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Couch to 5k and My Past Knee Injury - Help =(

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Okay, so I don't want to sound like a whiner. But unfortunately I'm kind of sad about this.

I started the Couch to 5k plan. I made it through the first week just fine. I made it through the first two days of the second week just fine. About two hours after the second week's second day's workout (Day 5), my knee started to hurt.

I hurt my knee pretty bad when I was 16 and had to go to a physical therapist for a while. He didn't really have a medical term for it, but explained that my cartiladge wears down a lot more than most people's, and working out aggravates it rather than helps it. I looked it up and it sounds a lot like runner's knee. Sometimes a part of my knee clicks into a different spot than it should be and I have to rotate it (sort of like when you do a hula hoop, but my knee as the center) to pop it back into place.

Today was Day 6, and I pushed through for most of it. I had two running sequences left, and on the second to last the pain in my knee got to be so bad that I couldn't take it anymore, so I bumped the speed down. I did a very brisk walk for the last run. I usually jog about 5 mph for the runs, so I knocked it down to 4 for the last run.

I know I need to rest my knee this weekend, but I'm so bummed out. I really haven't been overdoing it, just 2.5 mph on the walk sequences and 5 mph on the runs, an incline of 1. I do a warmup on 2.5 mph and a cooldown on 2 mph.

Can anyone recommend a way that I can keep doing this without pain? I really don't want to "push through the pain" or take pain pills - I want to fix it. I don't want to be running on something that's truly injured. I want it to feel better.

Can anyone recommend a place where they will fit me for better running shoes that won't cost a ton of money? I really can't spend more than $35 on them, but they have to help this pain out.

If all else fails, can anyone recommend a program for another sort of exercise that will get my heart rate up like C25K does, and give me a goal, but isn't the shock to my knee of running? I've been looking for stationary bike or real bike programs but I'm not sure where to look for beginners transitioning into experts. I have a really nice real bike, a Haro, that I bought when I had money. I'd love to use it but don't know what to do or how to build up to it.

I'm so sad. Any help is loved. Thanks.

8 Replies (last)

 Push through the pain is dreadful advice anyway. Pain is your body's way of telling you to knock it off with whatever it is you're doing ;)

 You can try going to the Running room to get advice about what sort of shoes you need and see if they've got that model on special over on And you can try the glucosamine/chondroitin-route (if you don't have GNC handy, Amazon has it) in addition to starting the Fit to Run program to strengthen your body for the impact of running.

 Your patellofemoral tracking issues could also be due to an understrength quad or a quad/hamstring imbalance - if so a program including plenty of stepups, static lunges and/or split squats will help but you kinda need to know if that's the case and before you set to work fixing the potential imbalance.

 Check out Paige's guidelines for beginner bike workouts for one suggestion to how you can build up your fitness from scratch ;)

I know how difficult it is to listen to your body.  Personally, I'm also training for my first 5k and I tried pushing through a flu...only to get worse and feel dreadful.  The same will happen with you.  If you keep pushing through your knee pain the situation will only get worse.

Here is my advice :

1) If possible see a doctor and see what they say.

2) Get glucosamine from a well known company. 

3) Get a good pair of runners - If there is a "Running Room" near you, go visit it.  Otherwise, buy a shoe that is meant for your foot.  ( ar/a/foottypes.htm)

4) Do some research on the internet.  I find articles on runnersworld to be very informative.  Maybe these links will help you 0,7156,s6-241-290-291-6899-0,00 .html?toolName=What%20Hurts?,7120,s6-241-285--11917-0,00.h tml


Finally.......STRETCH!!!!  I only stretch at the end of a work out since stretching cold muscles can cause tears.  You can also warm up for about 10 minutes then stretch before the run. 

Wow, thanks for the help! I never would have thought to try glucosamine. I used to work at a pharmacy, and all the "old people" would buy it, and they loved it, but not how expensive it was. It just never occured to me that I could take it too, at 18. =D Maybe I'll give it a shot the next time I get paid. I know Rite Aid has some, because that's where I worked - they have a pretty well-stocked GNC section at a lot of stores.

I love the Fit to Run article and the What Hurts?. I'm pretty sure after looking at it now that I have osteoarthritis. Especially whichever article it was that said that an injury can trigger it. It did start with an injury, and it's that same sort of pain. But I probably have runner's knee a bit too, when I feel the sharp pain and my patella moves.

I'm also going to make finding the right shoes a priority.

I did like the beginning bike workout you mentioned, but does anyone know of a program like that that keeps going? Like the Couch to 5k starts out easy and works you up and up until you can run a 5k. Are there any stationary bike programs like that, or real bike programs? I really don't know what to do to get a good workout on my bike, and I barely know how to use it anyway, with the speeds and such. It's so new. But I really do love biking.


If you're having problems with your kneecap getting out of alignment, I'd highly recommend getting a knee brace. I have a very similar problem and owe my life to Mueller knee braces.  These two have been my favorite so far: ual_Action_Strap.htm er_Self_Adjusting.htm

I recommend you go find a physio therapist that specializes in sports medicine - it sounds like you may have the same issues I do, perhaps a bit more severe. Basically in lay terms when I bend my knee my knee cap doesn't track properly. I started having problems with this when I was in my teens too. It's quite comon for women to have this type of problem because of our hips being wider. To resolve the problem you need to strengthen the muscles around the knee cap - a physio can show you the exact exercises you need to do. These muscles will not strenghten just through running itself, you need to do the specific exercises.

Do not run through the pain! Cross train with the bike on a 2:1 ratio to keep up with your training program (if you're supposed to run/walk for 20 minutes then bike for 40). You could also try aqua jogging, but you may have the same problem since it's the movement, not the impact that is likely causing the strain.

You can over come this problem and run, you just need to be very careful and do everything your physio tells you to do!

pushing through pain like that = not a good idea. When I was 16 I started running and didn't do much weight lifting. I began to have pain in my right knee and i pushed through it to the point where I could barely walk when I got off the treadmill. I went to a specialist who did an ultra sound on my knee after that and turns out I had a baker's cyst. No idea how it formed because I didn't have a prior inquiry. This time around I started exercising with a good base of strength training first before hitting the treadmill. When i put in running, there were a couple days it was aggravated but nothing like before. I backed off on it when it happened. Now I never have it flair up. I know it's a dif problem but seeing a specialist and strengthening your muscles should help put you on the right track.

Also on days it was bothering me I hit up the elliptical or cross trainer. You can get your heart rate up there too with less knee stress then pounding pavement or treadmill!

I suggest that you give running a break.  I had knee surgery when I was in college and it prevented me from working out.  When I started back I could not fight throug the pain.  My physical therapist suggested that I use the eliptical trainer.  I found this useful because I could still get my heart rate up with increased speeds but did not have the impact of running on the treadmill since your feet always have contact with eliptical.  If that doesnt work you could try biking.  I would also take 2 aleive 30min before working out to battle some of the inflamation that causes your pain.  Good luck and stay can get through this!!!!

I looked around at one of the recommended websites about what sort of shoes to wear, and picked out some at Big 5 that felt good and had support where it was recommended.

I got a thin stabilizing knee brace I can wear. When I hurt my knee I wore a brace for quite some time. My physical therapist told me I probably liked to wear it because it also kept my knee warmer, loosening up the muscles.

I will force myself to stretch for longer periods and not work through pain.


8 Replies