I'm 43 years old and was training for the Rotatrua Marathon (first one). Everythinbg was going fine, running approximately 45km a week,and then did a very stupid thing and increased up to 85-90 km a week. No problems aerobically, but after 10 days developed pain in my knees and haven't been able to run for 2 1/2 weeks. Symptoms suggest 'runners knee'. I have been taking joint factors 4500 for 6 days along with cod liver oil and magnesium tablets, also doing your foot strengthening exercises.
I am really frustrated as I am enjoying the running so much. Is there anything else you can recommend and typically how long is the recovery period?
Any help would be greatly appreciated.
Paul, to be honest I am not keen on encouraging first time runners to go into marathons. Marathons were traditionally the doamin of older competitive runners who were coming to the end of long years of big training miles and damn hard races over distances of 10 miles and less.
My sister, Lorraine, for example had been running big miles and hard, short races for over 10 years before she ran her first marathon. I did the same, covering the distance in 2hr 37mins for the first time. After 13 sub 3hr marathons, I gave up. That was the best decision of my life. Now 55 years old I am proud to say that I still have my knees. Last season I ran comfortably under 20 minutes for 5 km. If I had stuck to running marathons after I turned 30 years, I would not be running fast and free today. I may not be running at all.
The point is that marathon training and marathon running is tough on the knees. Knees are irreplaceable. Do not bugger them up Paul. Look after them. Care for them as you would a child. You can never fully replace your knees.
In the meantime, while you mull over the above, there are a number of measures you can take to care for your knees starting with ensuring your body is rich with all the nutrients for healing and for strong collagen and bones:
- Complete an Active Elements Assessment
- Ensure you boost your vitamin D levels are high by careful sunbathing
- Continue to take daily joint food formulations
- Ensure each meal has small amounts of quality proteins
- Add fish oil, flax oil, evening primrose oil (no need for any more cod liver oil). Get these off my website store
- Eat lots of bright coloured fruits, veges and berries and maybe a combined vitamin C supplement - the best one for strong tissue is Phytocare C-Max (refer my web store)
Exercise and Running
- If an exercise, including running, hurts the knees then give it a break for as long as it takes to be pain free
- Take up aquajogging twice a week
- Get properly set up on a mountain style bike and ride it two or three times a week
- Do only three runs per week spread over the week between the other exercises. You may do daily early morning jogs of about 15-20 minutes if no knee pain
- Only increase running distances by a few percent per week and never more no matter how good you may feel - do more of the other exercises instead
- If you ever feel a running injury coming on - Stop running! Go and do more of the other exercises and resume running once pain free
- Seek out some short races of about 5km and do one each week or so but do not run them all hard out - play with them. Join a club and run cross country over winter to harden the body and mind while not doing damage
- Get 5 years of this kind of training and racing under your belt then dabble in a few long events, like a half marathon, then a marathon if you are still keen.
- Get a pair or two of Formthotics Shock Stop inner soles off my website store and wear them in all your shoes, including your running shoes.
- Get a weekly deep tissue massage of all the leg muscles with emphasis on the thighs and knee regions
Do you have a question?
Email Gary: gary at myotec.co.nz (Replace the "at" with @ and remove spaces). Please include any relevant background information to your question.
I would also add that sore knees requires a scrutiny of both your shoe mecanics and your own mechanics. Runners quite often develop soreness in response to overposting and/or rigidity in the shoe, and/or overstriding that causes the leg to brake on landing and the knees to absorb too much impact. This might not have been apparent until you upped the miles. Buy new shoes that above all feel comfortable when you move, that have some fexibility in the forefoot and are not too flared in the heel. When you run position your body over your legs and let your stride catch you in a free fall with each step, rather than throwing your leg out in front of your body. Overstriding is very hard on the old knees.
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