Hope I don't have to quit running

Hey all,

I used to run a lot a year ago or so, but took a break as I was working long hours and got out of the habit of doing it. Recently I've started going back to the gym for 90 minute cardio sessions of running, cycling, rowing and cross training - the problem is, it seems the running is causing my serious discomfort.

I took a day off of running and the pain significantly lessened, though today I went for a 40 minute run and to put weight on my knee is agony.

It hurts on my left knee, and feels like a stabbing pain toward the outside edge. Having read a bit I am desperately hoping it is runners knee and that it can be easily remedies - however I suffered with this about a month ago and had presumed it had passed, as soon as I ran, it reared its ugly head.

Perhaps it's time to reduce my cardio workout to rowing, cycling and cross training...hope not!


  • Also - I have decent but old running trainers - going to buy some good ones tomorrow in the hope that it alleviates symptoms but until I've got further advice I will not do any running.

  • Luke - is it under the knee cap, or to the left on a boney "knobbly bit". If it is the latter, then this is more likely to be ITBS (iliotibial band syndrome). This could be caused by foot/ankle/shoe issues, but often it is from weakness in the hip/glutes, underused hamstrings and tight quads.

    When I suffer from ITBS I can use elliptical trainers, rowing etc for ages, but running will bring on the pain after 20 - 30 mins. In my case strengthening the glutes and TFL muscles is needed, along with stretching of the quads.

    If in doubt, get an assessment off a decent sports physio.
  • Luke, just out of interest, after your recent break from training how many days of building up did you do before you got to the '90 minute cardio sessions of running, cycling, rowing and cross training'? image

    And how far into today's 40 minute run did it start hurting? And what surface did you run on, hard road/pavement or soft grass (assuming it was outside which it sounds like it was).

    You sound like you are massively overtraining so slow down.image I've never done anything like the volume of training you are doing.



  • I wouldn't necessarily call 90 mins of cross training and/or a 40 minute run 'massively overtraining', not even if you have been away from it for a year. Agree it sounds like it could be a problem with your ITB. Try foam rolling it while taking a couple of weeks off the running. Then start again with very short runs and see if that's made a difference...
  • Thanks very much for the replies. I believe (it has now completely subsided) the pain is just behind the knobly bit rather than on the actual knee cap. It tends not to hurt much during the run - it hurts most a while after I've stopped though today the recovery period for the pain was extremely short compared to last time.

    If I'm honest, I didn't build up at all. I just jumped on the treadmill (training on a treadmill btw) and did 45 mins. I had maintained a decent level of fitness by walking to work and back every day which led to 90 mins total walking every day.

    Will cross training/cycling/rowing strengthen the muscles in question or should I go about a specific type of training? 


  • Just found this - do you guys think this might fix my issues?



  • It can help, but at the moment you don't know what is causing the imbalance in your case that  leads to the tightness and friction at the knee. If you try this, then that guy has a second video on the adductors - give then both a go.

    For my own case, my physio had me focus the foam rollering on the outer quad (vastus lateralis) plus the glutes, but not on the IT Band itself. This was in addition to a strength program to address the cause. This sorted out my ITBS, however recently I have injured a hamstring and an adductor muscle on the inside of my leg. This has thrown up ITBS again as my leg is out of balance, so it is back to restrengthening

    "Will cross training/cycling/rowing strengthen the muscles in question or should I go about a specific type of training?" Doubtful if you continue with the same length of runs - some light weights working on the glutes / hips  plus general work on hamstr/quads/calf . adductors / abductors ......  would be useful. If the problem persists get it checked out, but I would say that not building up (same in my caseimage) slowly may have caused this. Maybe take a few days off running, and then very slowly increase it a few mins at a time    - may help to get things in balance. Stick with the other cross training and a little bit of weights in the meantime.

    Frustrating I know - but don't let it get a hold 

  • @Also-ran, could you elaborate on exactly what strengthening work you did to resolve the initial ITBS? I'm locked in ITB hell ever since Birmingham Half Marathon. I've been rolling and stretching, and it died down in the original leg, but then flared up on the other knee and just can't shake it. Ran just over a mile tonight before its tightened up like a steel cable down the outside of my leg, and I had to walk back home! #walkofshame
  • Hi, there were a few things involved as I had 2 or 3 trips to the physio. So anything below was for my case. At the physio, it went something like this:

    Full gait analysis and assessment of flexibility etc: video, pressure pad etc etc. The finding was that my right knee tracked inwards. Foot flexibility was OK, most of the problems were higher up around the hips / glutes, tight quads, inflexible hamstrings. Recommended I reduce the amount of support I had in my shoes.

    Gave me some stetches (dynamic and static, plus foam rolling) to carry out focused on hips/glutes, quads, hamstrings. The best resource I can point you to is here:


    Check out the video of: #1 ITB/TFL/Hip Flexor/Quad Combo Stretch

    Following stretching / rolling, after a week or so I went on the doing some strengthening exercises. These mainly focused on the TFL / Glutes, and the importance was placed on form / correct control of muscles

    I don't have anything precise  I can share. 4 or 5 exercises used a resistance band, e.g. Crab Walk: band around balls of feet, taking 20 steps to the right, then 20 steps back x3 sets, another was band around ankles, controlled kicks to side, and backwards 45 degrees. Single Leg Squats, and hamstring curls using a Swiss Ball. Also a couple of balance exercises on a swiss ball that relied on using hips for stability. There was nothing that special about these, other than I really felt them working my TFL / Glute area

  • Ok many thanks for that. I've started doing the crab walking with resistance bands this week. Really works the TFL/glutes, which I think is where my weakness is. I'm doing it 3 times a day, after 3 days I braved a run.....did 5k in 24 minutes with no pain!!! Bear in mind I tried a run at the start of the week, got a mile in, itb went as tight as a steel rope and I had to stop and walk home!

    Finally feeling like I'm getting somewhere, thanks for the info. It's confirmed what I was thinking, and given me some more ideas.

    For anyone else looking for options, this is what I watched, and this made a noticeable difference for me. I did a short session on the crab walking before my run, just to awaken the glutes/TFL before I set off.

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