As a longtime marathoner, completing 33 full marathons (26.2 miles); one of the most popular questions I am asked is, “How are your knees?” It is believed that running destroys your knees and causes future issues, which could not be further from the truth.
But since this is a popular myth, most non-runners view distance runners like myself as someone who causes a great deal of stress on the body. Pounding the pavement daily seems like it would cause duress on your joints. Several joint doctors weigh in on the truth to bring this myth to a reality to help you understand the countless number of runners that continue to put in miles with lots of smiles, like myself.
Running does not bring on Arthritis
Forget all the lies you have been told or overheard because running will not cause arthritis. It is mere coincidence when people develop arthritis because this has nothing to do with the sport of running but simply age. Arthritis is something people often develop as they age.
If anything, running will slow down the time until you develop this because it helps to lubricate the joints! Personally, I feel like I can move so much easier after a run!
Running when injured does not cause damage to your knee
If you have a minor injury and your knees bother you, this does not mean you should not run. In fact, running can help you by helping to strengthen your hamstrings, quadriceps and core. This will help you to decrease your pain in your knee and may help you to feel much better. The only way you should not run is if the pain increases when you run.
Training safely takes longer than most realize
If you want to train for a 5K, doing so properly takes time.
There are numerous free training programs you can find online to help you to get there. Just make sure you take your time and build your strength gradually. It is a process but if you follow the plan and stay on track, you will be race ready and may even strengthen your joints in the process. Your knees will thank you with a pain-free life!
Rest days are important to safeguard your knees
Rest days are an integral part of training that help speed up your recovery. This is something that people should not take lightly because it will not only increase your strength but also give you a better chance of staying active in the long run. A rest day does not have to be a day of doing absolutely nothing, in fact resting can double as active recovery by shifting gears and cross training with a bike ride, swim or any other activity. This will also give your muscle fibers time to heal from running. Not to mention it will keep you running stronger for longer!
Choose the right surface
Running on the right surface is one of the most important safety guards of running. Concrete is too hard on the body and can cause stress on the knees. When possible, run on a track, asphalt, trails or even a treadmill. This will help lower the blow to the body as you strike your feet against the ground in a run.
Be smart and choose the right surface for your body!
The kind of runner you are matters
If you over-pronate as you run, you are greatly increasing your risk of an injury because you are essentially pounding your body with every strike of the foot. People with flat feet often over pronate and for this reason they are more likely to have knee and lower back issues.
Technique is important for running and can seriously save you from injury. As a personal trainer, I have trained many clients in the proper way to run and this can help tremendously to prevent you from being sidelined!
Don’t just run
Avoiding knee pain is a choice, and it all begins in the steps you take daily—so don’t just run. Sole runners are runners that take part in no other training than their runs. Integrate strength training in your routine with body weight exercises like lunges, squats, pushups and the plank. The stronger you become, the less impact running will have on your joints. This will help you with an extra spring in your step while helping prevent an injury!
Find the best shoes for you
Just because there is a latest craze over the newest, highly-marketed running shoes does not mean they are the right shoes for you. Some of this process may be trial and error but once you find the right shoe, stick with it. I replace my shoes every 300 miles but I usually stick with the same model and brand. You can head to a local running store to have a specialist help you with this.
I promise you it will make a world of difference in how you feel when you are running and after.
Shed light on the myth that running causes knee pain. Follow these tips to keep your running routine flawless and painless. Happy running, hope to see you out there!