Sunday, November 26, 2006

Breaking 1,500 miles YTD leads to... runner's knee?

My best long run since the Oct 22 marathon...

Yesterday, I met with Matt, a guy who trained for Chicago with the CARA group, for a long run up at Wheaton meeting point. He fell short of his BQ goal in Chicago and will now head to Arizona for the R'n'R marathon out there Jan to try for 3:10.

It seemed like a good opportunity for me to push to at least 16 miles for my half marathon prep. Matt wanted to run twenty, and I agreed to let him go the final four alone.

This was my hardest training run since the marathon five weeks earlier. Personally, I think Matt's long runs are too fast for his goal, but I decided he needs to figure out what works for him on his own. I know that I ran slower than him on most of the long runs for Chicago. Yet it was me who was able to finish strong to run the 3:10. I learned from experience not to run too fast.

We did 8 out and 8 back with only a quick 3-minute break at the midpoint to GU up and hydrate. We ran 7:20-7:25 pace the entire way. My HR was in the high 150's/low 160's -- right where I expected it to be for this kind of run. I had no interest in another 4-miles due to some discomfort, which I will get to later.

I just tallied it up. With this run, I crossed the 1,500 mile mark for 2006 and now am at 1,510 YTD.

WTD: This 16-miler puts me at 36 for the week. I had planned to do a 5-mile recovery run today, but that may be on HOLD as a result of the next topic.

On to the concerning news of the day...

I experienced some mild knee discomfort toward the end of yesterday's run -- about the last two miles. I felt some slight pain after last Sunday's 14-miler, but that pain did not last.

This week's pain, while still relatively moderate, has lasted almost 24 hours. For a couple of hours after yesterday's run, it was really a nuisance and I found myself limping a bit.

I am concerned that I may have developed the classic runner's knee ailment. The symptom is singular and simple: pain on the lower outer portion of my left knee cap, that intensifies with bending and running.

It's not intolerable at this point, but there is something unusual going on. I have not felt this pain since 2001, when I trained for my first marathon. Then, I attributed this pain to simply being a novice and overworking my knee. I had never put in any type of serious mileage.

Of the sites I explored on the topic, I found this one to be very informative.

The Vegas Half is two weeks away and paid for, of course. Additionally, Boston training is to begin the day after, which would give 18 weeks to race day. Bottom line: I don't have a lot of time for rest and recovery. And I have a good feeling that rest is the only remedy to heal.

I've been fortunate enough to run injury-free for years now. Now, however, as this issue crops up, I am at the peak of my running life and it will be a struggle to determine what the right way to handle the situation is.

Who knows, maybe I am overreacting and this goes away after 2 days rest? (...please...)


Whitney said...

IT Band! IT Band! how's you'r IT band feel? tight? when your It band gets tight from overuse, your knee hurts on the outer lower portion. that's my prognosis....that's b/c I'm dealing with it right now though. Get a foam roller at fleet feet or buy The Stick (great for traveling) and loosen up those IT bands right after runs. I can also give you some exerecises to strengthen your knees that I do w/ my PT if you want. All this has been helping maybe it could prevent major pain for you. just a few suggestions. nice 16 miler.

neese said...

aw, i hope you are just spooked by it and it will in fact go away in a couple days... lets hope, hang in there!

Andrew said...

I'd go with what Whitney says. Also, those were some pretty fast paces for a 16 mile recovery run. What's your training plan for Boston look like?

Injury is part of the program in my opinion. This is because what you have to do to avoid it 100% is not conducive to training. On the other hand, a good dose of assessment and balance will minimize your risks significantly. Looks like you're at the critical assessment stage. Day a day off, perform a gentle workout, then take another day off if need be. Repeat.

If the half marathon is not conveniently nearby or part of a vacation, I'd just forget it. A famous coach once said (so famous I forgot who it was)"When you go marathon, you go." So we allow these half marathons and other distances to complement our marathons but we certainly don't let them get in the way. So just be careful about what a race would do to a tender knee.

Are you shooting for 3:00 this time around?

yumke said...

Good on your for the long run. And as for the knee, good luck, it does sound like IT band. As long as i've been following you're blog, you've been smart in training, so I know you'll listen to your body. if you need two weeks to figure your knee out before launching the next training program, maybe rest will be the best prescription.. (congrats on the mileage.. i'm creeping up to that mark as well)

Ryan said...

Whitney, I am struggling with understanding the difference btw the IT band issue and the runner's knee, which I don't think is related to the IT band. Based on your description, sounds like you're sure it's what I have. I have the Stick, but it sits in a closet. I'm going to get it out.

Thanks for the advice, Andrew. It is insightful. The half is part of a vacation in Vegas, but it would tear me up to piss away the $90 entry fee. 3:00 is not in the plan for Boston. It may be on the docket for next fall in Chicago, especially since I have two sub-3 marathon friend coming to town who wish to race.

Running Rabbit said...

Shall I send my pain killers your way? As they are totally fucking with my head. :-(

Good luck!!

Dori said...

Hi, Ryan. Thanks for visiting my blog. Good job on the 16 miles. Regarding the difference between Runner's Knee and ITB syndrome, my Dagny Scott book says that Runner's Knee is sore around, under, or in front of the kneecap. ITB syndrome is felt on the outside of your knee. Ice and anti-inflammatories are suggested treatment for both. What was the road like on your 16 miler? If it was heavily cambered, maybe that aggravated your knee. Regardless, I hope it's nothing serious. I don't like to throw away $90 on a race, either. Good luck!

Steve said...

Hey Ryan-
Dori's got it right. From your description I would say it is the "beginning stage" of runner's knee. If it is the outside of the knee (between the cap and the calf), I would say IT B.S. Less intense runs and rest should give it time to heal. Advil and Ice after your runs should also be done. The good news is, you are paying attention to it early.

As you know, I have had every knee problem. Both IT Band and runners knee are both often results poor stretching. Do you do that, especially lately? I had this after Chicago in '05 after starting to train for Tampa. I had an imbalance with my Quad and my hamstring in terms of flexiblity. So I spent 2-3 weeks really focusing on getting the hamstring to not have so much tension

Note from your link:

Do posterior muscle stretches (hamstrings and calf muscles)

Rest, not compress.... AND Stretch.

Firefly's Running said...

I second what Whitney has to say.

robtherunner said...

Well whatever it is there is not a whole lot more you can do to get ready for your upcoming half-marathon. I hope that this is simply a minor inconvenience and with the proper precautions will be remedied quickly.