achy knees (Read 1052 times)

    Hello, I am also new to running and have been following a prescription based on Cool Running's beginner 5k program. I am mostly road/sidewalk running and my knees have been achy. Am I running too much? Too fast? I try to stick to the conversational pace but I am competitive with myself and I can't let go of constantly wanting to improve my time. I know, I know. Should I be taking a joint supplement such as glucosamine/chondroitin? I don't want to injure myself and because I am new, I am not sure if my aches are normal "growing" pains and will subside in time, or if I am pushing too hard. Oh, additionally, I think my shoes are fine. I was fitted at a professional running store (which is not to say I may not need to try something else). Any advice is greatly appreciated!
      I'm no expert, but looking at your log of what you are calling easy runs, compared to your recent 5k, I'd say you are probably running your easy runs too fast. Also you recently ramped up your mileage after 2 months off. Could be one or the other or both.

      When it’s all said and done, will you have said more than you’ve done?

        Achy knees (non-specific, mostly limited to during the runs) is often a sign of runner's knee. Info here: http://www.coolrunning.com/engine/2/2_5/194.shtml I've been going through bouts of it, myself, and have recently started doing some of these exercise to help strengthen my quads: http://www.bigkneepain.com/knee-exercises.html

        Go to http://certainintelligence.blogspot.com for my blog.

        Lazy idiot

          I'll agree with Bonkin that he's no expert. Wink I'm not either, but I'll say the same thing. When I started running at the beginning of the year, I was going too fast most of the time. Your body needs time to recover from harder efforts, and going slower (it will feel too slow for awhile) is the way to do it. Best of luck in alleviating your pain. I hope you feel better soon.

          Tick tock


          Barefoot and happy

            You took two months off, and then started running about double the weekly mileage you were doing before, with no gradual ramp up. Not surprising that you're hurting. You're also probably running too fast. Your "easy" pace is way too close to your 5k pace. If you're having trouble figuring out what "easy" should feel like, get a heart rate monitor, and read the Low Heart Rating Training group. I find the "conversational" benchmark isn't really very helpful. It sounds like you're highly motivated to get faster, and that's good! But you need to balance your motivation with patience. Real, lasting improvement takes time. Instead of trying to be faster every day (not realistic), try to be faster every month. Let your body improve at it's own rate. All you need to do is steadily increase your distance and the speed will naturally follow. Finally, knee pain is often associated with poor form. Check out a book like "Chi Running" or the site http://runningbarefoot.org for descriptions of good form and exercises to work on. This made a world of difference for me. My knees used to be the limiting factor in how much I could run. Now I'm pain free at much higher mileage.
            Curious about running barefoot? Visit the new barefoot running group.
              Thanks everyone. I did read Chi Running and found some of the techniques helpful. I wouldn't mind finding a class in my area because it is hard for me to know if I am using the correct form just from reading the book alone. Anyway, consensus is to slow down so I will give it a shot. Thanks!
                I also did the C25K plan last year. My knees were fine during the plan, but when I started to run more after the C25K plan, I started to have all kinds of knee problems. I even started to use knee bands to help with the pain, but I read that they can become a crutch and should be avoided if possible. The end solution was to get properly fitted for a pair of shoes. I did start to take glucosamine/chondroitin around the same time so I don't know if it helped at all, but I'm too chicken to stop taking it :-) Derek


                Half Fanatic #846

                  Just my 2 cents worth, but if you're running on CONCRETE sidewalks, that's the hardest pounding on your knees and legs of any running surface. I think I alleviated knee problems by avoiding sidewalks, running on the treadmill once or twice a week, and if I had a trail or path to run on, I would do that too. Occaisionally I will have minor knee discomfort, but that's usually from hill work, a long bike ride, or sometimes speed work. I do what I can to lessen the stress on my joints, although I do a fair amount of running on asphalt (2nd hardest surface) to mimic race conditions. The proper shoes are helpful, but it sounds like you have been fitted professionally. The other suggestions sound really good too. Hope this helps! Smile

                   I ran half my last race on my left foot!               I don't always roll a joint, but when I do, I usually roll my ankle


                  Half Fanatic #846

                    Sorry I didn't catch this in my first post, but I noticed from your log that you're running 3 or 4 days in a row sometimes. It's not a whole lot of mileage yet, but if you are new, putting a rest day in between most of your run days could help give your body more time to recover.

                     I ran half my last race on my left foot!               I don't always roll a joint, but when I do, I usually roll my ankle


                      A runner's knees will ache. I fretted this at the beginning of the year, then I followed advice to ice them suckers down. All better after a spell. This will happen till running strengthens all the ligs and tens and stuff. But follow the other guys advice also.


                      —our ability to perform up to our physiological potential in a race is determined by whether or not we truly psychologically believe that what we are attempting is realistic. Anton Krupicka

                        The only time I've noticed knee problems is when my shoes were incorrect or needed replacement.
                        ---- Cynthia
                          When I first started running my knees were sore a lot too, especially as I started to ramp up the mileage while training for my first half marathon. And I don't think it was because I was running too hard or ramping up too fast - I just think that my muscles-ligaments etc needed time to strengthen over time. So I did two things: First, I started doing strengthening exercises with ankle weights. I think someone in an earlier post provided a link for some strengthening exercises you can do. A simple one is to sit with a pillow under your knee, and lift your lower leg until it is parallel with the ground, toes pointing in a little, hold for 2-3 secs, and then repeat 15 times. Do a couple sets with each leg maybe 2-3 times per week. I'm sure there are other exercises that work well too. Second, I used, for a while, Cho-pat straps that are designed to help relieve runner's knee. The straps provided instant relief for me. That allowed me to continue to build up the mileage while I did my strengthening exercises. Then I slowly 'weened' myself off of the straps. I'd go maybe one run per week without them for a couple of weeks, then two runs without them for a couple weeks, etc - it just depended on how my knees felt. Eventually, I didn't (and still don't) need them anymore. One other thing: I've noticed that when I've run about 250 to 300 miles or so on a pair of shoes, my knees start to ache, and it's a sign it's time to get new shoes. I'm 6'2" 190 lbs - so my shoes don't last that long. I guess some people are able to get 400+ miles out of a pair of shoes. But it's important to keep track of the mileage so you'll begin to learn when it is time to replace them before the aches and pains set in too much.

                            Sorry I didn't catch this in my first post, but I noticed from your log that you're running 3 or 4 days in a row sometimes. It's not a whole lot of mileage yet, but if you are new, putting a rest day in between most of your run days could help give your body more time to recover.
                            Totally agree. I am not a "natural" runner (not much natural ability), and I've found I do my best when I do (at most) one day on and one day off. Your problems might be repetitive stress. Another thing that may be a factor as you step up your mileage is motion control. At lower mileage, the damage from motion control is usually accounted for in natural recovery, but as you increase your mileage they start to limit you. For me, the very best running shoes I ever bought were not the shoes - they were a set of over-the-counter orthotics. I ran off and on from the age of 2 until I was 30 until I discovered these things. I got them because I had plantar fasciitis, but a very nice side benefit is they eliminated nearly all knee pain. Now, I simply don't run without them. And after I was on the first set of orthotics, I rotated them to my everyday shoes (work shoes). So now I'm on orthotics full time and the running has never been better. Some advocate running barefoot, which means no arch support, with the idea it will strengthen the area. That may work for some but I believe it doesn't work for all. Put on your running shoes and have someone watch you from behind. Walk in a natural way in a straight line toward and away from them as they observe you and have them look to see if your feet roll inward or outward as you step. Either one will cause you problems and orthotics may help. The OTC orthotics, however, are generally geared toward pronation (rolling inward - most common). Suppination will likely require a visit to the doc.