Dear Internets, I need some advice.
It all started after the Scenic City Half Marathon in February. I ran really well, and I had tired legs to prove it. On my runs during the following week, I took it easy. That is, except for my long run the next weekend. I had 15 miles on the schedule, and decided to run a 10-mile, hill-laden stretch of Iroquois Park as part of this. That was a mistake. Going up the hills was no problem. Coming down them really put a ton of pressure on my knees, and I felt a twinge of pain I hadn’t ever experienced before. Twice. Every run since then has been an exercise in caution. The pain happens randomly. Not often, but enough for me to second guess every single step. And when you’re running in the high teens, that’s a lot of steps and a lot of worry.
On a 17-mile run last weekend, my legs had completely locked up by mile 14. I walked every quarter mile for the last three miles. I’m almost 100% certain my legs were tight because I was tensing up with every step. And after my short run on Thursday (just four miles), the aching pain stuck around after I was finished.
That was enough to convince me to take a break. I know, I know. Rest is a four-letter word for runners, but I’d rather take a break now than not be able to finish my marathon in May. I plan on taking off the rest of the week and modifying the remainder of my training schedule to hopefully get through this thing. And so, this is what I’m doing.
I also know runner’s knee is generally caused by weak hip abductor muscles. I had been doing some of these exercises nightly, but I got lazy and stopped. I’m a believer that they were working, so I’m now doing them three times a day.
Bridge with leg lifts.
These start with a traditional bridge position. Then I hold myself up with one leg and raise my other leg up and down. I do this 40 times on each side.
Standing side leg extension.
I do these with a resistance band. 25 times on each side.
Lying leg extension.
I do these with a resistance band. 25 times on each side. Sometimes I modify this with a clamshell position.
There isn’t a ton of training left before my marathon, so needless to say I’m reluctant to skip any additional long runs. I am altering the schedule to help me ease back into the regimen.
18 miles – > skipped
13 miles – > 7 miles
20 miles – > 15 miles
13 miles – > 13 miles
20 miles – > 20 miles
12 miles – > 12 miles
8 miles – > 8 miles
26.2 miles – > 26.2 miles
Foam roller – I’m also using a foam roller once in the morning and again at night.
Aleve – I’m not a big fan of taking medicine, but I have taken some Aleve to reduce the inflammation.
Ice – I’m icing my knees at least twice a day for 20 minutes.
And that’s it. I tend to freak out, and the runner in me just wants to ignore it and keep pushing on. I know that’s not the right answer, though.
I’m open to advice here. Have you ever experienced runner’s knee? If so, what did you do to take care of it? Is a week off enough time to keep it under control, or should I take longer? What else could I be doing to speed up the healing process?