Knee-jerk reaction: the taper

It is now two weeks until Race Day. We have started our taper process.

Tapering, for athletes preparing for a goal or scheduled race, is the process of reducing exercise in a period leading up to the event. It can typically last a week or more and reduces some combination of volume, intensity and frequency of training. For us, we have started to decrease the distance of our long runs.

We had a 26 km run scheduled for today’s run. Most of it was on the race route, so it was a good chance to have one last look at the course before we actually run it. I was feeling a little tired, but wanted to get in one more solid run to build on the strength and confidence of last week’s long run. My legs were feeling achy, but we kept our pace a little faster than normal. Whether it was the conversation or knowing we were running a shorter run, it seemed like everyone was fine with a 10-15 sec/km faster pace. It certainly wasn’t unbearable and I was setting the pace.

I was fine until 20 km. We were running up a slight incline and my knee tweaked. It just hurt. It’s not like my knee went one way and I went another, or that I fell and hurt it; it just hurt. I stopped at the next red light and tried to stretch it every which way, but as soon as we started running again I knew it was not right. I stopped and walked/ran a few times, but realized this would not work. I would need to walk the rest of the route back. (And in my hobbled walk, I realized that my walking is SO much slower than running. How do those race walkers go so fast?)

I’m not sure if the pain has come from my feet and caused stress on my knee, or if my back/hip/IT band are out alignment and it has reciprocated down to my knee. Other things hurt as well, it’s just my knee hurts the most.

I have left a pleading, emergency voicemail on my chiropractor’s phone hoping that he can see me on short notice, i.e. tomorrow.  I have iced it a few times and will get a lot of rest tonight.

All I can do now is wait, which isn’t so bad given we are waiting for race day. I’m a little nervous, but hopefully the next few days will give me a chance to get things set right with some medical treatment and more rest.

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8 thoughts on “Knee-jerk reaction: the taper

  1. Oh no! That’s got to feel horrible, knowing a race is coming up. Not that I’m a medical professional, but I’ve had knee issues before. I ice for a couple days, but then let it be. I’ll also wear an ace bandage knee sleeve thing to keep it supported until it’s feeling better. Plenty of careful stretching too. Hoping the knee feels better soon and you’ll be ready to do race day!

    • Thanks for your thoughts. I think it will be okay, but it’s scary as right now I can’t run!
      I’ve booked an emergency appt with my chiropractor this week and hopefully that will give me some comfort. I’ve also iced a lot, but it’s not really swollen at all. It just hurts in a weird way.
      I’m keeping my fingers crossed.

  2. I hope it turned out well!
    Also, something I’ve learned in Massage that is really useful- sometimes if a pain happens and it seems that it’s not from the actual location (like you were saying, it just hurt, but didn’t feel like something happened *to* it) it can sometimes help to ice/massage an area nearby because a trigger point may be causing referred pain. Like you were saying, the IT band, or lower in your calves. Even something in your glutes or quads can cause a strange pain to appear somewhere else, seemingly without cause. The worst part is that the place where the trigger point IS doesn’t hurt..so it can be hard to find. I hope that it’s all resolved now!
    Here is a page that may help in the future, by seeing where the pain is, you can see which muscles and trigger points may be referring it. Maybe useful for the future! Also, for pain in other areas, this site works well too!
    http://www.triggerpoints.net/hip-thigh-knee.htm

    • Hi Jennifer,
      Thanks for all this. I’ll have a good look at this, it definitely makes sense to me. You feel pain localized in an area, but it radiates from elsewhere.

      My chiro had me all fixed up and feeling great, but 10 min into a run it was all the same pain again. I’m back at both physio and chiro this week, and my fingers are all crossed. Lots of rest now and hopefully my body will recover well.

      • I hope you recover well too!
        I tend to get the trigger points in my hands- a muscle near my elbow will be tight and trigger pointy, and then my fingers will hurt or my wrist. but when I massage the upper part of my forearm, the pain goes away. it’s so strange.

      • It really *is* strange. My knee is out of whack, but it turns out my back was all tight and stressed and out of balance. Hard to settle down a “pain” when you are not treating the true source.

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