Playing it by Knee

Bad news: My magic pill = New Shoes did not prevent my knee from hurting on today’s short run :(

My knee has still been hurting me on every run, so I’m going to play the half marathon this weekend by “knee” – instead of by “ear”. I don’t want to make it worse, so I want to see how it feels on Friday before I decide whether I’m running or not.

The pain has not gotten any less over the last week. Today I did some research and suspect it is ITB Syndrome.

From the Time to Run website:

Symptoms: Initially, a dull ache 1-2 kilometers into a run, with pain  remaining for the duration of the run. The pain disappears soon after stopping running, later, severe sharp pain which prevents running pain is worse on running downhills, or on cambered surfaces pain may be present when walking up or downstairs.

Treatment: Stop running, especially in the case of severe pain if pain is mild, then reduce training load and intensity,  and avoid downhill running and running on cambered surfaces.
Take a course (5 – 7 days) of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs  (ibuprofen/voltaren/cataflam/mobic) available from your general practitioner or pharmacist.
Apply ice to the knee (for 10minutes every 2 hours) in order to reduce the inflammation

Those are pretty much my symptoms and I think the cause is basically overuse from marathon training. Since the pain is not too bad right now, but I don’t want it to get worse I am considering laying off running before rather than after the half marathon. I didn’t really train for this race, but just signed up because I was in good enough shape to finish it and it’s the scene of my first marathon from last year :)

I will be very bummed if I have to bow out, but more bummed if I have to take six weeks off running or something like that!

Before my attempted run this morning I had a small bowl of cereal. Then, I did 3 miles on the treadmill. The plan was to do 4 miles, but my knee started hurting around 1.5 miles and kept hurting all the way through. I didn’t’ stop immediately because I wanted to get a good sense of where the pain is and how to describe it so I could diagnose it.

I iced it while making breakfast…see the goosebumps?

and ate a banana with almond butter too.

Breakfast was soyrizo with a wrap used as a tortilla :)

No fork needed – just tear,  grab and eat!

Now I’m enjoying some cherries whilst blogging. I may or may not have eaten 2 pounds of cherries in 2 days.

And to Emily – yes, I buy a big bag of brussels from Costco. I’ve seen them at the farmer’s market in CA when they’re in season too. I tried to freeze them myself one time (pre-cooking) and they smelled so gross, I don’t know if that works.

I  just took one ibuprofen and am hoping that will help with inflammation.

I don’t want to get all Chicken Little on you, but if I can’t run I do feel like “The sky is falling!!!”


  1. barefooter says

    I had severe knee pain when running. I almost became crippled after my first 1/2 marathon. It got so bad I went to an orthopedic surgeon and considered surgery. I couldn’t run 100 feet without the pain. Instead, I just gave it up and 10 years later I weighed in at 278 lbs. 6 months ago, I decided to find a way to run. I read up on sites like and decided to try running barefoot.

    Long story short, I’ve lost 30 lbs and running 15-20 miles a week. I have not had any, zero, zilcho knee pain since I learned barefoot running. I suggest you give it a look, or if totally barefoot scares you, try minimalist shoes like Vibram Five Fingers. Although, you will get better feedback if your barefoot. Check out the website above for how and why to run barefoot.

    Also, this month a report on barefoot running was just released by a Harvard researcher. Check it out at:

  2. says

    My knee’s been bothering me a lot lately too. (Even when I only run a mile!) I’ve been icing before AND after runs to try to calm it down (only my right knee really gives me grief) and it sort of helps but not entirely. I’ve been thinking about investing in new shoes and a knee sleeve.

    I hope your knees start feeling better soon. Love the new shoes!!!

  3. Ashley C says

    Aw I hope your knee feels better! I know it sucks to take time off but I truly feel like that is the smartest thing to do when you feel pain otherwise I think it just gets worse.
    man, you’re making me crave cherries like crazy! I am the same way with grapes from costco- I eat about a pound or 2 a day… and I wish I was over exaggerating!!

  4. says

    Knee problems stink! I hope it gets better asap. Just rest a bit. I know it goes against all we stand for, but sometimes our bodies need it!!! 😉 I LOL’d about the 2 lbs of cherries line. I could eat them by the truckload!

  5. says

    Definitely foam roll! It will hurt but it’s so worth it. I’ve dealt with IT band pain for quite a while… *If* it is your IT band! I went to an orthopedist to get mine diagnosed (I thought I had runners knee initially). I got an anti-inflammatory (one Ibuprofen is not enough to reduce inflammation, you need something stronger and over a longer period) and he prescribed physical therapy. Best things for IT band are to stop running the second it hurts (sorry but it’s true), the pattstrap for prevention (, foam rolling, not running on consecutive days, not running on the treadmill, and stretching and strengthening the gluteus medius. I wrote a little bit about my experience here: The RW forums are also a good resource to get you started.

  6. Lauren says

    Thanks to this blog, I signed up for my first half-marathon. Come May 2 I’ll be grinning and striding (or huffing and puffing) around Pittsburgh. :) I have no advice for your knee aliments, I suffered from tendinitis when I ran Xcountry in HS–I unhealthily battled through it. Don’t do that.

  7. Erin says

    Do you stretch your IT band? I used to have the worst knee pain and I was running only 10-15 miles a week. I started strechtching it religiously and was able to complete the boston marathon pain-free.

  8. says

    My biggest advice: invest in a foam roller. I got this advice from my old PT (well the only one I had–i don’t need it anymore–he was amazing) and I swear by it.

    Hope your knee feels better! I think that taking some time off is a great idea.
    <3 jess

  9. says

    I’m so sorry about your knee injury :(

    Your statement I don’t want to get all Chicken Little on you, but if I can’t run I do feel like “The sky is falling!!!” resonates so much with me. I feel exactly the same way right now as I have chronic tendonitis in my left achilles and have gone from running 75 miles/week to virtually nothing. There really isn’t much worse than having the freedom to run taken away and I empathise/sympathise so much. I really, truly hope that it improves for you as soon as possible.



  10. says

    The barefoot runner at the top- there are more and more stories supporting the claim that running shoes are doing more harm than good, and barefoot is best. Have you seen the Vibrams? They have them at City Sports in baltimore…maybe the Dick’s in Columbia?
    In addition to the foam roller stuff, stretch a whole lot too…here’s some ideas
    I hope it feels better for you soon. Really awesome that you are listening to your body and treating it well :) kudos!

  11. says

    Oh yeah….ITB problems. I have had them before while marathon training. The advice you’ve gotten is spot on! Stop running, foam roll, stretching, rest. Try running, if it hurts, stop. I think the bike and elliptical might be OK (I did them with no problems with ITB and was able to run a marathon). Good luck!
    I’m injured myself–down nearly 2.5 weeks now and hopefully going to try again this weekend and see how my foot feels.

  12. says

    Fingers are really really crossed for you knee. About the anti-inflammatories however, when I first started taking them on my own for my knee problems, I was taking 2 pills 2x per day. Then the doctor told me that’ll do NOTHING to help with the inflammation. In order to help with inflammation, I was told to take the amount equivalent to prescription strength – 2400 mg per day (which came out to 4 pills 3x per day). Sounds like A TON. But I guess that’s the only way the anti-inflammatory properties will kick in.

  13. says

    Oh, Tay is RIGHT! My doctor told me the same thing. I’m on a 3 week regime of naprelan which is a prescription strength nonsteroid anti-inflammatory.
    However, you can get the same strength by doing just what she suggested. I’d consult your doctor, of course.
    Good luck! ITB issues are awful. Well, anything that keeps you from training is awful, agreed!
    The way I see it, February is probably the best month (on the East Coast) to be taking some time off, if you need to. Can you say HOLY SNOW !?! What is going on in DC/MD/VA, anyway???

  14. says

    I had IT band issues last spring. I stopped running and started biking for about 3-4 weeks. At first it seemed like an eternity but since the break I haven’t had an issue at all- even through the marathon last week. I can’t believe all the snow you’re getting up there! My family is going NUTS!

  15. Ella says

    one word about your knee – REST!!!

    I had the exact prob you describe when I was training for a half mary. It is extremely difficult to have the discipline to rest, extreeemely difficult, as it feels like it goes against a runner’s will and heart and happiness and very core of their being. But you must must must rest it or you will pay later!!

  16. says

    This sounds EXACTLY like what I experienced last summer. I went to PT for about six weeks and was good as new! I had an IT band issue and something else (can’t remember the term) and found that the reason behind it was actually weak hips believe it or not. The weakness in my hips was causing me to put extra strain on my right knee and it was hurting in almost exactly the same way you describe but ONLY when I ran. I def think you should check into PT if you haven’t already, I was SO relieved when I realized it was fixable and I wasn’t permanently damaged 😉

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