Saturday, April 20, 2013

Knee Problems

Recently my knees have been bothering me.  It seems like every year I have some kind of problem with my knees.

I've been trying to exercise my legs more and ride longer rides for my upcoming 25 mile race.  Coming out of winter and being particularly busy with work and family lately, I'm far from peak physical condition.  I've been trying to exercise more and ride more, but mostly I'm just doing the weekend warrior thing.  Unfortunately that's not at all optimal for training and it can be bad physically.

Over a month ago I got some soreness in my right knee while using my elliptical machine.  I was pushing hard and "jogged" for something like an hour and half. Then I was doing some long rides when I could.  In the past few weeks I was doing the plyometrics routine of my P90X workout and riding the Hojack pretty aggressively in my high gear.  About a week ago I tried using my elliptical and felt my right knee was starting to get sore very early on.  I quit for fear of exacerbating the problem.  Soon I tried plyometrics again and felt the same way and stopped.  Since then I haven't exercised and my knees have continued to have odd aches and pains that kind of vary.  I've been stretching off and on, and sometimes I think that helps.

I've read some stuff online about knee problems and I like this article.  It pretty much describes my situation perfectly... coming out of winter, pushing with more intensity, riding longer, and using a harder gear without easing into it.  Also a change in equipment, my 29er.  I also may need to raise my saddle even more than I have recently.  It's also typical for cyclist to over strengthen their quads which causes a muscle imbalance and effects the knees.

My knees continue to bother me even though I'm not exercising.  It's just occasionally aching and sometimes some sudden, though not quite sharp, pain that is more of an irritation that anything else.  I'm sure I'm psychologically more sensitive to them.  It's hard not to be since knees are such an important part of my passion.

With my 25 mile race only a week away, I'm pretty much screwed.  My plan is to continue to take it easy, maybe riding once or twice without straining too much, doing exercises specifically to help my knees, and then just do my best at the race.  I expect my knees will be sore at least after the race, but hopefully not during.  Afterward I'll take it easy, work on strengthening my non-cycling muscles, and build up my ride intensity more slowly, assuming my knees will allow it.

I guess the good news is that this is more of a ride for myself more than anything else. But in the future I'll probably pass on early spring races unless I have been truly keep up with my fitness.

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