The Spontaneous Formation of Adhesions

Ow ow…tight tight..ow ow…
Those were the words I expressed when I got up this last Thursday morning. My hamstrings were really tight, probably in part due to the strained poplitiuses (poplittii?) on both legs, with my left poplitius being the worst for wear. But having taken the day off on Wednesday, I knew it could not be tightness or soreness from a previous day’s workout. I knew it had to be the dreaded spontaneous formation of adhesions.
I got up and went downstairs and both hamstrings were not loosening up at all. I got into my running clothes and tried to stretch, but stretching could not make the tightness go away. I knew there was only one thing to do. And that was to RUN. I got on the treadmill and warmed up. Both hamstrings took a while to loosen up, but once I got going, things felt better. I did a form run on the treadmill and ending with some accelerations at the end. When I finished, I got off and stretched and felt much better.
I talked to my physical therapist about spontaenous adhesion formation. These adhesions seemingly come out of nowhere and most annoyingly when you’re either in taper or in recovery. You get these knots, tightness, and soreness just from sitting around doing nothing. Apparently, there is a natural shearing action of the muscles to break down adhesions as the muscle fibers are working and moving against each other. So when you’re working out a lot, adhesions form, but many of them get broken down by you working out. Once you stop working out, like during taper or recovery, your muscles seem to want to bunch up at times and sometimes you think you’ve really hurt yourself.
I joked with my physical therapist about the fact that once you start racing Ironman, you can’t stop ever racing Ironman if simply to avoid the soreness and tightness of spontaneous adhesion formation. It’s sometimes worse after a race because your muscles seem to knot up all by themselves in absence of hard work. The only way to get rid of this is to keep training. Race on!

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