A blog by runners. For runners.

Sticking with Marathon Training Despite Knee Injury

This blog post is by our guest blogger, Lauren Reed. She recently started training for her first marathon. Last week she introduced herself and talked about her running experience. This year she had to stop training for the Chicago Marathon in the middle of her training season due to a knee injury. Now she is undergoing treatment for her knee and is determined to experience the emotions of finishing a marathon despite this injury!

44 days. That is all that stands between me and my first marathon. As a fellow runner said, this is when it gets real. It feels like all I do is eat, sleep, run, work and cross-train. I'm loving it, though. Having to pull out of the Chicago Marathon halfway through training was heartbreaking and it makes me all the more appreciative of every single run.

The past few weeks have been sort of a blur as far as my running goes. Two weekends ago I had a 14 mile run on my training schedule. I joined about fifty other members of my local running club at the Middle Half Marathon. This was my first race since April. I had missed five weeks of long runs with my knee injury and had only gotten in one longish run recently, so I was very apprehensive going into this race. I told myself that I would just treat it as a training run and not go for a PR. At the same time, I knew it would be really hard for me to be on the course with so many of my friends and not push myself. I actually almost didn't do the race for that reason. I didn't want to further injure myself by pushing too hard and didn't trust myself to take it slow if that is what my body needed.

Well, I am so glad I decided to go for it because it was my favorite race experience to date. The course was flat and weather was perfect. There were only 2,500 runners. What really made this race special was all of the support from Nolensville Running Club. There were more than 40 of us running the race. The course had couple different out and backs, so even though the group had a variety of paces running, from several Boston Qualifiers to first-time half marathoners, it felt like we were all together on the course. I never went more than a few minutes without another member of NRC cheering me along. We also had several folks that weren't running that day come out to cheer at various points. The support for each other was unreal. I really didn't know what I was capable of as far as time. This was my fourth half-marathon. My previous PR was 2:15. That was before I had done any marathon training, but I also wasn't injured.

I knew I was a stronger runner for this race, but I also didn't know how much my knee would slow me down. I did a quick warm-up jog before the race started. I made it about six miles without any knee pain. By mile eight, it was pretty bad, but the race day adrenaline kicked in and I was able to just focus on finishing. This is where it gets really cool. Normally by mile ten I am over it. I just want the race to be over and I question why I do this to myself. I play little mind games to take my mind off my aching, tired legs. During the last mile of the Tom King Half Marathon last March, I repeated the ABCs over and over in my head! I kept waiting for that feeling to hit, but before I knew it, the stadium was in sight and I was at mile 12.5. I felt amazing.

Yes, my knee hurt, but considering I haven't run without knee pain in eight weeks, that was to be expected. I couldn't stop smiling as I ran into the stadium and around the track. I finished feeling strong. I felt like I had at least another five miles in me. For the first time ever, 26.2 didn't seem so crazy. In fact, it seemed within reach. I am not scared of the marathon distance anymore. I am excited. My time was 2:12, so I ended up getting a PR by three minutes and met my more important goal of not pushing myself and jeopardizing my end goal  the Rocket City Marathon! I love the half marathon distance and have decided that following the marathon, my next big goal is to go sub-two hours.

The following week, I had a sixteen mile training run on the schedule for Saturday. I went to a concert the night before and only got about four hours of sleep, which I would not recommend! I met some of my friends from Nolensville Running Club at a Crockett Park. I would say bright and early, but it wasn't bright at all. Good thing Steve brought a headlamp! We took off into the dark, wooded trail at 6:00 a.m. and joked that this is how some really bad horror flicks begin. The first eight miles seemed to fly by. It was a bit chilly, but I will take that over heat any day! My knee was hurting but it wasn't unbearable. When the sun came up, I quickly realized what a beautiful day it was. If you haven't experienced fall in Tennessee, you are missing out! I just kept thinking how lucky we are to have this gorgeous backdrop for our training. Around mile eleven, we stopped back at the parking lot to meet another runner and I ended up stopping for about five minutes while we waited and refueled. This is where things started to get tough.

My knee had been aggravating me before we stopped but it wasn't to the point where it was slowing me down. As soon as we started back up, it was almost unbearable. It hurt to put weight on my left leg. For a split second I almost called it a day, but changed my mind. As we got going, it felt a bit better but the rest of the run was fairly miserable. Thank goodness for Shawn, Joanne and Steve for the first several miles, Amy for the middle few and Shannon for the last mile. They got me through this run. Lesson learned  no more stopping for me! Even with the knee issue, this was a great run. I'm so grateful for good weather, great scenery and fantastic training partners.

My mid-week training runs have been going well. To celebrate Halloween, NRC decided to run through town in costume for our Wednesday night run. I think I laughed the entire time. I was a runaway bride and I ran with the tooth fairy, a witch and SpongeBob SquarePants. Our Wednesday runs are always a blast, but this was one for the books!

I start a series of Euflexxa injections in my knee next week. I have heard that it has worked wonders for other runners, so I have very high hopes! I'm also upping the sessions with my personal trainer to twice a week to really focus on strengthening my core and quads. Even though my knee still hurts, I do see a difference in my running from strength training. My IT band pain has bothered me off and on for a long time, but I rarely have any trouble with it now, and I can tell my endurance is stronger.

I have eighteen miles scheduled for this weekend. It will be my longest run yet. I'm really excited to hit a new training milestone.

Have a great week!


Comment below with any tips or questions you have for Lauren! Are you training for your first marathon? Check out the WalkJogRun GPS app! It is an excellent training coach to get you through your runs!