I was told by my doctor to stop running, strengthen my legs, and stretch. But did I do this? Unfortunately not. I was determined to continue running, and didn't do much strength training.
Throughout college, I turned myself into a distance runner by running 4 miles, at most 5. I was very wary about my knees and always hoped I wouldn't be in pain, limping around for 2 weeks in between my runs which happened often. I was not doing much strength training other than some squats and lunges here and there until around my senior year.
What has helped
With squats, side steps, leg abductions, side lunges, and dead lifts- I have been able to improve the strength of the muscles in my lower body. Avoiding the hard impact of sprinting and gradually increasing my distance, I have been able to build my mileage without too many problems in my knees. Making sure that I am icing after a workout, stretching to keep my muscles lose, and listening to my body during the workouts to know when my knees have had enough.
I have been able to prolong the amount of time my joints can be work. And I am impressed and very proud of myself. With the mileage that I have ran within the past two months, I have proved to myself that as long as I maintain what I'm doing, I can run the distances I desire.
What I’m doing now
Today I took a good 30 minutes to roll out my lower extremity.
Oh the "hurt so good" foam rolling technique works wonders on breaking up the tension within the muscle fascia. My knee is feeling better already (not fully 100% but feeling more mobile then earlier.)
I rolled out my calfs, gluteus, and hamstrings by using a small ball that really located the tender sections in the muscles.
I rolled out my quads and IT Band with the large foam roller. And, boy, did these muscles need it! When the tension was released, I felt so great.