A query for Eric. I'm trying to stay positive about this knee pain that's stopped me running, and I'm trying to address it by figuring out what is wrong with my run form. In The CI, there's a list of Common Run Form Mistakes, and I'm wondering if my knee pain, tight IT band and tight hip flexors are the result of being a "bender". Just to clarify, is a "bender" someone who runs with excessively bent legs (that do straighten with take-off), or someone who never straightens their legs at all?

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Comment by Karen Blackert on March 11, 2014 at 4:30am

I was kind of thinking the same thing- I was going to try alternating biking and running next week and had thought about starting halfway into Phase 1 after that. I'm with you, I don't want to go back to the beginning; but I will have to see how my body does in those first few runs, since my problem was in my foot- I certainly don't want to aggravate things! Keep us posted on your progress!

Comment by Paul Weeks on March 10, 2014 at 2:17pm

Hi Karen. Thanks for the good wishes! I've decided to keep at the knee therapy stuff for another week/ten days, then try some cautious exploratory running to see how it holds up, then maybe redo the last 6 weeks of Phase 1. What do you think? I don't want to go all the way back to the beginning, but I must have lost fitness in the last month, so maybe that will boost it a bit? And then (cue drum roll...).... Phase 2...?

Comment by Karen Blackert on March 10, 2014 at 12:15pm

Paul, I've dealt with something very similar! In fact, I finished Phase 1 5 weeks ago and haven't done any regular running since then. Lots of biking, though. I have the exact same question- where do I get back into the training plan? Glad to hear you figured your knee problem out. Best of luck getting back into it!

Comment by Paul Weeks on March 9, 2014 at 2:57am

So here's where it's at. My sore knee persisted, in spite of a)rest b)lots of specific exercises as discussed. We've all been there. Sheer frustration at having come so far (I finished the 12 week Phase 1), feeling so great... and unable to build on it. All that work ebbing away. All that fitness evaporating.

So I took myself to a physio. Best physio I've ever met. Very careful, methodical, forensic. Clued up on running form too, had read Born To Run (was very impressed when I mentioned my coach - you don't mind if I refer to you as my coach, Eric?), and was glad I wasn't doing any static stretching, etc. Was also impressed by my glutes - the slant board wins again!

So why does/did my knee hurt? Glutes fine. IT band OK (could be better, but not a problem), quads nice and stretchy.... but not much of them, on my left leg.  It wasn't tight quads, it was no quads! Turns out my medialis and lateralis are seriously under-developed, so my knee wasn't supported or tracking properly, so it hurt. That also explained my sore shin, the sore anterior medialis, because the muscle there was compensating for the weak quads and was overdeveloped and working too hard. Sorting the quads sorts the knee and sorts the shin.

So, I'm building quad strength. 4-8 weeks he reckoned for full recovery, but said it was fine to run, using any pain as an indicator of how much to do. And it's working already. Knee pain almost gone. More relieved that I can begin to describe...

So, next question, where do I go with the running? All the way back to the start of Phase 1? Ignore the Phases altogether for 4-8 weeks as I build up the leg strength? Launch into Phase 2? I haven't run since February 16th, though I'm still rocking the fitball, acing the slant board, and lunging like a lunatic.

Plus the sun has finally come out in England! It's been a good week....

Comment by Lori Enlow on February 28, 2014 at 7:47am
Im following along too Paul! I have similar issues my friend...
Comment by Paul Weeks on February 27, 2014 at 3:30pm

I hope other people are finding this thread as interesting and useful as I am.

So, here's a follow up question on the run form. I completely buy the explanation for the problem.

But what do I do to resolve the bent leg issue itself? I can see how hills and stairs and lunges activate the glutes, but I don't see how these also stop me bending and therefore still putting excess strain on my quads.

I'm also wondering if riding my bike is exacerbating things (coz that's lots of work for the quads!).

ps the fitball lunge is just amazing - it's like turning a switch that turns off the quads, turns on the glutes, and relaxes the hip flexors (that's what it feels like, anyway)

Comment by Eric Orton on February 24, 2014 at 11:29am

Ha, just curious, as I see many barefoot runners and very minimal runners making the mistake of just running with their "ankles" and spinning their legs with bent knees.

So, lets nail this thing.  I really think the hills will help, and right now it might be best to take 1-2 weeks of short runs, with 2-3 days doing very short hill sprints.  And see how this helps the IT.

I would also go back and read the strength and form chapters again, as there might be some subtle details you missed that NOW might be a bigger detail based on what you have going on.

Keep me posted my friend

Comment by Paul Weeks on February 24, 2014 at 11:17am

Ah, the running profile is me taking my Vibram 5 fingers for a rare outing. I completed Phase 1 in a pair of Brooks PureFlows. That was going to my next question!

Really appreciate this feedback, Eric - many thanks - if nothing else, it's stopping me getting depressed about not running!

Comment by Eric Orton on February 24, 2014 at 9:08am

One more question, based on your profile picture, what type of shoes are you typically running in?

Comment by Eric Orton on February 24, 2014 at 9:02am

You might also be leaning over a little at the waist. Remember, there is no lean, open up at the hips and lead with them - just like being pulling along by a rope tied to your waist.

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