I recently read this article on CNN that seems to indicate that winter weather could very well be the cause of my extra sore lower back. According to the article, “Cold weather causes muscles to lose more heat and contract, causing tightness throughout the body. Joints get tighter, muscles can lose their range of motion and nerves can more easily be pinched.”
Why didn’t anyone mention this to me??
Obviously, I’m now working on stretching my lower back more before runs, even the short ones. Stretches like this one (doesn’t look like stretching, right? It kind of just looks like the person is laying there, but the back is totally flattened rather than arched in this position, which helps the back prepare for the movements related to running).
Fitsugar also has some tips on other stretches (that I now do) that can help alleviate back pain. These — combined with my ice pack and sleeping with a pillow under my knees — have really helped how my back has been feeling.
Luckily, this past weekend was warmer than usual — just in time for my longest run yet! Last week, I made a goal for myself to hit 30 miles this week – and I did it! I got in 3 runs during the work week, between 3-5 miles each, and then I ran 18 miles on Sunday, split into a morning 15 mile run and a late afternoon 3 mile run. It was *so* nice on Sunday that I even ran the last few miles of my morning run in just a t-shirt. And then grabbed iced coffee and walked home. And it’s FEBRUARY! In NEW ENGLAND!
Don’t worry folks, it’s back to cold and snowy 24 hours later. This week I only plan on running 25 miles (a long run of 14 miles on Sunday plus 2-3 work week runs). Let’s hope this snow doesn’t carry on for too much longer…