Figuring Out the Hamstring Problem

I ran today and it was mostly pain-free!!!

Actually, I think that I have pretty much figured out why my hamstrings have been barking at me lately.

Nope it is not my Altra Instinct’s, they are doing just what they they were designed to do. Phew that was a relief, because I am really liking them.

Nope last night I reached out to my Twitter network and asked Jeff alias @Coachprs a question about his experience with the Altra Instinct’s and if he had any hamstring problems after starting to run in them.


As soon as I saw his reply on the pawing back, the light came on. Light bulb

When I changed over the Altra’s they are definitely a different style of running shoe then I am used to. So when I combined that with attempting to run a little faster lately, I let my new form deteriorate and and eventually reverted to my older, but faster for me still, style of running.

With my old style of running, I have historically had problems with my hamstrings. Pawing back activates my hamstrings a lot more, which combined with the higher mileage I was doing, caused the hammies to bark at me a LOT and if the past is any indicator, eventually would have lead to an injury and some significant down-time from running.

Great catch Jeff and thank you so much!!!!

Sometimes, it is just something simple that we are doing or not doing – when running, that causes a problem. A little thing – that until someone jogs our memory, that we don’t realize what the real issue is. As soon as Jeff said “pawing back” in his tweet, I “knew” what was wrong and what I had to do to fix the problem.

This morning I went out for for an easy 5.0 miler. I wasn’t worried about time at all, the only thing that I wanted to focus on was working on my landing, lifting and leaning while running. When I started to exaggerate my stride backwards, while leaning forward a little more than I have been -  voila the pain in my hammies, almost completely went away!

I am going to have to let them heal a lot more before, I can really go back to trying to run faster again, which will probably take a week or two. However, at least I have pretty good idea of what I was doing wrong and have a plan to correct it.

The best part is that as long as I am not stupid about things and go slow, I can still run – I just have to really focus on my landing, lifting and leaning Smile. Sounds like a great week to cut-back and rest the body, then next week get back to it.

Thanks again Jeff!!!

RunLog 8-7-12

Remember Harold – Land, Lift, Lean

Have you ever had some discomfort while running and you know if you don’t take care of it that it is going to become a bigger problem, but you couldn’t figure it out until someone mentioned a small thing that made you remember what you needed to do to fix the issue?


5 comments on “Figuring Out the Hamstring Problem

  1. My IT band flares up when I heel strike. I figured this out while running barefoot for a cool down. Once I made the connection, I started working on my form and switched shoes. Now my IT band only flares up when I am truly overdoing it.

  2. I’m not familiar with “pawing back” but then again I’m not familiar with trying to adjust my form either, I just go and run. So, to that end, who should one talk to about form? Should I record my running and analyze it or have a coach analyze it? Do I need to get a coach? I know I’m showing my lack of experience, but I’d like get it figured out before the MCM, which is just over 2 months away.

    Did I mention I’m going to attempt 50k this Saturday? 🙂 Long and slow is the key…I hope, and when I’m done I start dialing in for the MCM (mileage is there, I need to get my speed work in).

    • Pawing back is hard to explain, but easy once you see it, basically if I can put it into correct words, after you land you pull too hard backwards, which activates the hamstring muscle (instead of doing a clean lift that comes from the right amount of lean). If nothing is hurting and you are running good, I wouldn’t screw around with your form until after MCM. Nothing like trying something new to really screw you up before your big race. If it is working for you now, best to keep on having fun with what you are doing.

      I do like to have TheWife video me running, so I can see what I am doing and I have footage to compare to different times, so that if I do get injured I can go back and take a peak at my form to see what I was doing differently.

      After MCM that would be the time experiment, those other questions only you can answer and it would be based on what your goals are.

      Wow that is farther than I have ever gone, I am jealous – oh well maybe in a year or so, I will try something like that :-). What is your goal time for the MCM?

      • I was hoping to do < 4 hours, but in my training runs I haven't been able to consistently stay in the 9's let alone getting into the 8's. I think once it cools down some I will, plus I've been focusing on slow and long versus at an LT level, which is what I intend to focus on after this weekend's run. Cardio wise I'm already there, it is the speed versus time and dialing that in leading up to it. My test will be the USAF Half, if I can do it in under 2. I need to hit some 8:30's though to feel comfortable pushing it for that long, otherwise I may reconsider my goal. September 15th I should know for certain. 🙂

  3. Hey Harold

    I never had an hamstring problem, but I am starting to feel it in my knees.. maybe it was because of over training.

    taking Glucosamine and praying it wont creep up again.


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