Couch to 5K
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Back on track!

After 2 weeks on the Injury couch I've just completed W6R1. Again. I'd got up to W8R1 before, but I figured it'd be a good idea to go back to the last set of intervals in the plan rather than go all out and properly screw up my knee.

And it was great- no pain!

Nursing a bout of Runners Knee was singly the most unexpected and frustrating experience since starting this plan and I count myself fortunate it was only two weeks. I've read others experiences with this and there will almost certainly be some who may yet develop this embuggerment, but this is what I did to treat it:

*STOP RUNNING! The temptation is to carry on in the hope it will just 'go away'. This is probably the hardest thing to do particularly if, like me, you're really enjoying the programme, feeling the benefits and are keen to get that 5K under your belt! But trust me, by stopping running you are already well under way to recovering.

*STRAP IT UP. I used a tubigrip doubled up over the knee joint. The support it gave my knee immediately helped make it more comfortable. I used this with Ibuprofen gel twice a day which eased the muscular pain and helped reduce any swelling. I took it off overnight as it was pretty tight!

*REST. Although I have a very sedatory job I do cycle to work (about 1.5 miles which I tend to do 4 times per day). I used a lower gear so as to not exert any pressure on the joint and through the day I rested my leg on the top of the pc under my desk!

*ICE: I read ice packs greatly help with this condition and I have two gel packs which we keep in the freezer. I applied a pack 3 times a day for 10 minutes. Wearing a tubigrip meant I wasn't applying it directly to the skin either which meant I got the benefit of the cold without developing frostbite!

*Go see your GP. Just to be on the safe side it's always worth seeking professional advice in case there is some other underlying cause. In my case I had aggravated the condition as I figured it would just go away (see point 1) and continued to run on it for at least 6 sessions before conceding that the pain was actually getting worse.

So I guess this all falls within the RICE protocol, and this certainly did the trick for me. I'm taking it steady and may leave a few extra days in between runs to begin with. I'm also going to continue with the ice packs after running for a bit just to be extra sure.

I'm greatly relieved to be able to return to the pavement pounding and I hope that anyone else suffering from this for the first time like me can gain some insight into combatting it.

All the best, and keep at it!

2 Replies

Well done on getting back to it Kick, hope the knee continues to behave , Some sound advise having been on the IC for quite a while and now returned with a Knee problem. I know exactly how it feels, so frustrating ,the secret is stay positive no matter what , do any exercises that you have been given to do religiously and you will be back running sooner rather than later and stronger .. just have to ease back in gently :)


I've just recently read something on how ligaments self-repair, which might be of interest.

1. Inflamation Phase 3-6 days (and part of what we do is go for "controlled inflamation"?)

2. Repair Phase 3-6 days. Type 3 collagen is laid down. It's amorphous, and not terribly strong.

3. Remodelling Phase -- Up to a Year. That Type 3 collagen is converted to the more "fibrous" Type 1.

The more I think about it, the more I realise that in principle the first goal of any exercise programme is to "first" build connective tissues, and each individual's training has to be adapted to this top priority. I don't think there's been much research on how to do that, though. The most visible effects are from muscle training, so that's the emphasis, and actually it's jumping the gun.

It's partly because of this that I'm coming round to agreeing so much more strongly with the "slow down from slow" approach to c25k. If you're going slow, you're in control, and if you're in control, you'll be doing small scale damage to your connective tissues. (And you have to damage them). All speculative, but it looks like there might be some basis for this.


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