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I've gotten into running recently and I really like it. However, my body just isn't having it and whenever I run longer than about a mile and a half, my knees just kill me. Yesterday, I had to lay down in the grass for like 20 minutes because of the pain. My friends said that I need to lay off for a week or so, but I really don't want to. If it's important, putting something cold just under my knees helps them feel better. Also, I feel like there's some inflammation because it almost looks like there's fat under my kneecaps. Does anyone know what's wrong with me? And what should I do to fix it?

EDIT: I'm 5'11" and 135 lbs. I try to run everyday from 7:30-8:30 and I have some Men's Nike Free 5.0 running shoes. These ones: http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B00EQBER26/

  • A couple of things maybe you could edit and add in: a) what's your current height/weight? b) how often are you running c) what kind of shoes are you using . Answering those would really help to get a better picture of what's going on. – Eric Jun 11 '15 at 4:29
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If there was no pain before you started running, you're probably overdoing it. A mile and a half really isn't much, and your cardio ability might be there, but your soft/connective-tissue ability might not be there. That stuff takes a long time to recover and strengthen.

Also, if you've never run before, your musculature is probably wacko and imbalanced. This is also something that will not develop overnight. If it's bad, it can also really jack up your form.

Form, by the way, is another thing you should investigate. If you heal-strike when you run, you'll be in for some serious trouble. Think about scraping dog poop off your shoe when you run, or pulling the heal of your foot up to your butt. (You don't want to look like you're prancing like a show horse, but just be cognizant of the muscles in the back of your thigh.) Also think about spending as little time on the ground as possible -- meaning get your foot up right away. These cues should help with form basics. If you ask me, it's better to run fast for short intervals with good form than run slow for long intervals with bad form.

That said, yes, I know, it really sucks. When you start running, you'll definitely find your aches and pains will slow you down more than your cardio-level will. Nobody wants to take it slow when they're doing something they enjoy. But it's important to get a good base so you can keep it up for a long time!

So, try following a training schedule like Couch-to-5k that will help you gradually on-ramp. It will give your connective tissues a chance to progress at a healthy rate. If you're really chomping at the bit to get in more cardio during off-days, I don't see any reason not to add low-impact activities like biking, paddle-boarding, or rowing to the mix, so long as it doesn't exacerbate your pain.

Regarding the inflammation: we aren't allowed to play doctor here so it's not our place to make medical recommendations. But lord knows what kind of issues you could be having there. Your buddy is right, ease-up and reset. Start a logical training progression and it'll probably go away, but definitely visit a doc otherwise.

  • Thanks man! I guess I'll just have to hold off for a week or so. So for form, I should be landing on the ball of my feet first? – glenohumeral13 Jun 11 '15 at 0:19
  • @glenohumeral13 I would say mid-foot is recommended in the contemporary running zeitgeist. Check out the foot strike on these marathon runners: youtube.com/watch?v=MFxPlUKrZPQ. The force is distributed right into the arch. – Daniel Jun 11 '15 at 0:24
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    @glenohumeral13 If possible, convert your running into walks while you recuperate. Taking a week off isn't the problem, not coming back is. But if you must take time off, ensure you're back as soon as physically possible. Goodluck! :). – Kneel-Before-ZOD Jun 11 '15 at 0:34
  • This is a good answer. Maybe some basic strength exercises for the knee joint can help as well? – Mårten Jun 11 '15 at 7:04

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