ITB Syndrome getting in the way of your running? Try these stretches and exercises today

Iliotibial band syndrome is common injury that occurs in individuals who are very physically active. This is a stress injury that occurs as a result of inflammation and irritation of the iliotibial tendon that rubs against the femoral condyle. Damage to this tendon will cause increased tension while running, biking, or intensive activities.

As the knee undergoes repetitive flexion and extension, inflammation and irritation occurs because of a lack of flexibility of the iliotibial band itself. In fact, this is a condition that is persistent and causes pain on the side of the knee. According to an article written by Razib Khaund of the Brown University School of Medicine, “treatment for iliotibial band syndrome requires activity modification, massage and stretching and strengthening the affected limb.” (Khaund)

Treating Iliotibial Band Syndrome

Fortunately, there are certain stretches and exercises that target the iliotibial band to prevent inflammation, pain and swelling. Since this condition generally flares up during exercise or intense muscular contractions, there are certain exercises and stretches that can strengthen this tendon. When the tendon becomes stronger it also becomes more elastic that will prevent sharp pains or problems functioning.

The best type of stretches for this condition originate from the hip so as to flex, or strengthen, the iliotibial band. Supportive movements and stretches that stretch the outer leg are also ideal to prevent problems near the knee during exercise. In combination with stretches, certain exercises can help to strengthen muscles in the leg, knee, and hip.

Stretches to Manage Symptoms

Stretching is a scientifically proven way to prevent and decrease the risk of injury during movement and exercise. It enables muscles to move and function properly through their full range of motion. Accordingly, certain types of stretches that directly target the iliotibial band to help manage symptoms.

Basic ITB Stretch: Cross left leg behind right leg and lean forwards to the left side. When holding this pose for thirty seconds, the ITB is directly affected and stretched.

Glute Stretch: Lay on your back and lay one leg flat on the ground while pulling the other close to your chest. This stretches the ITB directly.

Side Lying Stretch: Lay on a bed or table on the left side with the bottom leg bent. Slowly move top leg so that it drops behind to stretch.

Standing Stretch: Place the affected leg behind the other one and keep the foot on the floor while pushing hips to the opposite side. This will stretch the side of the thigh and leg.

Tensor Fascia Latae Stretch: Lay one leg down flat while crossing your leg to your upper thigh and lean forward slightly. This targets the tendon itself.

Exercises to Prevent Symptoms

Muscles are tissue that support the skeletal system and become damaged or deteriorated over time. As stated in an article published by Corey Beals in the Journal of Sports Medicine, “Conservative management consisting of a combination of rest (2–6 weeks), stretching, pain management, and modification of running habits produced a 44% complete cure rate, with return to sport at 8 weeks and a 91.7% cure rate with return to sport at 6 months after injury.” (Beals) To relieve inflammation and prevent damage of muscles, specific exercises can target problem areas, such as the hip abductor muscles, tensor fasciae latae and gluteus medius muscles.

The iliotibial band connects with these muscles and should therefore be exercised regularly to prevent and manage symptoms with exercises such as:

Clam Shell: Lay on your side with your legs bent at a 90-degree angle to your torso area. Using your glutes, slowly open and close your legs in that position.

Hip Hike: Stand on one leg with your pelvic area neutral and then drop one side lower than the other and use your hip muscles to get back into position.

Hip Thrust: Lay on your back with all weight on your back and keep your feet on the ground while your thrust your torso up.

Pistol Squat: Stand on one leg with your opposite knee raised in front of you and slowly lower yourself while stretching your other leg in front of you.

Side Hip Bridge: Position yourself on your side with your feet propped on a surface one to two feet from the ground and push your torso upwards with your feet.

Side Leg Raise: Lay on your side with both legs straight and raise one leg 45 degrees several times in a row.

Side Shuffle: Get into a squat-like position with your knees slightly bend and take ten steps to the side and ten steps backwards.

When both exercises and stretches are completed on a daily basis, the symptoms of the condition decrease. To treat mild pain after exercising and stretching, you can manually roll out the tendon to prevent further pain and symptoms. Additionally, ice or an icy hot patch can be applied to the tendon while it is sore, tender, or swollen.

As muscles get stronger, the inflammation decreases and the pain subsides as muscles support the iliotibial band. Although this condition may require attention after increased exercise and activity, it can be treated with the proper prevention plan. For this reason, individuals can continue to perform their favorite sports and activities when these tips and tricks are used to treat a damaged iliotibial band.


Beals, Corey. “A Review of Treatments for Iliotibial Band Syndrome in the Athletic Population.” A Review of Treatments for Iliotibial Band Syndrome in the Athletic Population. Journal of Sports Medicine, n.d. Web. 23 Jan. 2017.

Razib Khaund. “Iliotibial Band Syndrome: A Common Source of Knee Pain.” Iliotibial Band Syndrome: A Common Source of Knee Pain – American Family Physician. American Family Physician, n.d. Web. 23 Jan. 2017.


Announcing Strava Integration

Integrate with your Strava account so you can sync your GPS data to your Lumo Run account. Run with your GPS watch and your Lumo Run sensor, sync the GPS data with Strava, and your data will automatically be uploaded to your Lumo Run account. We love this feature because you can now get your pace, distance, and route data into Lumo Run while leaving your phone at home.

Here’s how to use this feature:


In the Account section of your Settings, you will see “Connect Services”. Click on this to see the Strava connect button. Click on the “+” to connect with Strava.


Follow the instructions to link your accounts. Click on the “Connect with Strava” button. You will need to enter your Strava username and password, then just authorize Lumo Run to access your data from Strava.

Essential Exercises and Stretches for Weak Hip Flexors

The hip flexors are a particular group of muscles that are vital to the physical functionality of every individual, from the finest athlete to ordinary folks. They comprise primarily of the iliacus and psoas major muscles that connect the femur (or thigh bone) to the pelvis, and serves to flex the thigh and trunk. Essentially, the hip flexors aid in hip flexion. The hip flexors can perform two different movements: “When the pelvis is in a stationary position, a contraction of the hip flexors will pull the femur upward, whereas, if the femur is stationary, a contraction of the hip flexors will tilt the pelvis forward and the butt back” (Biss, 2016). Hip flexors typically get little attention with regards to strength and conditioning. They are either forgotten or neglected, which can become troublesome. Simple everyday routine such as sitting at your work desk can weaken your hip flexors because the seated position tends to shorten those muscles. Not only do tight hip flexors disrupt good posture and typically cause lower back pain, but in a weakened state, they increase the risk of developing foot, ankle, and knee injuries, especially in runners (Niemuth et al. 2005).

The good news is that, it is not too late to strengthen your hip flexors and restore optimal muscle balance, which is sure to prevent injuries and get you stronger. Here are some steps that you can take to either stretch or strengthen your hip flexors:

Run A’s on the Spot

Sounds silly doesn’t it? Simply put, this is high knees running in place, which combines knee lifting with simple running motion. This exercise strengthens and develops muscular endurance in the hip flexors. To do high knees on the spot:
1. Begin with one leg planted on the ground, and lift the other knee high but not passing hip height.
2. Jump from one leg to the next, hitting the ground with the ball of your feet, keeping the arm relaxed while following the motion.
3. Continue this alternating motion for 30-45 seconds


Foam Roll the Knots Away

According to Chiropractor Dr. Ben Kim, foam rolling (self-myofascial release) your hip flexors is “highly effective at improving blood flow and ligamento muscle length, and it can also help mobilize your ball and socket hip joints and the dense ligamentous capsule that surrounds these joints” (Kim, 2012). To get rid of those knots and tight muscle fibers that inhibit your range of motion, foam roll your hip flexor region by:
1. Place the foam roller in front of knees while you kneel on the floor, and then, fall forward and walk your body out with your hands.
2. Drop one side (the side you want to work) of your hip complex on the foam roller, with the leg on that side fully extended and slightly raised.
3. Softly roll up and down, rotating the torso to the opposite side to maximize the amount of weight placed on psoas major, just below your waistline.
4. Roll for 30 seconds to a minute on each side, and two minutes for a deeper massage.


Improve Muscle Extensibility with Couch Stretch

Comfort and relaxation may be expected from a couch, but the couch stretch may not be the most comfortable movement; however, it is extremely effective for opening up your hip and improving the extensibility of the hip flexor muscles. To perform a couch stretch:
1. Get into a kneeling position in front of a couch, chair, or wall to hold your foot up, and flex your back knee to the extent that it is as close as possible to your butt.
2. Keep your lower back straight, while you squeeze your glute muscles and hamstring, which aids in pushing your hips forward.
3. Hold the stretch for 30 to 45 seconds. Switch to the opposite side and repeat.
4. Complete three sets of 30 to 45 stretches.

Make a Pose Navasana

There are ways to strengthen the psoas isometrically and bring balance and stability to the spine, thereby preventing injury. The yoga pose, Navasana, also known as the boat pose, is effective at strengthening the iliopsoas. To do the Navasana pose:
1. Start in a tall seated position on the floor, keeping your knees bent and feet flat.
2. Lean back on your sitting bones until elbows are straight, lifting your feet off the floor and keeping chest upright.
3. With legs at a 45-degree angle and torso in a V shape with legs, balance on your sitting bones for 5 breaths.
4. Complete three sets of 5 breaths.

Hang a Little!

Hanging knee raises are great exercise movement to target and effectively strengthen your weak hip flexors, with the added benefit of developing your abdominal muscles in the process as well. To do hanging knee raises:
1. Start by hanging freely from a pull-up bar with arms extended at medium or wide grip.
2. Contracting your core, slowly pull your knees towards your chest, or aim for the elbows, making a 90-degree angle.
3. Hold the contraction and then, with control, lower your legs to the starting position.
4. Complete three sets of 10 to 15 repetitions.

Keep your hips flexors strong and healthy in order to maintain effective movement and to prevent one form of injury or another. These exercises and stretches are just the thing you need!

Biss, Matt. “Flex Those Flexors: 3 Steps to Powerful Hips.” Bodybuilding, 13 December 2016, 20 Jan. 2017
Kim, Ben. “How to Keep Your Hip Flexors Healthy.” Drbenkim, 06 February 2012, 20 Jan. 2017.

Niemuth-Robert, Paul, Robert Johnson, Marcella Meyers, and Thomas Thieman. “Hip Muscle Weakness and Overuse Injuries in Recreational Runners.” Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine, vol. 15, no. 1, 2005, pp. 14-21, Accessed 20 Jan. 2017.

Rail, Kevin. “Hip Flexor Strengthening Exercises.” Livestrong, 07 May 2015, 20 Jan. 2017.

How to Set Your New Year’s Running Resolution (and stick to it!)

It’s easy to say “I’m going to run more in 2017”… but sticking to New Year’s resolutions is a lot harder than just saying them out loud.  Whether you’re looking to run your first half marathon, your first 5K, or just hit the treadmill at the gym more often, we’ve got some great tips to give your stick-to-it-iveness a kick in the rump, runners’ style!

Love a Runner? Here are 5 thoughtful ways to show the runner in your life you care

Not many exercises call to mind the pure simplicity of fitness better than a run. It’s a fantastic way to get your exercise, with a laundry list of benefits for both your body and your mood. Good for everything from joint stiffness to depression, with the obvious inclusion of fitness, it’s like the universal remote control of feeling good about yourself.

It’s trendy but, with the freedom to do it wherever you want, without the need for specific outfits or equipment, also extremely accessible. Seriously – it never goes out of style. If you aren’t already doing it, chances are you know someone who is.

Maybe it’s the special someone in your life. Maybe they really love it. And maybe you’ve been looking for that special way to tell them you care.

Hey; don’t even worry about it – we’ve got you covered:


In the context of running, much of our attention is put on the lower half of our bodies with respect to what we’re doing with our feet, legs, and hips. But, there are actually some important things happening on our upper bodies that — with a little attention and help — could improve our running economy and enhance performance. In our last post, we discussed running and posture; here, we’ll talk about the importance of arm swings and how it affects our balance and stability. (hint: it actually still has a lot to do with your posture).

Five Tips For Staying in Shape This Winter

Five Tips For Staying in Shape This Winter

Your training season is over. You ran your last race a month ago, and winter is here. We all know the temptations of the Christmas season: food, parties, and alcohol. On top of that, you have snow. It is so much easier to look out at the cold and pull your blanket up over your head. Here are five tips to help you avoid the slump & stay in shape this winter:

It’s Not The Off Season

If you want to improve as an endurance athlete, you need to stop calling it the “off season.” In off season, we sit on the couch a lot. We binge-watch whatever we can find on Netflix while eating mounds of chocolate.

Instead, divide the winter into post-season and pre-season. Post-season is all about recovery, especially if you raced long distances like a marathon or Ironman. Recovery doesn’t mean sitting on the couch, though. Keep running, but run fewer miles and a little less frequently. To maintain your fitness, most coaches recommend doing a minimum of three runs per week. In pre-season, you work on base training. You slowly increase your mileage so you are ready to go when training season comes again.

Do Form Drills

It’s always a good idea to improve your running form, but Winter is an ideal time to fully evaluate your form, to make major improvements, and to start doing those form drills you know you should be doing. The better your running form is, the faster you will go with less effort. Incorporating running form drills will help you get faster in race season without interfering with your races.

Add Strength Training

We all know we should be doing strength training. It’s on every training plan you read on the internet. Remember when you started lifting two weeks before your big race? Your muscles hurt so much that your time suffered. Winter is the perfect time to add in some strength training with enough room to let your muscles get used to it before training season.

You can also use strength training to address any imbalances in your body. If your left leg isn’t as strong as your right, you can work on balancing things out without worrying about it affecting your racing form. Try out these strength evaluations to see what you need to work on. Stronger runners get fewer injuries.

Try Cross Training

During the training season, we spend so much time running that we can’t do other things. Instead of going to your gym to do the same old workout, try signing up for a class that piques your interest. Play some basketball or squash with your friends. Try out yoga or spin. It will help your training, too. Our bodies get used to the same old workouts, so new motions and activities will shock them into better fitness gains. Plus, you might find something you really love.

Just Keep Running

A lot of people stop running completely once the temperature gets below 40 degrees. It might seem obvious, but running through the winter is a great way to stay in shape, and you miss out on some of the best running of the year. Many runners prefer winter running to summer running. You can always add more clothes, but there’s a limit to how much you can take off. When you learn how to dress for the weather, you can stay comfortable no matter the temperature. Plus, there is nothing like a crisp day after a snowfall with a running path all to yourself.

It can be hard to motivate yourself to stay in shape over the winter, but the winter season is an important part of an athlete’s preparation for next year. Take advantage of these tips, and you may not only stay in shape all winter long, you might get performance improvements next year.

How to use Running for Stress Relief this Holiday Season

It’s no secret that the holiday season often brings on a downward spiral of stress and fatigue.  You might notice that you feel exhausted or frazzled as you pass by hundreds of Christmas cards and plastic-wrapped gift sets at the mall, or maybe you find yourself a little more easily angered now that the season of pumpkin spice lattes and beautiful fall colors have passed their prime.  To make matters worse, it’s getting harder and harder to fit in your daily run or workout amidst all the hustle and bustle as the new year approaches.  Regardless of how stress rears its ugly head in your own life, this holiday season is a great time to get back on track with your running program.  It’s not just for weight loss and heart health: running has been shown to be a potent stress-buster and mood-lifter and might be just what you need to keep a level head over the winter and beyond.   Here are a few ways to use running as therapy to decrease stress and keep your mental health in check during the tense holiday season.

Little By Little

You’re probably familiar with “runner’s high”, a term used to describe a euphoric feeling that exercisers often experience during periods of moderate- to high-intensity exercise.  While there are several theories as to which neurotransmitters are actually responsible for creating a “runner’s high”, there’s no question that you’ll feel more powerful, optimistic, and full of energy on the days you choose to go for a run.  Stress can wreak havoc on your energy levels and cognitive function, but research has shown that hitting the pavement for as little as ten minutes can kick stress and moodiness to the curb and boost your energy levels for the rest of the day (Hansen, Stevens, & Coast, 2001).  Even if you think you’d rather stay inside wrapped in a blanket than lace up your sneakers for a quick three-miler, remember how you good always feel once your cool-down starts and it’s time to head home: it’s always worth it.    

Find A Rhythm

Creating a new positive habit or reinforcing an old one can work wonders on your mental health by helping you mark each day as a success.  Making a point of sticking to regularly scheduled runs during your week, even if they’re short, will help you feel a sense of accomplishment as you go to bed each night.  That sense of accomplishment will encourage and motivate you each day and soon you’ll have a healthy habit to keep you on the move and feeling optimistic even through stressful moments this holiday season.  Plus, it’s a few minutes that you can take for yourself, with no phone calls and no emails, during a time usually crammed full of caring for family, friends, and co-workers. Write your scheduled runs in your daybook or calendar so you have a solid reminder to take care of yourself and your needs, and let friends and family know how important it is that you stick to your plan.

Have A Sense Of Purpose

Setting and achieving goals can be therapeutic too.  A good goal doesn’t have to be lofty; its purpose here is to give you a focal point when the season around you seems blurry and unfocused.  Is there an area of town you haven’t explored yet?  Your goal could be to do at least one new running route each week.  Are you skimping out on speed work?  Make a point of scheduling fartlek sessions into your plan.  As you pass these small milestones you’ve made for yourself, your sense of success and accomplishment will soar.    

Sprint To The Finish

If you’re finding it hard to fit your runs into your busy holiday schedule, sprint training might be an option for you.   Adding some high-intensity sprints to your running program allows you to shorten your running time, plus get an added boost in cardiovascular and muscular endurance.  In addition, sprint training has been linked to an increase in memory and cognitive function (Praag, 2008), two qualities that tend to fall by the wayside while juggling the holiday season’s demands.  When you feel pressed for time, try implementing a session of interval, or fartlek, training: periods of light jogging interspersed with short, all-out sprints.  A typical session might consist of two minutes of light jogging with thirty seconds of sprinting and repeating five to ten times.  What used to be a light hour-long run can be easily shortened to 15 or 20 minutes while still keeping your heart and lungs fit and strong and your head clear and focused.  Even adding just one sprint session a week will make you feel like you have more time to accomplish your holiday chores.

Get Some Fresh Air

As the new year approaches, the days get shorter and shorter until it seems like the sun has completely disappeared!  You might find yourself getting a little bummed out from all the darkness, and there’s a reason: no exposure to sunshine means you produce a lot less vitamin D,  a micronutrient that’s been connected to seasonal affective disorder and winter moodiness (Kerr, et al., 2015).  Getting a run in during a sunrise or sunset can boost your vitamin D production and fend off those seasonal mental funks you might find yourself in.  If you’re cooped up in your home or office building all day, getting a blast of fresh air, even if it’s cold, can help you recharge and stay productive through your work day.  If you can fit a run in over your lunch break when the sun is at its highest, you’ll find yourself ready to take on the rest of the day with a whole new outlook.  You might even be able to convince a few co-workers to go for a dash with you for a casual, stress-free social event.

Get A Running Buddy

Ask a friend, family member, or co-worker if they’d like to do a few runs with you.  Our interactions with others during the holiday season tend to be task-oriented and attached to demands or requests.  Getting a running buddy gives you a chance to have some social interaction in a casual, friendly setting while still fitting your run into your day.  Talking together about the things you are looking forward to over the holidays this year can revive your positive mindset, plus the added company gives you some accountability to keep your running habit in high gear when things get stressful.  You might even be able to find a local running club to run with a larger group for the same benefits.

Even though the holidays bring stress and frustration on each year, it’s easy to use your running habit to your advantage as a way to lower your stress levels and elevate your mental health.  Implementing just one of these tips can make drastic changes in your productivity and will add a sense of accomplishment and relief to boost you forward into another successful training season.

Hansen, Cheryl J., Larry C. Stevens, and J. Richard Coast. “Exercise Duration and Mood State: How Much Is Enough to Feel Better?” Health Psychology 20.4 (2001): 267-75. Web.
Kerr, David C.r., David T. Zava, Walter T. Piper, Sarina R. Saturn, Balz Frei, and Adrian F. Gombart. “Associations between Vitamin D Levels and Depressive Symptoms in Healthy Young Adult Women.” Psychiatry Research 227.1 (2015): 46-51. Web.

van Praag, H. Neuromol Med (2008) 10: 128. doi:10.1007/s12017-008-8028-z

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