Back in 2011 whilst training for my first marathon, I was struck with ITB issues, also known as Runner’s Knee. I did what any sensible new runner would do when faced with the news that their 4 months of training was for nothing, and I stopped running (and exercising) completely. I hung up my trainers for 9 months and sat on the sofa…until it was time to train again for that deferred marathon place.
Instead of just running this time, I added in some cross training to my workout plan, and roped in a friend to complete the London Marathon. I had no knee issues that time round and finished the marathon promising I would run faster the next time.
And there has been a next time, and another three after that.
However, despite more sensible training the ITB issue is back. After months of intermittent knee pain I finally went to a specialist who referred me for an MRI and X-Rays, thinking I may have torn my meniscus (which would require keyhole surgery). Luckily/unluckily it turns out it is the return of Iliotibial band syndrome.
ITB syndrome occurs when the iliotibial band, the ligament that runs down the outside of the thigh from the hip to the shin, is tight or inflamed. The IT band attaches to the knee and helps stabilize and move the joint. When the IT band isn’t working properly, movement of the knee (and, therefore, running) becomes painful.
This issue sidelined me completely back in 2011, but this time around I am determined not to let that happen. Of course my first point of contact was super coach Kerry, who sent me a link to Runner’s World (always trying to plug his own site!) although it did have some useful information.
Rest is key here apparently, so even though it didn’t hurt running 8 miles a few weeks ago, it wasn’t doing much good either. I’ve cut my runs right down, and am sticking mostly to one 3 miler a week, and one weights/treadmill class a week. Other low impact exercises are good to keep fitness levels up, especially swimming and spinning. Tom’s flat in Cardiff is a short walk from the International Pool there so on Saturday morning instead of jogging to parkrun I found myself in my sportiest looking bikini and goggles, splashing up and down.
As for spinning/cycling, my current fave studio is Ride Republic, so I’ve booked into my 3 ClassPass sessions as well as signing up for a few classes at Core Collective. Other workouts that you might want to include are pool running, and rowing.
In addition to cardio exercise, I’m working with my friend and PT Alex on a weekly basis on moves and exercises that will help strengthen my glute max and gluteus medius/minimus – more of which I’ll share in future.
Perhaps you remember a few weeks ago I alluded to some fun news that I had to share, well that was that I had been given a London Marathon spot with Lucozade (one of the main sponsors). I’m still hoping I’m going to make the start line, but I’m not going to be silly about it, and if it will be too painful or do some real damage, then I won’t run. Fingers crossed that won’t be the case, but my first priority is rehabbing my knee to make it stronger for the future!
I know this injury is very common, so I’ll be sharing more about my recovery and rehab along the way. Have you ever had any running related injuries?