Oh tendinitis you have done it again. One quick, unprepared, burst of quickness, only about 10 strides in a sprint, and you have inflamed my right knee once again. You managed to hold back through 3 half marathons and the training in between the runs for the past 2 months, I guess I was due for a flare up soon.
This is something that used to happen frequently with me, but now happens less often. I guess the trick for me is stretching, strengthening, and barely any sprinting. I was a sprinter in high school (200m, 400m, 4x1, 4x4), and it wasn't until my sophomore year of indoor track practice while running through the hallways of Marple Newtown that I developed this chronic injury of the patella tendon, IN BOTH KNEES- oy vey!
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
After college, and up until now, I have been doing more strength training with my lower body. Adding weights onto my squats, working on my abductor muscles in my lower extremity, strengthening my lower back, gluteus, hamstrings, and quads. I make sure that my lower extremity muscles are evenly worked, and focus on stretching- to keep my muscles from tightening up.
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
As of right now, since this dreadful injury decided to visit, I am focusing on R.I.C.E-ing (rest.ice.compression.elevation) my knee until the swelling and minor pain has subsided and has been releaved. I will be stretching and foam rolling- both legs, to keep my muscles from tightening, and to release the built up tension within my muscles.
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.
Running is my drug, my love, my passion
I have done a total of 4 half marathons in my lifetime (Delaware, lake placid, Newport-Liberty state park, and Staten Island) and plan to run more, and eventually a full. I will not allow my patella tendinitis get in my way. It may slow me down every now and then, but with the right precautions, I won't have too much to worry about.
Jenna Webster, ACSM, ACE – Personal trainer specializing in empower busy women to live healthy and active lifestyles!”