A couple of weeks ago I ran my longest distance to date (13 miles). A week before that, I ran my previous distance record at a little over 11 miles. Toward the end of both runs, my left knee started hurting on the outside. Since the 13 mile run, I'm only able to run about 2.5 miles before my knee becomes uncomfortable and I need to walk again. After the 11 mile run, my achilles in my left leg was very sore.
Both cases appear to be due to my impatience training. In about 10 weeks time I progressed from sporadic running to 20+ mile weeks.
The sore tendon is something I'm not terribly concerned about yet. There is quite a bit of literature on how to stretch and strengthen an achilles tendon. In the worst case (a rupture), they can be stitched back together fairly efficiently and re-occurrence is only about 1 in 100 cases.
My sore knee frightened me a bit more. The pain would become intense enough to stop my running, and disappear again as soon as I started walking. Knee problems can be both debilitating and permanent. Although I could have visited my doctor, I decided instead to use a more reputable source to research my issue...the Internet.
After a bit of reading I found several people that described my knee pain exactly as I would have. They all suffered from iliotibial band pain. Essentially the ITB connects your backside to just below your knee. Although I've known for about 25 years that I don't have much of a backside, it never occurred to me that it would hamper my ability to run. This seems to be the case though. As the muscle attached to your ITB fatigues, it gets sloppy and your ITB flops around and generally becomes disgruntled.
There are some great exercises to address ITB pain, and after my first installment I realized that my left leg is indeed weaker than my right leg. In order to address the achilles issue and the ITB issue I have added the following to my daily workout routine:
- achilles stretch
- heel drops/toe raises
- ITB Stretch
- Side leg lifts with a resistance band
- Clamshells with a resistance band
Hopefully with these exercises in place I can start building my distance back up again. Patience is not something I'm good at!