Only three more miles to go, but the the pain was unreal. The stabbing sensations in my knee were signaling me to stop, however, my self motivation made sure there was no way I wasn't going to cross the finish line of my first half marathon. GoQuitters are losers, no pain no gain.
I completed those 13.1 brutal miles, but paid the price. It took over three months of complete rest and time off from running for my knee to stop screaming in pain and threatening to collapse beneath me every time I went down the stairs. Lessons were learned from running that race. Although my training was slow and steady, I made many mistakes. My biggest error was the lack of cross training.
Patellofemoral pain syndrome (PFPS), or runner’s knee, set in a little over a month before race day but I kept pushing through without addressing preventable causes. The repetitive linear movement of running created muscle imbalances and tightness, which placed abnormal stress on my knees each time my feet pounded the pavement.
Runner's knee can happen from various triggers and is most common among runners, hence it’s nickname.
In my case, I had tight hamstrings and calves, my quadriceps were poorly trained and the arches in my feet were weak (fallen arches). These imbalances within my body put abnormal stress on my knees, causing pain, inflammation and injury over time. Common treatment and prevention for PFPS is stretching tight triggering muscles and strengthening weak, imbalanced areas. Yoga is a perfect cross-training option since it offers stretching, strengthening and balance improvement. I can tell you first hand, it wasn't until I dedicated time to yoga multiple days a week, that I discovered the immense benefit it had on my running.
Yoga not only helped me treat my runner's knee and prevent overuse injuries from occurring, but offered so many more perks for my running hobby. The dynamic stretching in yoga lengthened tight muscles like my calves, hamstrings and hip flexors. Poses and flows strengthened my hips, quadriceps and core. Balancing poses improved and developed stability in my ankles and feet. Breathwork and meditation guided me in train my breathing to be more efficient and deepened my connection to my body. It taught me to listen to initial warning signals and to back off when there is pain.
Some of my favorite yoga poses for runners are: pyramid pose, crescent lunge, cow face pose with cow face arms, downward facing dog, and camel pose.
"Take care of your body. It's the only place you have to live" -Jim Rohn
Lauren is a Registered Nurse currently working with cancer patients in the ICU.
Being an RN, she has always had an interest in health and wellness, which has naturally led her to yoga.
Her love for yoga and the positive impact it had on her as a runner impelled her to earn her 200hr RYT with Yoga Alliance at Green Locus Yoga so she could share yoga's benefits with others.
She teaches weekly classes at the Green Locus in Westchase Tampa and found a niche in teaching private yoga to athletes.
You can follow Lauren at www.laurenbhullar.com