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5101 Views 7 Replies Latest reply: Nov 23, 2011 7:47 AM by Bullwinkler
lieslieslies Rookie 1 posts since
Nov 10, 2011
Currently Being Moderated

Nov 10, 2011 1:39 AM

Couch to 5K knee injury woes

I just yesterday did w3d1 of Couch to 5K and my knee is killing me! It ached a little during week two,  but I put this down to being new at running and my body trying to cope. I've a pain in the side of my knee, just to the right of my left kneecap (on one leg only) which is tender to touch and hard to walk on. II've also a pain at the back of the same leg at the back, around the base of my thigh where it meets my kneecap - is this the dreaded runners' knee?


I'm planning on resting a week and treating it with RICE but would like to know how I managed to get injured so quickly and how I can avoid it in future.


As background, my running shoes are new (though I didn't get my gait analysed as I wanted to see if running was for me first) and I didn't push myself TOO much during the runs. I was careful to warm up before each run and stretch out afterwards. I run on tarmac roads, no hills, and have been varying my route to avoid the camber of the road always being on one side and have been conscious of avoiding heel strike. My dayjob involves sitting a lot (bent knees). I am reasonably fit and have done a lot of aerobics, body weight training and cycling prior to starting running.


Could it be that I'm just not cut out to be a runner? I hope not - I'd kind of fallen in love with it.

  • OshCat Pro 179 posts since
    Mar 15, 2011
    Currently Being Moderated
    1. Nov 10, 2011 6:52 AM (in response to lieslieslies)
    Couch to 5K knee injury woes

    My advice is to go ahead and get your gait analyzed and get the right shoe for your stride.  I had knee problems similar to what you're describing, and they completely went away once I got the right shoes.  Good luck!


    New Year's Color Run (5k) - 01/01/13

    Oshkosh Half-Marathon - 04/21/13

  • Basscycle Legend 236 posts since
    Dec 14, 2007
    Currently Being Moderated
    2. Nov 10, 2011 1:16 PM (in response to lieslieslies)
    Couch to 5K knee injury woes

    You may be right that your body is still trying to cope with the new punishment that you're putting on it but it sounds like something else. Obviously, most of us here are just a bunch of hacks so take any advice, medical or otherwise, with a grain of salt. Personally, I think you should go out and run a marathon, now -- fight through the pain as, whatever doesn't kill you makes you stronger! Uhmmm, kidding.


    By all means, take it easy and rest up if the pain is bad. As was said, going to a reputable running store and being properly fit for shoes may also be a good idea. And, sometimes doctors and/or chiropractors need to be brought into the equation. Whatever the case, I hope you heal up soon so that you can get back out there!

    My blog:

  • NzAndy Pro 77 posts since
    Oct 23, 2010
    Currently Being Moderated
    3. Nov 17, 2011 9:02 AM (in response to lieslieslies)
    Couch to 5K knee injury woes

    I agree with the other responses that proper shoes are critical.  Along with that is good form while running.  If you haven't had any coaching or analysis then I'd recommend getting some.  I did that last year when I started training for my half ironman and it was instrumental in helping my running.  I found running on wooden board walks were great for getting it right because the shoes squeaked more if I was heel striking or not landing my steps right.  Hills will be your friend at some point, but the main effort should be on getting your legs to adapt to the stresses of running for now.


    As for the leg pain, the safest option is to consult a doctor.  A friend in my triathlon club had knee surgery and is working back to form.  He said his PT told him pain under 6 or 7 on 1 to 10 was just part of training and to keep at it.  Personally I always allow plenty of recovery time between runs because it's a slower build up than any of the other sports you mentioned.  Give yourself some time off and enjoy doing some walking instead.  The harder you work the longer it takes to recover.  I needed 7 weeks to get over my half ironman, but that was a pretty extreme day out.  Training for a half marathon most of my runs are around 2 to 5 miles 3 times a week.  Your 5k training plan should be a good guideline but I'd be doing 1 to 2 mile runs 3 times a week varying the effort levels.  Don't go too hard until you get more comfortable doing it.


    In the end I'm sure you'll be fine and enjoying some great personal achievements in the near future.


  • BOSNPM We're Not Worthy 2,482 posts since
    Nov 20, 2007
    Currently Being Moderated
    4. Nov 17, 2011 9:52 AM (in response to NzAndy)
    Couch to 5K knee injury woes

    Any pain that does not go away while running/get worst or changes your form/gait is bad pain!

  • SJRUN Expert 55 posts since
    May 3, 2011
    Currently Being Moderated
    5. Nov 17, 2011 10:21 AM (in response to lieslieslies)
    Couch to 5K knee injury woes

    I agree w/ BOSNPM.  You originally posted one week ago, lieslieslies, on Nov.10.  Has the pain subsided or reduced with rest?


    There's a lot going on in your leg in the area you're talking about. 


    Pain on either side of your knee could be "runners' knee", precipitated by stress either to your IT band (on the outside) or hamstring complex (on the inside).


    Pain behind your knee can likewise be a range of things.  There are two spots where the tendons of your femoral biceps cross the tendons of your gastrocnemius (calf muscles), either or both of which can be come inflamed with use.


    It's all inflammation, unless you can recall doing something traumatic to your knee (a tweak/twist/impact).  So RICE, plus, when you're feeling better, make sure you're stretching and strengthening the muscles.  You need to do both to prevent recurrence.  Also try ARNICA gel or can find it in any drugstore chain.


    If you're still in severe pain, seeing a physician's a good idea.

    "If you think you will fail or that you will succeed, you'll be right."

    Recent and Upcoming Races:

    New York NY - ING NY Marathon, Nov. 6, 2011 - Finish time 4:53:24

  • lowflyinghemi Rookie 1 posts since
    Sep 7, 2010
    Currently Being Moderated
    6. Nov 17, 2011 11:26 AM (in response to lieslieslies)
    Couch to 5K knee injury woes


    If you are new to running then you need to go slowly. The pain you describe is that of a ligament or tendon from overuse. Overuse is different for each degree of fitness and it is a pain most often felt when you have reached your longest fitness distance (for now). For ligament or tendon injuries rest/rest is mandatory. You cannot run through that pain and it cannot be massaged out . Runners are not very good at resting and so many injuries that could be repaired in a few weeks take several months. Get your biomechanics checked. You will likey have pronation or supponation in one or both ankles, as many of us do,. That causes massive pressure on the knee and hip joint and can over time cause permanent damage to the joints. That can be corrected with orthotics or shoes designed to compensate for that condition.


    As a new runner I recommend running on a soft track for a month or two until all the connective tissues have had a chance to build some strength. If pain comes on and you notice it is getting worse, then you have gone as far as you ought to for that day.


    You need to ensure that you are developing a ball of the foot strike and not/not a heel strike. A heel strike means that your foot is in front of your body. When that happens your leg and heel is really a bit up in the air and when the heel strikes the ground, you will have to pole vault your body over it. Try standing straight up on both legs and then put your right leg in front of you by 12 inches (don't lean over, just stand straight up). Have someone check this out for you and you will find that your foot is now about 2 inches off the ground. It has to come back to the ground and on the heel, so lean/move forward and let the heel come to the ground. Now you will have to vault over that lowered position. The shock to the joints is very damaging and it is a very exhaustive way to run.

    Running style is crucial to pain and injury free running. I am not a doctor but have had surgery on my right knee and the left was going. I say was going because it does not cause me any pain now.  A few years ago I could not run 3 miles without severe pain in my left knee. I saved my left knee minicus ligament by doing single legged squats and double legged squats. The single leg squats are incredible for building strength and stability in each knee, independent of the other and nothing else can do this. I also did squats with both feet on the floor using 60 lbs. of weight on my shoulders. Those two exercises are vital to knee strength and if you like skiing they really help there too.


    I have been running for 25 years, 10 of which were with a running club, completed many Olympic distance triathlons and at 63 yrs. of age completed the Penticton Ironman this past summer for a second time, with no joint or muscle pain. I attribute my pain free running to landing on the ball of my foot and doing the knee strengthening exercise noted above.


    I hope this helps you run pain free well into your retirement years.


    Kindest regards,


  • Bullwinkler Rookie 4 posts since
    Oct 25, 2007
    Currently Being Moderated
    7. Nov 23, 2011 7:47 AM (in response to lieslieslies)
    Couch to 5K knee injury woes

    Hi,  I suggest learning to run without shoes.  Practice running on grass without shoes.  You may wear socks, but run on grass without shoes.


    Practice running at a cadence of 90 (180 steps per minute).  I have Seiko DM-50 Digital Metronome which I set for 60 beats per second, then I run with three steps per second.  (Sometimes, I set the DM-50 for 63 beats per minute, for 189 steps per minute.)  Your steps will be shorter, and you won't overstride.  (Overstriding can be a cause of running injuries.)


    Practice running on your forefoot/midfoot.  Avoid landing on your heels.  Touch down on your forefoot/midfoot, then let your heel settle to the ground.  When descending a hill, increase your cadence, and avoid landing on your heels.


    When running on a composition track, you may wear socks or minimalist running shoes.  Rely on your forefoot/midfoot touchdown to cushion your footsteps.


    Eventually, with the forefoot/midfoot running style, you will learn to run without cushy shoes.  The EVA of cushioned shoes tends to be less supportive of the foot than the low profile of the minimalist shoe.  I almost always remove the sock liners of my shoes. 


    My running and racing shoes weigh as little as 8.8 ounces per pair for size 12.  My running and racing shoes have a heel lift of 0 to rarely over 4 mm.




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