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Am I at the end of my running career or can I reset my training and continue? (Read 438 times)


Camp Muir

    I'm having arthritis pain in my left knee.  I had arthroscopic surgery on it 20 years ago for ITBS (which wasn't correctly diagnosed as I went into surgery.)  The surgeon removed some synovial tissue and I was able to return to running about 3 weeks later.  Unfortunately my situation as a graduate student in physics at that time prevented me from continuing my running at my previous level and thus I lost my best shot at a sub 3 hour marathon.

     

    I've run off and on since then.  In the last 5 years or so I've become much more interested in running again (I'm now a HS physics teacher) and have started to have some success placing in my age group in local 5k races.  Two years ago in the fall while in half marathon training I stopped and saw an orthopedic doctor about my chronic left knee pain which had suddenly become acute on one hard tempo run during half marathon training.  The doc diagnosed arthritis and told me that I wouldn't be able to run but that I could bike and stuff.  I ignored him.  Rehabbed my knee and the next year ran 2:00:13 for the half marathon.

     

    This year I had my heart set on breaking 2:00:00.  Some setbacks this winter from other stuff prevented me from running a spring half though I was able to train to be essentially all but ready (could have run it but would have likely come up short of breaking 2.)

     

    Anyway I recent visit to my doc discouraged me as he said to me that I might not want to continue to run as it could make the arthritis significantly worse and I wouldn't be able to do other activities.  I would trade running for continuing to back-pack and bike for an extended period but I'm still running.  (I am still considering climbing Denali (Mt. Mckinley) in '15 or '16 and will need a reliable knee for both the ascent and the training for the ascent.)

     

    My first reaction was that the doctor was just wrong and that running was something that I could do while managing the pain in my knee.  I do admit that the pain does get chronically worse with extended training.  Then I thought about wanting to be active for at least another 2 decades (I'm 55.)  I started to waffle on my decision to ignore the doctors advice and I went through a phase of considering stopping running entirely and taking up biking as my primary activity.

     

    Currently I'm still undecided (it has been 3 weeks since I started to have indecision about running - I stopped for 2 weeks though I did a difficult backpacking trip for 5 days during this time.)  Right now I'm leaning towards continuing my running at a somewhat reduced level.  What I plan to do is to train for 5k's only and take some significant rest times at various places.  I also am simultaneously going to ramp up my biking slowly but not immediately making it my primary activity.

     

    I am pretty sure that I will be able to manage the soreness in my left knee during 5k training.  If not I will consider dropping to just 3 runs per week training because I really do enjoy just running.   I also hold out the possibility that I could ramp up to half marathon training for a fall race if things are going OK.  Though I would have pretty much only one shot at my goal and will have to take a rest period afterwards for my knee.  I also am planning on dropping 20 lbs.  I've been running heavy and have considered dropping this 20 lbs to be a long term goal but now I think I have do it quicker to save more running years.

     

    Thanks for reading and I welcome any thoughts.  Particularly from people who have managed an arthritis condition and or are older or heavier runners.  It helped me just to write down my thoughts even if they go unread.  Thanks again!

      I'm in the older group also. I've had some setbacks as well, but haven't been told not to run. My doctors have basically told me "don't stop". I think it will come to adjusting your goals based on some of the health issues. I feel the reduced and slower pace would be okay as long as you can tolerate any discomforts you may be having. Scottydog has had a lot of similar stuff, so maybe he'll chime in and offer another opinion.


      Camp Muir

        Thanks hog4life.... yeah adjusting my goals seems like the way to go.  I'm wondering about medical opinions.  Might I have any luck seeking a doc who is favorable to my running?  It does seem to help my knee somewhat if I don't over do it!  A two mile easy run actually seems to make it feel better not worse.  Its just the chronic half marathon/10k training that seems to take it down.

          I think each doctor will be different, some say yes you can run, some say don't. I had hernia surgery, colon cancer surgery, and histoplasmosis( fungus from bird poop), in my lungs. All 3 doctors told me to keep running, GI doctor, surgeon, and pulmonologist. If one tells you not to, maybe go for a second opinion.

          Cntrygal


            I have a major ankle issue and my doctor (ortho) has told me I should stop running. He doesn't really want me to do any type of activity that places impact on it.  I'm not ready to quit, so I've adjusted my goals.  Slow and easy, it's all about finishing for me (run/walk intervals are now my "friends")... The ONLY way I'll ever place in my age group is if there's only three of us in it.

              I once had a doctor tell me to not run.  Then I changed to a different clinic.  This place has doctors that ski, bike, and run marathons.  They do not tell people to not run.

               

              Find another doctor.

                I'm 56 and I too have arthritis pain in both knees, both ankles (both of which have been broken), and my right hip, and was told by the last surgeon who screwed me back together (ten years ago) that I'd never run again.  Between 2003 and 2009 it looked like he was going to be proven correct, then I rediscovered running on dirt trails.  Initially I could only manage a run every other day, or even every third day; now four years later (with a few stops and starts along the way due to work and health issues), I'm able to run pretty much every day, and even managed a personal record of 218 miles (all on dirt trails) in the month of July.

                 

                My advice to you would be to find an old converted rail trail or other dirt trail/track to run on and see if that makes the night and day difference it made for me.

                 

                Over the years I've also done a significant amount of cycling (and suffered knee pain as a result); I was in my mid-30s before I finally discovered the secret of riding pain-free:

                • Spin -- gear down and keep your minimum cadence at 80 RPMs at the very least, 90 or 100 would be better.
                • Keep the knees warm -- when riding at any temperature 65 F or below, cover the knees.


                Old , Ugly and slow

                  I am 52 and 210 pounds.

                  Knee pain stopped my running in my 30's.

                  I started on dirt and crushed gravel last summer and it has helped the pain,

                  pr's 5k 20.08, 5 mile 31:20, 10k  41.19  all done in the 80's

                   

                  2014goals   1300  miles  , 190 pounds , deadlift 400 touch my toes

                  Cntrygal


                    I once had a doctor tell me to not run.  Then I changed to a different clinic.  This place has doctors that ski, bike, and run marathons.  They do not tell people to not run.

                     

                    Find another doctor.

                     

                    I don't have much of a choice in doctors in the VA system, but this one is better than the last one.

                      "Old, Ugly, and Slow..."

                       

                      Hey, I resemble that remark.  Smile

                       

                      I am 56, I run on the dirt, and was 210 just two weeks ago, sounds like we have a lot in common.  Smile

                      Longboat


                      Letting off steam

                        I've twice being told not to run. Once for hips, once for knee arthritis. My reply was very simple each time: "Wrong answer!"

                        Get a plan of attack to deal with it.

                        See what a period of rebuilding leg strength through stretching and strengthening can do. Balance muscles medially and laterally. Focus on any muscles that can support the knee. Lose any extra weight. Get a good form analysis. Anything else you can think of?

                        None of this will do any harm to your knee, or possibilities of continued activity. Just go after it!

                        I'm 64, & still running. Just getting back from Achilles tendon surgery (due to trauma rather than overuse) but I will be back at 100 percent. plan to be at it for another 20 years at least.

                        Neil

                        ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

                        Nearly back to 100% 6 months after Achilles surgery. Now at 35 50 mpw.

                        Base building time!

                        MARATHON MITCH


                          keep your knees warm try taking 4000 mg fish oil a day every day my knees been buggered for 30 years but have still run ultra races 50 miles 5 hours 24 min at 44.Im 66 now can still churn out 5ks 19 30 lose the weight run light training miles don't need to be fast to run well

                          I train at 5.30 km pace 70 %of time a few 1 km reps 1 day a week six weeks out from a half last one feb 2013 1 35 19 hobble about for a few days with sore knees after but deep heat and massage on all supporting muscles and tendons works wonders

                            It seems like many Drs answer to any ache and pain or other issue is to stop running.......

                             

                            I can't comment on your situation, I can just tell you that I'm 61 years old and have been told by Drs to quit running 4 times now............Last time my Dr told me that I told him I'd rather dye running than to dye fat and laying of a bed not able to move.....

                             

                            I'm going to continue to run..

                            Champions are made when no one is watching

                            SShaw490


                            SShaw490

                              I had a severely broken ankle 40 years ago and the doctor said continuing to run would cause arthritis. Since then I've been running regularly for 40 years. Yes, my ankle has a limited range of motion and it hurts sometimes, but I have never encountered someone who got well in a recliner. To heck with the doctor, do what you want. You paid him for advice, you got it, and its your choice whether to follow the advice.

                               

                              And now some free advice thats worth about what you paid for it; just enjoy running. Getting a sub 2 half isn't going to change your life. Enjoying your ability to run will.


                              Race Less Train More

                                I'm 56 and I too have arthritis pain in both knees, both ankles (both of which have been broken), and my right hip, and was told by the last surgeon who screwed me back together (ten years ago) that I'd never run again.  Between 2003 and 2009 it looked like he was going to be proven correct, then I rediscovered running on dirt trails.  Initially I could only manage a run every other day, or even every third day; now four years later (with a few stops and starts along the way due to work and health issues), I'm able to run pretty much every day, and even managed a personal record of 218 miles (all on dirt trails) in the month of July.

                                 

                                My advice to you would be to find an old converted rail trail or other dirt trail/track to run on and see if that makes the night and day difference it made for me.

                                 

                                Over the years I've also done a significant amount of cycling (and suffered knee pain as a result); I was in my mid-30s before I finally discovered the secret of riding pain-free:

                                • Spin -- gear down and keep your minimum cadence at 80 RPMs at the very least, 90 or 100 would be better.
                                • Keep the knees warm -- when riding at any temperature 65 F or below, cover the knees.

                                Arthritis  in left knee. Doctor said I would probably need a need replacement. Did not go back to him. Took 10 weeks off. Running 6- 12 miles a week. May 17 miles,-June  28 miles- July 66 miles. Run 2 miles Wednesday . Did a 7 hour 28.32 miles on Saturday(yesterday) on a trail. Very little knee pain. Pain free today. No swelling. My adjustment will  be more trails / grass. 6- 10 marathons/ultras a year. Down from a high of 18 a year. It is a work in progress..

                                Run until the trail runs out.

                                2013***1500 miles

                                50 miler

                                 

                                 

                                unsolicited chatter

                                http://bkclay.blogspot.com/

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