Knee rehab strategy

It’s been about two weeks since I accepted the fact that I was dealing with a case of runner’s knee, and that I was going to have to chill the heck out on running for awhile. I started doing intervals on the elliptical trainer to get my heart rate up, and had a daliance with my on-again off-again relationship with strength training. It was definitely better than sitting on the couch, but I still pined away for a good therapy session run – no matter how short or slow it may be.

A few days ago, I realized that I was walking down the stairs like a normal person, and that my knee no longer had weird grindy feelings as I walked. I started to think that a bit of slow jogging was in order, and so yesterday I jogged for about ten minutes during my cardio session, at a very slow 12:30/mm pace. It felt amazing, but I made myself stop after ten minutes and finished my workout on the elliptical. When I got home, I immediately took some Advil and iced my problem-child knee.

Today, I decided to do Week 1 of my beloved (and highly recommended!) Couch-To-5K running program. I dug out Robert Ullrey’s free podcasts that were so helpful when I was “learning” to run in the summer of 2009. Since this is an interval workout with generous walking breaks in between the run segments, I “pushed” my pace up just under the 11/mm mile mark and again, felt okay.

This was very, very encouraging. 🙂

My goal this week is to run 15 minutes without stopping to walk, and if that feels okay, increase to 20 minutes later in the week. Always icing and taking Advil (as needed) after every workout. I can’t believe that I ran over 2 hours just a few weeks ago and now I’m excited about running 10 minutes, but injury does give one a new perspective.

2011 Girlfriends Half Marathon

The 8-ish mile mark. Note the lack of knee strap. Bad, bad, Cheryle.

In addition to increasing running time very gradually, my rehab plan also includes:

-Taking a supplement called Celadrin that is supposed to be more effective than glucosamine. Although I’m a skeptic, especially when it comes to “snake oil” type stuff, the reviews on Amazon are very encouraging for this product. Plus, at $17 it’s a pretty low risk investment. I’m going to take a double dose for the first week as the label suggests, and then back off to two capsules a day and see how it goes.

-ALWAYS wearing my patella strap when I do any form of exercise, even weights. It helps to keep the knee cap in place, and I have noticed a difference in how my knee feels after a run when I wear it. I wore it during my first half-marathon and my knee was fine, but neglected to wear it during my second half-marathon and that’s when the trouble started.

-ALWAYS icing after every workout, no matter how ridiculous it may seem to ice after 40 minutes on the elliptical. I just do it.

-Paying more attention to strength training. As much as I luuuuurrrrvvvveeeeeee my cardio, I realize that strong muscles are not only attractive, but key to reducing the risk of injury – especially for us old people.

-Staying the course with my healthy eating. Ignore the siren song of Talenti Sea Salt Caramel Gelato for as long as possible.

As disappointing as it is to not be able to run the Give-n-Gobble 10K on Thanksgiving morning (and try for a course PR) I know my patience will eventually be rewarded and I’ll emerge healthier and hopefully, a stronger and better runner.

Yes. I. Can.

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2 responses to “Knee rehab strategy

  1. Injuries suck. I know how frustrating that can be. My injuries are usually foot/ankle things. It seems about twice a year I either twist my ankle (did it last Thursday as a matter of fact) or bash a toe to the point of breakage or severely limping for awhile. And it seems there’s no quick way to heal. It sounds like you’ve got the medicinal fixes figured out for your knee. Keep it up! You look great!!

  2. Yep, injuries blow, big time. I hope your foot gets better soon too!

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