Yesterday, we did our first hill running workout of the season at nearby City Park, where I do a lot of my running. A gradual half mile hill that we spent some quality time with, running up and down a few times. Nothing like a beautiful 4 mile run to brighten the mood.
A few weeks ago, I ran the Canyonlands Half Marathon. During the race, I felt my knee starting to hurt a little bit. When I finished, it was throbbing. Cue the "sexy limp" (read: awkward painful hideous limp) as I dubbed is back to my hotel I was staying at. Over the next few days, it was getting progressively better. Awesome! I ran a couple times on it, and it loosened up great and wasn't a hinderance. A week later, I could barely feel it. Then, for one of our running workouts, we did mile repeats, which was HARD running. It felt fine during. I woke up the next day and the pain was back. [The first thought that went through my head has been removed due to profanity].
Immediately, you mind starts playing tricks on you.
Oh, it's not a big deal... it's only a little pain, I can make it through the next few months no problem, I'm not too worried...
Your life is over. There's no way you can make it to June. You're going to start running longer and farther than you ever have before, and it's only going to get worse. Stop running now!
Shut up brain.
Our running coach referred us all to a physical therapist who specializes in running who conducts a free 15 minute run screening, hoping anyone who needs it would take advantage. Since my knee decided to go rogue, I knew I should go see someone.
The screen was great! She had me run on the treadmill for about a minute, examining me from behind and the side, noticing my form and what my body is doing when I run. She even took video so I could SEE those things as well.
The issues I have are directly related to form and completely fixable. She noted that I was "by the book" and that a first year med student could come in and have zero issues working with me. I am easy.
Basically, what she noticed is that there is weakness in my hips/core, and that is affecting my knees and legs negatively. Because of that weakness, my foot mechanics are inconsistent, my knee mechanics are uncontrolled, and that my pelvis/hip movements are asymmetric, leading to some essentially lopsided running. This means LOTS of stretching and strengthening my hips, glutes, and thighs.
She also noticed that my knees converge awkwardly and I need to focus on having a "window" between my knees when I run, and that I tend to overstride a bit, so I should work on increasing the frequency of my steps.
I have a half marathon coming up this weekend, so I'm not supposed to do anything in the mean time. But after, game on! With a little work in these areas and focusing on these things, all of my pain issues I have been experiencing should be reversed!