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High-Intensity-Intervals and Muscle Pulls
Old 07-28-2016, 11:03 AM   #1
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High-Intensity-Intervals and Muscle Pulls

I got another muscle pull yesterday doing HIT sprints on the beach (running all out for 30 seconds).

The thing is, I did everything right. I warmed up by just jogging for 5-10 minutes. I started each sprint gradually.

It happened on the fourth interval.

It was 58 degrees out, no wind.

This was a different muscle than last time (a groin pull this time). It's not too bad, and I stopped running immediately. Been treating it with ice.

But how can I prevent these in the future? Perhaps always wearing sweatpants or something else to keep my thighs warm?

Any other ideas?
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Old 07-28-2016, 11:06 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by TromboneAl View Post
I got another muscle pull yesterday doing HIT sprints on the beach (running all out for 30 seconds).

[snip]

But how can I prevent these in the future? Perhaps always wearing sweatpants or something else to keep my thighs warm?

Any other ideas?
Sure! Stop doing that.

I have noticed that when something that used to be trivial happens (pulled muscle, tendon pinch, etc.) it takes and INORDINATE amount of time to heal lately. It's really aggravating.

I got nuttin'.
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Old 07-28-2016, 11:09 AM   #3
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You can prevent these pulls in the future by not doing HIIT. You are old.

The pulls probably come from nerves not firing in sync. (Are you not a trained neurobiochemist or something like that?) That is, one set of muscle fibers are told to contract while an opposing set of fibers in another muscle are also told to contract when they were supposed to be relax.

What can you do to make your nervous system better? Ponce de Leon never found a solution for that.

Or warm up by jogging for 3 miles first (which is much more than 5-10 minutes for me), then do HIIT with a 1 mile jog between those 30 second efforts.

Do not skimp on hydration and electrolytes. I think a low-salt diet will increase the chances of muscle pulls.
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Old 07-28-2016, 11:14 AM   #4
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Al,
Do you normally do these on the beach? Maybe something about the surface has changed the mechanics of the run (stride length, more "wobbliness" when your foot strikes/launches) enough to be an issue?

Other than that, it sounds like you may just be demanding too much from the present strength of the muscaluture/tendons/ligaments. Consider ramping it down a bit (certainly until you heal up).
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Old 07-28-2016, 11:18 AM   #5
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I suggest you start your investigation of what went wrong by checking the DOB on your drivers licence.
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Old 07-28-2016, 11:32 AM   #6
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I have found that there are things my body just won't do. So I re-configure and move forward with what I can. I don't stop working out, I just change things.

3-years ago, 3-weeks before my debut Marathon I decided to at the end of a short-run, try to keep pace with my 13-year old near the end of our run. Bad, bad idea. I pulled my groin. I am not 13. 1-week of rest and Muscle tape got me through.

3-years prior to that, in far worse shape and 50 lbs heavier, my daughter challenged me to a pull-up contest. She was about 16 a the time. In straining to I believe at least tie her, I tore, yes tore my calf muscle. So far as I can tell, I am the person in the world (or at least that will admit it), tore my calf while doing pull-ups. I was not 16 and that point had no business trying that feat.

My point is listen to your body, no where you are at in your training and adjust accordingly. If the HIIT is causing problems, rest-up, ramp it back for a whlie, and maybe try it again, but if you have already experienced two muscle pulls, it may be best to try something else.

I can now safely do enough pull-ups to at least tie her. I still cannot run as fast as my now 16-year old and would be very hesitant to try.

cd :O)
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Old 07-28-2016, 11:37 AM   #7
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you should be doing your tabata sprints on an elliptical or a stationary bike

running on the beach is just asking for it imo
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Old 07-28-2016, 12:38 PM   #8
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But f I give these up, then Old Rockin' Chair's Got Me. IOW, I think HIT is the best thing for keeping my body young.

It's very efficient, time-wise, as well. I now think twenty minutes of intervals beats five hours on my bike.

I've been running on the beach for seventeen years now and doing intervals instead for the last two(?).

I'll see how often these strains happen.
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Old 07-28-2016, 12:40 PM   #9
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Do the intervals on your bike then. I have a nice hill that takes 20 seconds to get up if sprinting all out max. It is part of a 2.5 mile criterium loop. It is perfect for these bike intervals.

And I was very serious about the nerve signals to your muscles.
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Old 07-28-2016, 12:41 PM   #10
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Replace the sprints with "medium hard runs"...you'll get the same benefit. No one our age needs to do a full sprint, unless a bear is chasing them.
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Old 07-28-2016, 01:30 PM   #11
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But f I give these up, then Old Rockin' Chair's Got Me. IOW, I think HIT is the best thing for keeping my body young. ...
And I think your body is telling you that you are wrong! If you are getting strains, and have to stop, that just does not sound good.

Now bear with me here T-Al, but I've noticed this "all or nothing" approach from you before. It isn't a choice between HIT and a Rockin' Chair. That's silly (if you don't mind me saying so). There are intermediate alternatives. IIRC, you used the same sort of 'logic' after Lena's bike accident - something like the only alternative to riding a bike is to veg out and watch TV? Or when some of us were suggesting a mid-sized car would be safer than a sub-compact, you said something like the only alternative was a Hummer (taking it to extremes)? You gotta watch getting caught up in that kind of thinking, IMO.

Listen to the other posters, we are all getting older, activity is good, but we need to adjust.

Last year, I decided to push myself with my back exercises, thinking I needed that push past my regular routine set to get stronger. I was mildly sore in the groin the next day. No big deal, but it lasted for 4-5 months! I thought I did permanent damage, or had a hernia or something But it finally went back to normal. It takes a long time to heal as we get older. Don't hurt yourself!


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It's very efficient, time-wise, as well. I now think twenty minutes of intervals beats five hours on my bike.

I've been running on the beach for seventeen years now and doing intervals instead for the last two(?).

I'll see how often these strains happen.
And I used to be able to do stuff I can no longer do. Do you think you are immune to aging?

Man, I would not want to "see how often these strains happen"! I would want to avoid them. I learned I can't do Jumping Jacks early in my routine, my ankle just has a tendency to mildly twist/cramp up on me. So I don't do that! But it doesn't mean I stop altogether. I found starting with side-hops works for me, and I can do the Jumping Jacks later in the routine w/o a problem.

You need to adjust your routine to an aging body, the body is not going to adjust to your routine!

-ERD50
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Old 07-28-2016, 01:51 PM   #12
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If you suddenly jump into an activity you are not used to and go all out, it can happen. We see this all the time when a new player starts playing softball and tries to beat out an infield hit. It could simply be not being conditioned to sprints or a muscle imbalance (eg when a nerve stops the muscle from firing), hydration problem or probably a slew of other things. Also, I would think sprinting on the beach would make use of some muscles that typically may not come into play vs sprinting on a track surface.
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Old 07-28-2016, 01:54 PM   #13
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But f I give these up, then Old Rockin' Chair's Got Me. IOW, I think HIT is the best thing for keeping my body young.

It's very efficient, time-wise, as well. I now think twenty minutes of intervals beats five hours on my bike.

I've been running on the beach for seventeen years now and doing intervals instead for the last two(?).

I'll see how often these strains happen.
Actually, you can get the same results you're looking for without injury. Up until about five years ago, I was always hurting myself at the gym. I was lifting incredibly heavy weights until one day I realized given my age I was increasing the chance of seriously hurt myself.

I then found a book extolling the benefits of short, intense workouts with better results. After decades of using the same mindset I'd always used to exercise, I can't emphasize how hard it was to psychologically switch to a new, seemingly counter-intuitive way of thinking. After doing it and changing the workout, however, I haven't had an injury since, and it's been a few years. I also get much better results in much less time.

I don't know what you could do to replace sprinting, but I do know that the study of peak performance in sports, including almost forms of exercise, has been revolutionized in the past several years. Maybe you could research some kind of exercise to replace sprinting which would give you better results in less time while eliminating chance of injury.
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Old 07-28-2016, 01:57 PM   #14
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HIIT does do a very good and (especially) efficient job of improving cardiovascular capacity. But if you can use a larger amount of muscle mass (i.e. arms and legs rather than just legs) to burn the O2, it will do your heart just as well and reduce stress on particular muscles and ligaments. So, maybe an elliptical machine or a rowing machine to get more muscles involved rather than depend only on the legs?

FWIW, for Tabata-type HIIT workouts, I like elliptical machines best, then rowers, then stationary bikes (a distant third--the pace needed was just too frantic). Obviously, they are entirely impractical on a treadmill (can't change the speed up/down fast enough, and a good chance of getting thrown off). I never tried using a climber.
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Old 07-28-2016, 02:01 PM   #15
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I then found a book extolling the benefits of short, intense workouts with better results.
Could you give us the name of this book?

Ha
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Old 07-28-2016, 03:44 PM   #16
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I notice that I get beer elbow a lot more these days...
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Old 07-28-2016, 04:22 PM   #17
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Old 07-28-2016, 04:29 PM   #18
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I would increase the length of the interval, which naturally decreases the intensity. When I was doing track workouts, I was scared of hammy pulls and the like if I ran a 400, which is close to a sprint, but never had any issues or concerns when doing miles. Either distance could leave me gasping for air at the end, but the longer distance was much safer on my body.
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Old 07-28-2016, 05:02 PM   #19
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Long ago, having crashed with a hang glider, my arm in a cast. On a follow up visit with the ortho, I mentined that when I lift my arm just so, it hurts.

The ortho without missing a beat, said: don't do that stupid.

Maybe it it is time to pass on HIIT.
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Old 07-28-2016, 05:55 PM   #20
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I've done many kilometers on my rowing machine, steadily over the past 5 years or so. Then I had a one month layoff while I visited family. I came back and sat down and rowed maybe 14 kilometers, and the next morning I felt like I had a knife sticking in my back. For maybe a week I did a lot more crawling than walking, and even after I got back to walking, with a cane, i was not able to stand up straight. If my girlfriend had not been willing to give me some big help, I am not sure what I might have done, If you can't stand, damn little that you can do. I am just finishing up 2 months of PT and I am still not 100%, although I at least do not look like Lon Chaney anymore. I know one thing, going forward i will be doing various cross training for cardio and not just sitting down and putting my back into it for an hour+.

Previously I had mostly been close to indestructible, save my hip replacement, which was secondary to a long ago pelvic fracture from a crash. I hate to think about age as a factor, but unfortunately it is for most of us, sooner or later. It appears that I am not one of the few lucky ones who continue to be indestructible.

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