This weekend I had the pleasure of interviewing a potential client who described himself as overweight. He’s done a great job by losing 26 pounds in the past year – and with another 30 pounds or so to go, he’s got his work cut out for him. But this runner is very dedicated and I don’t doubt he’ll lose the weight he wants to; that’s if he can get past his knee issues.
Knees are sensitive and the more weight you carry around, the more pressure you are putting on your joints. When you run you exacerbate the potential for causing injury even if you are not over training. As you may already know, running puts a lot of pressure on the joints, muscles, and ligaments. The beginning overweight runner faces way more hazards than his or her thinner counterpart because of the stress running mechanics.
As I talked with this person it was clear he was doing the right things in terms of wanting to get in shape. He ran a marathon about 40 pounds overweight. All I can tell you is that running a marathon when you are in peak physical condition is difficult enough but when one is overweight, it is a MAJOR accomplishment. I give Stephen my unadulterated praise and I think he was taken aback when I told him he was part of a unique club; that of a marathoner.
When I learned about his knee pain, particularly the patellar pain or the pain right under his knee cap I would probably bet that was attributed to being overweight and I told him so. A good article on patellar knee pain can be found at About.com.
Just to give an example of how the knee is impacted by simple movement, the force burdened by the patella is about two times body weight when climbing up stairs, and seven times body weight when descending. So think about the burden on the joints when running and then when running overweight. It is no wonder why people suffer knee issues.
Being overweight is not the only reason people suffer knee issues of course. Overtraining, meaning, running too much or running too much too fast all the time will create microtears in the muscles and ligaments in your body each time you run. A key indicator of improper training is injury; and for many, especially early in the running season, I hear a lot about ITB or illiotibital band syndrome.
The reason running coaches are becoming popular, I believe is because people, in their expectations of doing great things in a short amount of time often injure themselves or have recurring injuries that are cured simply with a good training plan.
Training with a trainer shouldn’t be expensive. I’ll blog more about that next time.