Hip/Groin/Buttocks Pain...3 weeks until 1st marathon..HELP!

Hello Runner's World Forum,

I am hoping someone might have some advice for me. I am a relatively new runner, though I have been running on and off for around 3 years this will be my first full marathon. I have been running consistently for around 6 months and have followed a training plan. All has been going very well, I've completed numerous long Sunday runs and have slowly built these up to 20 miles over the course of the 3 month training plan.

With three weeks to go before my marathon I was feeling pretty confident that I would make my 4:15 goal. Last week after an 18 mile run I had an odd pain in my left buttock. I took it as simply a pain of running 18 miles, however on my Tuesday recovery run I could barely walk let alone run. The pain is now in what feels like the whole of my groin, it is a stabbing pain on weightbaring that makes it very difficult to walk let alone run. The pain appears to radiate slightly down my leg and into my left buttocks (where I felt the initial pain). There is no pain on stretching or moving the leg, rotating the hip etc, the pain appears only to be on weightbaring. The pain and stiffness is considerably worse in the morning. I have rested for the last 6 days, icing three times per day, taking ibroprofen, replacing my running with swimming and streching the hip groin and hamstring muscles. I have seen very limited improvement over the past 6 days and am now really beginning to worry about my marathon in less than three weeks time.

Any advice would be kindly appreciated.

Thanks! Sarah


  • yer majyer maj ✭✭✭

    Hi Sarah

    Don't panic!  You've done the training, it's not all going to disappear overnight.  It sounds like you've done all the right things, but you might need to call in the professionals now.  Either a decent sports physio or (my personal choice) an osteopath.  I've had plenty of niggly groin stuff going on during this lot of marathon training and my osteopath has helped a lot.

    Whereabouts are you?  Somebody on here may even be able to recommend somebody in your area.

    Good luck - which marathon are you doing?

  • Thanks for your reply, It's always nice to hear a 'don't panic!'.

    I am actually currently on a short term stint in Berlin, which I have found makes things a little more difficult when searching out confident medical advice(nothing against the German health care system more a language barrier problem). I've visited a few Physio's here and whether it be a lost in translation problem or simply that there seems to be a lesser divide been Sports physio and Masseuse, I seem to always leave feeling more confused (and with less money!) That being said I am visiting a physio this evening and am hoping to get some more answers from him.

    I am running the Brighton marathon on the 14th April. I think the panic has set in because I have seen very little improvement in the past week and as mad as it sounds I can't help but imagine all of my three months of hard work slipping away with every missed training run.

    Thanks again for your message of support

  • PG3PG3 ✭✭✭

    I know how you feel. It's horrible when this kind of thing happens.  Just when you think you have done all the hard work and you are nearly at race day.


    Is it worth putting a post up to see if anyone knows of any decent physios in Berlin? I am confident that a few sessions would sort you out, or would help massively.  Hopefully the one you see tonight will help though.

    I know  it's hard but try not to panic and keep hopeful.

    Good luck.

  • Hi Sarah,

    What a nightmare but try not to panic hopefully your physio can give you some really good advice and treatment. Also don't worry about your fitness I had 16 days of not running in feb due to pneumonia and got straight back to running with no loss of fitness at all.

    Your at your peak of fitness having done all your long runs so your in a better position than you think.

    I too am running a marathon in 4 weeks and have groin/hip pain after a fartlek run on sat it felt like I'm dragging my leg when I run am seeing a physio tonight too. I have been in a foul mood about the whole situation as its so near now don't want anything to go wrong so can really sympathise with you!

    Good luck let us know how you get on and what he says.

  • Sarah, I had to have three weeks off before Greater Manchester Marathon last year due to piriformis syndrome and came in close to my "A" goal time (think I would have made it if the weather hadn't been so horrible), so don't panic about losing fitness in this time frame - but DO get your problem looked at because the range of possible causes ranged from minor/easy to sort out with rest and/or massage to potentially disastrous, I'm afraid.

    Good luck!

  • Thank you all for your replies. It's reassuring to know that I shouldn't loose too much fitness during this needed time off.

    My physio session was ok, a mix of massage and stretching exercises which in all honesty on my walk home only seem to have exaggerated the pain - but perhaps I will feel the benefits tomorrow. I have scheduled two further hour appointments with him for Thursday and Monday and he believes this will help me considerably. I am still at a loss though to what actually is this pain...I am someone who likes to put a name to something and unfortunately he didn't seem able to do this for me.

    Debra, was three weeks off enough to resolve your Piriformis Syndrome, and was your raceday pain free?



  • RicFRicF ✭✭✭

    Your priority now is to deal with an injury.

    You should accept that you ought not be trying to run a marathon while in this condition.

  • Yes I think it goes without saying that my priority is to deal with the injury. I would of course not put my body through the strain of a marathon if I thought it was going to cause further and perhaps lasting damage.

    Staying positive can be tough though, and it is always nice to hear other peoples stories and advice.

  • PG3PG3 ✭✭✭

    It is really hard.  If it helps, I was knocked off my bike 2 weeks ago by a dog.  I have a VLM place and this weekend, i accepted that it wasn't going to happen as I'm still injured. I found a place for Edinburgh and I am hoping that I can do that.

    I am really fed up as I was doing really well and starting to dream of a great new pb.

    Is your place for charity?  Can you think about doing another if you aren't right for the day.

  • Hi PipG, thanks for your message. So sorry to hear about your cycling accident that's a real shame. I think it shows a lot of strength to accept that maybe it's just not possible to run this time.

    My place is a charity place but I would of course consider another race if this one isn't right for me, I'm sure the wonderful friends and family that have helped me raise money for my charity would rather me in good health than to hop the 26.2miles!

    Best of luck for Edinburgh!

  • Yes, managed to sort out the piriformis syndrome, did a short run (three miles, I recall) on the Wednesday before the manathon (with physio approval), then ran the marathon. Couple of weeks later stupidly ran a 10K because someone had a spare place - and triggered piriformis syndrome on the other side! However, I got through that with lots of stretching and tennis-ball self-massage of the spasming muscle, and have run since then (distances up to 50 miles) without any further piriformis problems.

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