Monday, October 03, 2016

The Knee

When I first realised that this knee issue wasn't just going away overnight, I almost had a meltdown. I like to think of myself as a rather grounded and rational person but the thought of an injury 4 weeks before the Euros was a bit too much to bear. Even in the best case scenario I would be missing a good chunk of training and the last thing I wanted was to start yet another ultra in sub-optimal shape.

Anyway, by Thursday morning I knew this was already getting better and the coach told me to keep running, albeit at a much lower mileage than originally planned. The workouts last week were all scrapped and replaced with a few miles of easy running. I looked at the bright side and reckoned it was a good way to dial into 24 hrs pace.

As far as I can tell, running does not aggravate the injury, at least not running at low intensity for an hour or less. The knee feels a bit stiff at the start but settles after a while and there is no additional stiffness afterwards. However, as it turns out, there is one thing that does aggravate the stiffness, and that is sitting in a car for 4 hours when driving to Dublin. That's what I had to do on Saturday morning and when I got to Dublin it felt quite bad again, I did a run to shake out the legs and bought another knee strap in Dublin, and the next day it was fine again. I made sure to wear my knee strap on the drive back home on Sunday evening and that went much better,

The big news is that I think I know what caused the problem in the first place! When I ran the marathon in Tralee last Saturday, I did not have a table for my nutrition so I simply placed it all on the ground, That meant that I had to bend over to the ground almost every 2 laps, about 15 times in all, while running a marathon. My best guess is that this put a bit too much pressure on the knees. I almost got away with it but running for 3 hours on Sunday obviously proved to be too much.

There's nothing I can do to change it but it's a case of lesson learned. Obviously there is no way to be 100% sure that my theory is correct but I'm reasonably certain. It would mean there is no big underlying problem like weak hamstrings or a wrong gait, which comes as a relief. With the knee improving steadily left on my own devices I would ramp up the mileage a lot more but the coach is much more cautious. It basically means I'm on a 4 week taper, which is unlikely to be a big problem. The Euros are most definitely still on!

30 Sep
4 miles, 39:23, 9:50 pace, HR 131
31 Sep
3+ miles, 28:56, 9:18 pace, HR 131
1 Oct
6 miles, 54:29, 9:03 pace, HR 135
2 Oct
8 miles, 1:11:58, 8:58 pace, HR 133


  1. Bending down for drinks/food many times in a marathon sounds like a good candidate for stressing the knees in odds ways. Amazing how simple things can cause problems. Glad to hear the knee is improving.

  2. Good that you figured out the cause and that it's not a serious issue. Hopefully you can resume normal training before long.