Saturday, 26 March 2011

A couple of beautiful runs

I've had a couple of lovely runs in the sun this week, and I'm beginning to feel good. I'm still a little nervous about running too much and the return of the knee pain, but I've had a few consistent weeks now.

This week I've run in the park:


and along the canal:



and I've made it up to the heady heights of 28 minutes of continuous running.

Next week is all about the 30 minute runs, and hopefully three of them.

Bring on the sunshine!

Saturday, 19 March 2011

22 minutes and counting

So, I'm up to the dizzy heights of 22 minutes continuous running, as of this morning. Managed 2 miles today, although I may have gone off a little fast for me as it felt harder than normal. Still, it was very cold, which may not have helped. Little trot around the local reservoir today, it's just short of a mile around it, so did a couple of laps - very nice in the sun though.

A few weeks ago, I signed up for Cancer Research's Race for Life. I think this will be my 7th or 8th year running it, but only the second time at the race I've signed up for. It's 5km (3.2 miles) long, but not until the end of July, so plenty of time to get everything stronger. It's a great experience and a great way of raising some money for a great cause.

I've just learned that a ParkRun should be starting nearish to me in the next few weeks, so I might get out and do that in due course too. I may even be able to convince my husband to start running and do it with me!

I'm feeling a bit of running optimism!

Saturday, 12 March 2011

Slowly building time on my feet

18 mintues of running along the canal in sunshine today. It may have been brief, but it was beautiful and reminded me why I have to rehabilitate cautiously and hope I can explore further afield as the weather improves.

I had slight concern after my mid-week run, as I was getting some unnerving pain down the outside of my knee, that reminded me very much of the start of my recent knee issues. It wasn't anything much, but I was concerned that after only 16 minutes worth of running, my knee started to show signs of overuse. However, my panic appears to have been premature and it eased off to nothing within about 36 hours. There was no problem today and hours later, I can't feel anything too alarming - phew! I'm getting bored with writing about knee pains and it's not very entertaining to anyone else either!

Still, I learnt something today....if problems do reoccur, and I can only ever run 20-30 minute runs, preferably along the canal in the sun, I could live with that.

Monday, 7 March 2011

And some running.

Today was a mini milestone in my rehabilitation from a nuisance knee problem. Today I managed to run, albeit a very short 1.25 miles, without noticing my knee! That has got to be a good sign!

The trick now, fingers crossed for no more issues, will be to slowly build my fitness up without overdoing it and stressing my knee unduly - I reckon this should be easy enough, my fitness and endurance are poor at best, so there will be no striding out for masses of miles for a while!

The schedule for the next few weeks is to get out and on my feet for a few minutes more each time. Today was about 14 minutes, so two more runs scheduled this week and they'll be 16 and 18 minutes respectively. Once I get past 30 minutes, I hope I shall be able to build more quickly. I've taken to running around the local park, which means a short drive, but more importantly means I can run on surfaces that are a little softer than tarmac. I thoroughly enjoyed this morning's effort in the sun.

I've also added some core, strength & balance, and glute exercises to my weekly routine, in the hope that I can achieve a more balanced system and therefore try to lessen the burden on my wonky knees.

So, glucosamine....

Well it seems that scientific clinical trials evidence and anecdotal evidence from individuals are pretty much at odds with each other!

In the red corner, we have the clinical trials evidence, most of which finds that taking glucosamine, chrondroitin or both does not reduce knee pain in people with osteoarthritis (see BMJ 2010 Sep 16;341:c4675, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20847017 for a recent meta-analysis on the supplements). This is a nice summary of the recent BMJ study, http://www.nhs.uk/news/2010/09September/Pages/osteoarthritis-supplements-of-no-benefit.aspx On top of this, I think the NHS have stopped funding these supplements due to the lack of evidence that they are beneficial(although in reality I'm sure it's down to lack of resources too - glucosamine doesn't look very cost-effective though!).

Most of the published evidence seems to be in people with osteoarthritis (OA), so it's impossible to tell if it has any benefit in those without OA who wish to reduce damage to their ligaments or to help build them back up, as well as reducing pain.

So, in the blue corner, we have anecdotal evidence from runners who are noticing a difference after taking it, and have found that it reduces pain or reverses problems they were experiencing. Now this may not be scientific evidence, but in my opinion, should not be ignored. See the Runner's World forum for examples Runner's World forums

Suffice to say, this blog post and my research are of limited value! Science says 'no', but runners say, 'probably yes'. From information on the Runner's World forums, people who have found glucosamine to help are aware that it may be a placebo effect, and that it may only work for certain people. Dosage is also something that is likely to be a factor, although it seems that the supplements probably take about 2-3 months to enter the system properly.

So, maybe scientific research should be performed in healthy sports people to ascertain the benefit or not of glucosamine & chrondoitin as supplements. Otherwise, we will all keep spending our money in the hope that it is helping us to run healthily.