I am using a Hal Higdon Intermediate training program leading up to a marathon Oct 26. Unfortunately, I'm beginning to experience somne runner's knee pain in my right knee, just as the mileage in my program is ramping up. I'm scheduled to run long runs of 19 and 20 miles this weekend and next, with weekly totals of 45 and 50 miles before settling into a 34/50 alternating rythym until the taper.
I skipped a 4 mile run this morning, and I'm thinking about skipping the 9 & 19 that will make up the rest of this week as well. My question is: What's the best course of action to maintain my training while allowing my knee to recover? Should I switch to cycling for the next couple of weeks? Should I continue running but throttle back the miles? Should I stop everything and just rest? Should I ignore it, buy a knee brace, and rest after the marathon? (it doesn't hurt when I run, only when I sit at my desk all day at work).
With 9 weeks left, I THINK I have some options over the next two weeks or so, but maybe I'm wrong about that, too?
Of course you have options. You identified the problem when you wrote that things are going south right when the mileage is ramping up. My opinion of this "intermediate" program is that 50 is far too many miles, and you can run a respectable marathon on 15-20 miles less per week.
Since you are not yet in your taper, the option of complete rest is not advisable unless prescribed by a physician familiar with your exact condition. Your whole training program would have been a waste of time in that case, as would be going through with the marathon. I like the biking idea if it does not continue to irritate the knee, along with a cut in mileage until symptoms stop.
Meanwhile, pain at the desk with knees bent means propping up that leg, if you can fit under your desk that way. Stay out of the traditional sitting position as much as possible without causing back strain or some other problem with your temporary solution.
I had this same problem once with about the same amount of time to go, and found dramatic relief after applying kinesio tape to the knee. It was applied by a professional first, then I re-taped myself for subsequent applications. I increased my magnesium intake and used topical mag applications around the knee, ran my 26 trainer without the pain the same weekend, and went on to complete a decent marathon later.
I did cut back on mileage during the problem week, but it was involuntary due to pain. As in your case, it flared up as mileage was mounting. The brief respite and remedial attention were enough to get me over the hump, and I learned what my limits were at the time. I hope your case is similar, and wish you the best of luck!