry is revealed in my shirt collar. Maybe, the asymmetry is causing the hip soreness as well? I need to adjust and adjust until my shirt collar stops falling completely to the left?


Here are a few thoughts:

  • You increased your mileage by 100% (3M per day to 6M per day). By running standards, this is a HUGE increase in volume. During a building phase, trained runners generally increase volume by approximately 10% per week, and then only for a few weeks before backing off again. This modest rate of increasing volume is purposeful: Allow the body time to adapt safely and thereby prevent running injuries. In your enthusiasm for running, perhaps your large increase in volume has led to the pain in your hip.

  • Asymmetry in running is unavoidable. As you mentioned, the dominant side of the body has more muscle strength and bulk. That being said, don't purposefully run asymmetrically! This will certainly lead to injury in the long term (probably the short term too).

  • Given the description of your situation in the question, I have six suggestions:

    1. Decrease your running volume, and then GRADUALLY increase it.
    2. Incorporate leg strength training (I would give this advice to every runner experiencing pain). Many running pains come from weak hip and knee stabilization muscles. See here for 1 great exercise.
    3. Visit a dedicated running store. They will have a treadmill with high speed video equipment to analyze your gait. They will be able to determine if your feet under pronate, over pronate, or are neutral. They could also make shoe recommendations to correct any problems.
    4. If you haven't already, research "mid foot striking for runners". This style of running is especially great at preventing running injuries.
    5. See a sports Chiropractor/Therapist for a few visits. I recommend one that is certified for "Active Release Technique" (it's not what it sounds like). They can really benefit your running form.
    6. Don't purposefully run asymmetrically!

Good Luck!

  • You had me until # 4 and 5. ART is very personal and may or may not work. Studies are inconclusive on its efficacy. #4, unless the OP has a serious overstriding problem, the vast majority of runners self select the gait and strike pattern that best suits them. Artificially trying to change your "mid/fore/rear" strike is about as bad as trying to run asymmetrically.
    – JohnP
    Dec 3 '14 at 16:55
  • Going from 3-miles to 6-miles was just 1-lap or 2-laps around the lake. I can easily build into finishing the 2nd lap. avoid the intentional asymmetry. sounds good.
    – davidge
    Dec 3 '14 at 17:12
  • @davidge, then you may want to consider mixing in some walking in the second lap. Training is always a trade of between risk and reward, and though the reward of huge gains fast would be great, the cost of getting injured and losing all your gains while you recover would be just as bad.
    – Tyler
    Dec 5 '14 at 7:16

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