Dealing With Runner’s Knee and Other Past Injuries

Well, I’ve done it again. I’ve managed to give myself another injury caused by running.

Back in November, I suffered intense pain in my outer arch, but only when I ran. The culprit was a combination of two things. First, in my workouts I would run, and then ride the stationary bike. While riding, my calves had a tendency to cramp up. The problem with this is that tendons from your arches run up the back of your heel and into your lower calve muscle. So having tight calves, means tight tendons in your arches, which can easily become inflamed and cause a lot of problems. The second problem was I was running on old shoes. While I hadn’t put a whole lot of kilometers on my shoes,  they were about 3 years old and I had used them for cross training and weightlifting while I played football for the Bears. After replacing my shoes, taking about 2 weeks off, and continually doing calf stretches I was back to normal. I found the best time to do the calf stretches was while I was in the shower. The hot water helped them to relax, and instead of standing there like an idiot trying to wake up, I made the most out of my time.

In February, I suffered from a different kind of arch pain. This time it was on the inner arches and was a result of running a half marathon in slippery snow. My physiotherapist said it was a result of my toes clinching in my shoes for stability mixed with 21.1km of hard running. The pain was most prominent when I ran or if I went up on my tippy toes. To fix this, I did calf stretches and I used a tennis ball to roll out my arches. This hurt a fair amount, but it worked.

Now that those have gone away and I have begun to run longer distances at faster speeds more comfortably, I have self-prescribed myself with Runner’s knee. This site had a great set of tools to help do a basic diagnosis of what you might be suffering from. I am suffering from pain in the outer knee that goes away unless I am running. It normally really flares up over 10km. I found a good YouTube, posted below, that I’m going to follow to try and fix it. If not I guess I’m off to the physio again to help her pay for her trip to Paris.

Being just under 2 month’s out from the Fast Trax 30k Ultra Trail Run, I’m really hoping this goes away soon so I can get some good distance/speed training in.

Summer Race & Training Plans

This summer is sure to be a busy one between my summer internship, a part time web admin job, training, and racing. Oh yaa, and supposedly relaxation time. Anyways, I am gearing up for my first real season of endurance racing. So far I’ve put in 8 months of hard work and have another 1 month before my first real challenge. As it is my first real year of racing I’ve decided to really focus on my bike. This is where I believe I have the most potential to improve and really can add some major volume without hurting myself as I have already managed to do quite easily with swimming and running. The other reason why I am focusing on the bike is so I can attempt a half Ironman in the near future. I already know I can run a pretty solid half-marathon, and I can’t really swim any harder without re-injuring my shoulder, so making a 90km bike seem easy and short is by far the best option for this summer.

To make my bike better, I’ve joined ERTC. So far I haven’t been disappointed with the workouts. They offer interval work on Tuesdays, a hill night on Thursdays, and long rides on Saturdays and Sundays. My plan is to do Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturdays with them, and long Tri Club rides on Sundays with our club. 4 rides a week should be more than plenty to get me where I want to be.

I continue to keep making improvements with my swim. Since injuring my shoulder I have completed revamped my swim stroke to become more relaxed, rythmical, and more powerful all at the same time. I managed to beat my last PB which was 8:32s-400m which was in a 25m pool by 4 seconds(8:28s) in the Kinsmen 50m pool which is great. I did this while completely cutting out distance, speed, and cardio work and focusing solely on technique which is awesome feedback for my improving technique. Using the Swim Smooth website as I gude, I also found out today my Critical Swim Speed (CSS) today. CSS is an approximation of your lactate threshold speed or about what you should be able to hold for long distance swimming. My CSS is roughly 2:13/100m. Now that I know this, I can start to do sets at this pace to get used to swimming at my CSS which will push my threshold up so that I can swim faster, farther. The other good news is this is extremely slow and that there is tons of room for improvement.

Finally, my run feels as strong as always. I am becoming able to run long distances at high speeds, with lots of hills. From March 9th to April 9th I ran 104 miles as part of Strava & GU’s 100 000 mile challenge. I have been dealing with some knee pain on my left knee. So I have been trying to take it fairly easy.

So far for races, here is what I have planned:

1) Coronation Triathlon – May 27, 2012

1km swim – 26km bike – 8km run

This race is strange in terms of distance. My goal is to finish in a total time of (2:13s/100m x 1000m) + (26km/35km/h) + 8km x 4min/km = 22:10s + 45min + 32min + 3 minutes(transition) = ~1:42:00s. That being said, this is my first real triathlon so  as long as I finish under 1hr 45mins I will be satisfied.

2) Fast Trax 30km Ultra – June 16th, 2012

30 km of trail running

This should be an interesting run. I have never done a trail race let alone a 30 km run. I signed up for this race as motivation for run training. Once the trails start to dry up I will begin to do both long runs with trails and hill climbs mixed in. I’m not to sure what the course will be like yet, but my goal is to run sub 6min/km which would mean finishing in just under 3 hours. This would have been good enough for 3rd place in my age group last year.

3) Edmonton ITU – July 8th, 2012

1.5km swim- 40km bike – 10km run

Edmonton is hosting the national championships this year for the Triathlon Canada at Sprint and Olympic distances. This means that the top 10 finishers from each age group will qualify to represent Team Canada at the Triathlon Age Group World Championships. This is my A race, or most important race of the year for me. My goal is to finish top 10 in my age group although this will be a real challenge. The biggest obstacle will include this being my first open water race swim, although it’s in Hawrelak pond which is about 4.5 feet deep and also that my swim is really slow. Also, this will be my first Olympic distance triathlon.

My goal is to finish in a time of (2:13/100m x 1500m) + (40km/35km/h) + (4:10min/km x 10km) = 33:15 + 1:09:00 + 41:40 + 3min(transition) = ~ 2:27:00

Again, as it is my first real open water swim, a hilly bike course, and a crowded run, I will still be satisfied with anything below 2:30:00.

After ITU I have no set plans. I might throw in another Triathlon, perhaps the Edmonton Derby Half-Marathon, or something else. I really want to try out cyclo-cross racing as well. I feel like it will really help me build power for the next biking season and will help make me a more proficient rider.