Tuesday, January 29, 2013

There Goes My Knee

The rumor among non-runners is that running is bad for your knees. Well, it's only bad for your knees if you don't take necessary precautions. Like strength training. Or increasing mileage safely.  Or wearing the right/fresh shoes. Or running on the right surfaces. But it's just like any other part of your body. Take care of it and it will take care of you. This is true of any exercise, sport, or activity.

So here's the story with my knee. I went for a run Sunday, and the pain in my knee was so bad I had to turn around and walk the rest of the way back. UGH! I was super mad. But I did some reading on runner's knee and it turns out that I am experiencing this pain for two reasons: I amped up my mileage too fast (duh, I have a half to train for!) and my quads are under developed/my hamstrings are too tight. The latter causes your knee cap to veer off course, and since our muscles compensate for us while we use them I had no clue this was a problem until it became pretty painful. Darn my super smart muscles!

What am I do to?

1. Strength train. I've already started incorporating some simple exercises to help my quads. 

2. Stretch more. Or really I should stretch more effectively. I do stretch after all runs, but obviously not frequently enough or well enough. This is why yoga is often recommended for runners. We're notorious for having super tight legs. 

3. Get a knee strap so I can keep running. This is what I'm referring to if you don't know what I mean. You've probably seen them on other runners before. Please note I don't advocate any particular brand. 

In the meantime, I've been taking it easy and icing/taking anti-inflammatories when needed. The ice is super awesome but pretty inconvenient while at work. This means I've pretty much experienced all running injuries except black toes. EW! Knock on wood! =)

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