I'd really appreciate some advice, sorry for the long post.
I started running last May using the Couch to 5k programme, and it went really well. Once I'd reached 5k I started adding 10% to my weekend long run until I reached 10k. I stuck at that distance for a few weeks then started upping the distance again and ran a half marathon at the end of November. All without a single blister. I'm not a fast runner - fastest 5k is 30:04, fastest 10k is 1:04 - but I've been very fortunate and haven't had any injuries, or even little twinges to deal with, only a bit of shin pain that soon passes.
But then it all started to go wrong. I went out for a long run on Christmas Eve but had some knee pain and had to cut my run short. The pain has been in both knees but is now in my right knee. It's just under my kneecap on the outside of my leg, but I only get it when I'm running. After a few minutes of stopping running it goes, I don't get any pain when I'm walking or going up and down stairs. I stupidly thought I'd try just running through it, slowing down till it went then speeding up again, and for a few runs that worked, but now it kicks in after only 2 or 3k.
So then I started googling. I've found a few exercises to try and have invested in a foam roller, although that hasn't arrived yet, and I also bought "Born to Run" by Christopher McDougal, which I loved. Although I'm always barefoot at home I'm not planning on taking up barefoot running yet, but a lot of what he writes makes sense. My next move was to go out for a little experimental run on Friday morning, trying out the midfoot strike technique rather than my usual heel strike, and I managed a slow 5k. The good news is that I don't have any knee pain, although that might have been because I hadn't run for over a week. But the bad news is I had massive calf muscle pain afterwards and could barely walk!
So my dilemma is: do I persevere with the new midfoot strike and start the c25k again using that. Or do I stick with my usual heel strike as it was going so well last year, and do lots of knee exercises and foam rollering. I've entered another half marathon in May and I'm desperate to get back to running the 20k a week I was doing last year.
Thanks for reading.