Running is bad for your health

4:40 pm home, running

As some have noticed, I’ve been running for the past few months, training for a marathon at the end of April.

Since I started running, I have had a series of injuries – Achilles tendon from running uphill, a tendonitis in the groin from not stretching my hamstrings and adductors enough, and now, ITBS.

It’s another tendonitis which you get from running too long on a slanted surface, or poor posture during running, or pronation in your gait. Not sure which I did, although the doctor said I was fairly straight and he didn’t see any pronation, so it could be hip rotation, worn shoes, or just not changing footpath often enough.

The long & short of it is that whenever I run more than 10 or 15 minutes, I get knee pain. It’s nothing major, but it can take weeks to treat properly, so the chances are I’ll have to say goodbye to my marathon this time around… I am not giving up quite yet, but it’s not looking good.

Anyone reading this ever recovered from ITBS (syndr├┤me de l’essuie glace, ou tendinite du tenseur du fascia-lata en fran├žais) within 6 weeks of running a marathon? If so, what’s your secret?

11 Responses

  1. David Schleef Says:

    It sounds like you need to spend more time stretching your IT band. If it is too tight, it causes the knee to move incorrectly, causing knee pain after 10-15 minutes of running.

    Of course, every time you get this pain, you run the risk of damaging your knee, so as soon as the pain starts, *walk* home, put ice on it, and take your favorite ibuprofin-like substance to decrease inflammation. This will allow it to heal faster so you can avoid dropping miles to 0. And, of course, stretch your IT band before and after running running as well as daily when you don’t run.

  2. Carl Bolduc Says:

    Hi, I feel sorry for you. I experienced the same thing last summer, I was training for the half-marathon and had to let go after one month of training because of knee pain.

    I think that I will shoot for the 10 km next year, since running more than one hour is just too much pain for me.

  3. Bo Jordan Says:

    I had serious tendonitis problems during my first year or so of running. My muscles and cardiovascular system got stronger much faster than my tendons, and I had a number of painful ankle issues. After slowing down my progress and keeping it up for a few more years, I’m now able to easily train for marathons without causing any significant inflammation.

    I haven’t followed your progress, so I don’t know if this is valid advice, but what I usually tell people is that a marathon is an attractive goal, especially if you have the cardiovascular endurance, but starting smaller and running a lot of half marathons and letting your joints strengthen is much more beneficial in the long run.

  4. Marko Anastasov Says:

    I’ve been running for four years now and I’ve never had any problems, except that once last year my foot slipped into a little hole and I had my ankle injured for a few weeks.

    I guess you should take some detailed examination for whether running is not doing you more harm than good. If not, just stretch a bit more and don’t push too hard. Running marathons is definitely not for everyone (including me).

  5. Roland Dreier Says:

    I’ve never had really bad ITBS, although I have had minor bouts of it during my really high-volume training periods (over the years I’ve finished 8 marathons, 2 ironman distance triathlons and scores of shorter races — it seems the combination of lots of biking and lots of running for triathlon training is what brings it on for me).

    Anyway I second the suggestion to add more ITBS stretching — do some stretches after your warmup, during your workout if you start to feel twinges of pain, and during your cooldown at least. A web search for “itbs stretch” finds lots of suggestions of ways to stretch.

    I also know people who have prepared for marathons with lots of pool running (ie running while floating in water). But I’ve never done that myself.

  6. J Says:

    There’s a special kind of stretch you can do for the ITB, which helped me some. Probably need to ask a qualified person how to do it correctly.

  7. Dave Neary Says:

    J, David, Roland – any idea what a good stretch is for the ITB? I have found this one, but I’m not sure if I’m doing it right:

  8. G. Crimmins Says:

    I had Physical Therapy and they recommended lots of stretching and a foam roller to “massage” the inflammation
    from the hip to the knee. Run flat and cross train.

    Good Luck!


  9. P. Oscar Boykin Says:

    I also suffer from ITBS. In my case, it comes from overtraining (running too far and too fast), and insufficient strengthening and stretching. Particularly, my abductors and adductors are weak. It is known that those that suffer from ITBS have weak abductors.

    My physical therapy has helped a lot, my running is rapidly getting back to where it was before I had a problem. There are a lot of good resources on the web for strengthening and stretching to do. I recommend doing all of them and keeping your running down to a level that gives you *zero* pain.

    Lastly, I recommend Daniel’s Running Formula. This is a very highly regarding training book for running. I realized from my reading of this book that I was training much too hard, and that was seriously increasing my risk of injury. Given how often you’ve been injured, I would speculate that you are in a similar situation.

    Make *SURE* you do not try to run through this pain. You will only prolong the recovery time (which will be on the order of several weeks to months).

    Good luck!

  10. ken Says:

    While you’re recovering, remember to look on the bright side: it may be rough on the knees, but it’s great for the heart. When I’m old and gray I know which I’d rather have.

  11. Richard Ayotte Says:

    I had IT band problems years ago and it got so painful that I had to completely stop and walk the last 2 miles of my run. I was so focused on performance that I didn’t want to stop training and this caused the injury to last much longer than it should have.

    I’ve been running seriously for about 7 years and have gone through many injuries. What I have noticed is that most of the injuries were caused by weak muscles, not the lack of stretching. IT band problems are usually caused by weak quads. I do calisthenics daily and it keeps me injury free. I run about 100km/week and my 5k PR is 16:44, 1 mile 4:35. I hope to be running in the 15:?? later this year.