Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Recovering from Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome: The Left Knee Edition

In my short running career, I have received (earned? accumulated?) the following running injuries that halted my training:

Injury
Result
Stress fracture (fibula)
Walking Cast. Ended high school freshman year cross-country season.
Torn quadriceps
Ended high school freshman year track season.  I did not train for a running race until I started training for my first half-marathon about 16 years later.
Stress fractures (foot bones)
Soft cast. Ended training for my first half-marathon.
Nearly ruptured Achilles tendon
Walking brace. Luckily happened after my first half-marathon and (only) marathon.
Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome (a.k.a. runner’s knee) in right knee
Ended training for my first ultramarathon.
Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome in left knee
Ending training for general trail running/hiking.

I’m slowly recovering from my latest bout of knee pain. With the help of some PT exercises to strengthen a very specific part of my glutes, I’m running about three times a week, five miles at a time with no knee pain! I keep track of my workouts and paces, and I have definitely seen an improvement.

I missed running, and I’m thrilled to be building mileage again, but it’s discouraging to have my progress halted with each injury. It feels like I’m starting from scratch each time, even though I have kept up my fitness level through swimming.

Usually, it takes me at least three miles to warm up and feel good during my run. I haven’t quite gotten back to the point of feeling good—it’s all a struggle. My body feels heavy and slow, and I can feel that I’m not running as well as I had before my injury. With more training, I know that I’ll get back to feeling good again, but this in-between stage is frustrating. I want to push harder because I want to get faster, but I don’t want to push so hard that I get injured again.

I also have to consider my running goals. Do I want to train for the Ironmaster’s 50K again and hope I stay healthy and uninjured? Or do I just want to use running as cross-training to supplement my swimming goals? Or run to build strength/endurance for multi-day hikes? 


For now, I’m just going to slowly build mileage, keep up with my PT exercises, and see what happens in a few more weeks. 

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