Brooks Love and IT Band Hate
I’ve become a Brooks convert.
I used to run in Asics (not even sure what type…that’s how much of a serious runner I once was), but mainly bought them because I thought they looked nice.
I ended up with some pretty horrific IT band issues seemingly out of no where during my senior year of college. I walked around campus a lot and by the end of the year I could barely make it up and down hills. I had no idea what was wrong with my knee (that’s where it hurt) and figured that the few times a week I was jogging on the treadmill couldn’t be the culprit. The pain got so awful that I ended up seeing a doctor. I literally could not walk without pain and I wasn’t even running more than a dozen miles a month.
The doctor told me I probably had IT Band issues and sent me to physical therapy. There it was discovered that my hips are completely out of whack, probably due to the 10+ years I spent as a competitive figure skater. Falling on your butt multiple times a day can do that to your hips. One leg ended up “longer” than the other and was causing my IT band to stretch and rub a bit unnaturally (and painfully!!).
After 3 months of PT and constant hip realignments the doc gave me an insert for the shoe on my short leg to balance things out a bit more. He also told me to strengthen my thighs and to do lots of stretches.
I minimally listened to him and ended up running some pretty terrible races due to the pain.
Eventually, in summer 2010, I got smart and decided to train for races like a “real runner” and to pay attention to my IT band issues. To kick off my new plan I went to a local running store to find new shoes. And BEHOLD, my introduction to Brooks.
I don’t know what it was about these babies, but they REALLY helped with my IT band issues. At first I could feel the usual tightness and pain in my knee, but eventually it just seemed to disappear. Obviously I was getting stronger the more I ran, but I really believe these shoes provided the support to get me there.
I did experiment with an IT Band strap, which also seemed to help. I don’t wear it anymore, so I must be doing something right! I still wear the insert in my “short leg” but other than that, I really think the shoes were meant for me.
I logged over 400 miles in my first pair of Brooks and loved every mile of it. I’m on to pair #2, but still wear the originals out and about.
The lesson here…listen to your doc, listen to your running store, and buy yourself a pair of Brooks!
p.s. Not that I really need to say this, but I think I’m supposed to say that I am just a straight up Brooks lover…no affiliations whatsoever with the brand!