About 15 years ago, I downloaded my first running program. Until that point my workouts were sporadic and uninspired. I’d certainly never been able to run longer than 30 second without feeling like I was going to die. Over the next 8 weeks I followed that running program to the letter and just as the program promised I was able to run 5K without stopping. I was so excited and proud that I was finally able to run without stopping for a full 5K. Truth be told it took several weeks after the program ended before I stopped feeling nauseated at the end of my run. But I was still completely over the moon that I was now a runner!
Even more exciting to me was that throughout the whole training program I’d only felt normal soreness in my legs and feet after my runs, nothing that was scary or overwhelming. I continued running and found groups that run throughout different parts of the city on weekends. I lost weight, I was more calm throughout the day. Basically running was the key part of my selfcare to deal with all the things life threw at me.
When I decided to increase my running distance from 5K to 10K, that is when my body started to fall apart.
It started with just a mild knee ache after my runs, that would go away the next day after I iced my knee. Of course I assumed it was muscle soreness from the increase in distance. But quickly my knees started to hurt not just after my runs but during my runs. It didn’t matter how much I stretched, iced, or rested my distance goals were completely stalled. And my knees were just painful all the time, not just days after my runs but ALL the time. I felt like I had no choice but to hang up my running shoes to stop this horrible pain. It was completely devastating for me. I had to stop my workouts which was the way I was dealing with stress and had opened me a circle of friends that I now was going to miss seeing. Not to mention when I stopped running I started gaining weight, I was more tired and anxious throughout the day. I not only lost my identity as a runner but I lost friends and my peace of mind.
This story does have a happy ending. I’m back to running races!
My journey back to running has been my inspiration for helping others. I'm happy to say that I’ve helped many people who started to have knee pain after their runs get back to running and exceed their personal goals.
During my years I have noticed a few themes that people are missing from their training that are causing their knee pain.
Stretch: I know this is the part of the workout everyone skips over BUT it is vital for your joint health to stretch before and after your runs.
Strength train: I remember after my first running program how the idea of not running for a day was emotional. I was convinced to my core that if I didn't run for even one day I would not be able to run as long or as far. In my mind it was impossible to see how not running for a day would help, not hurt my ability to run. I was completely wrong. What I’ve learned is that adding a strengthening day or two to a running program improves everything. It reduces the risk of injury, improves running speed and running endurance. So If you’re not taking a day to work on your upper and lower body strength you should start now.
Plyometric training: Running is a plyometric exercise. It's important to save at least half of a workout to improve your ability to hit the ground gracefully. Practicing how to land your foot onto the ground reduces the stress of impact on your ankles, knees, hip and lower back.
See a Physical Therapy: If you continue to have knee pain after you run see a Physical Therapist. PTs are movement specialists that are able to watch you run, look at your knee strength and how it interacts with your hip and ankle in order to determine the root cause of your knee pain after your runs. Everyday I help people get back running without pain or limitations by creating specialized plans that stops their knee pain, heals the injured tissues and then life proofs their knees to keep them running for decades.
If you would like more tips on how to stop knee pain after you run click this link for my FREE EBOOK “10 Tips And Tricks To Stop Knee Pain From Derailing Your Fitness Goals! (No Brace, Medication, or Surgery required)”
If you would like to talk to a physical therapist about how a specialized program can help you overcome knee pain after running click this link.
WE HELP ACTIVE ADULTS OVERCOME THEIR ACHES AND PAINS TO GET THEM BACK TO THEIR FAVORITE ACTIVITIES WITHOUT MEDICATION, INJECTIONS OR SURGERIES.
Dr. Molly McDonald