Running is bad for your knees…

Knee injury

Today I was just returning from a run, feeling good and accomplished after logging a nice 8 mile “zone 2” run as I continue to adapt to the new training and my new covenant 80/20. (I will write more about that in many future posts. It was then when I ran into another resident in the complex where I live who was just getting ready to head out to do some paddle boarding. In case you don’t know what that is, it involves a long surf board like float that you propel through waters while standing with a single, large oar. I have read about it and heard it was an amazing workout and this seemed like a great opportunity to ask someone who does it what it’s like, so I did just that. This turned out to be a great conversation with a pretty nice guy. We talked about the weather and how awesome it was to be outdoors in California, particularly with all of the snow and cold back east right now. We discussed the paddle boarding and eventually we got around to what I was doing outside today on this gorgeous Sunday. I told him I had just returned from a run and then, with pursed lips and a shaking head his words were the same I have heard many, many times. “I would love to run but it kills my knees” …

My response was to let him know if he had no known knee injury that isn’t necessarily true. There are many contributing factors to knee pain, especially among runners but if you take a closer look its not the running that normally causes knee issues its a series of mitigating factors that surround running.

I am by no means an expert but I did do a lot of research prior to starting running eight years or so ago when I made the decision to start. I scanned medical journals and running magazines looking for evidence for or against running and how it would affect my knees. This was because after I finally made the decision to begin running my family physician, not a big athlete, warned that it could cause issue with my knees. This was my first experience with the two types of doctors in this world, those that run AND those that don’t. A ‘running” doctor usually encourages activity and assures most that at the right weight, if you pay attention to the length of workouts, that running is not bad for knees and in many cases can help them.

So before you dedicate yourself to a life of cycling and cross-fit read on.

There is a ton of information out there, but the most honest accounts say that running at the least cannot hurt your knees and, in some cases, may actually help them last longer than not running. The exceptions are running when you are carrying around too much weight. This reveals a chicken or egg question around the fact that one of the reasons we run is to lose weight and if we have to lose weight to run then it doesn’t make much sense to start. The best call is to use moderation and if you have a lot of weight to carry around walk first and as your weight levels off then run more and more. I have yet to see this not work and I have trained and trained with hundreds of runners. Take your time and let your body get used to the work- including your knees.

When I decided to run my first attempt was a glorious half mile (felt like a hundred) but that’s what my frame would allow at the time and week by week and month by month as I listened to my body and I lost a bit more weight with the activity my mileage increased.

Yours will too, I promise!

Take a peak at this article, it is the most recent and probably the quickest read from Men’s Health .I have had my share of running induced ailment but my knees are holding up just fine. So at the end of the day if you have worries about your knees listen to the following:

  1. A physician that understands running
  2. Your body

Best of luck and I’ll see you out there.


Back view of a man running on the beach at sunset

Thanks John!

I read the profound words of one of the best “running writers” of our generation the “Penguin” John Bingham. The author of the Newbie Chronicles in Runner’s World magazine for a super long time. In John’s profound words “The miracle is not that I finished the miracle is that I had the courage to start” It is an absolutely beautiful statement and one that has likely encouraged so many in this world that would have never considered running to lace up and get out there.This thought is one of the reasons I decided to pick up a keyboard and start typing. I think there are still many people that may have the courage to start but don’t have the first clue as to how. Things like:

  • What shoes do I need?
  • Where do I run?
  • Is there a specific way to run?
  • Should I stretch?
  • What can I expect once I start?
  • What happens when I want to quit?
  • so many, many more…

These an numerous thoughts and questions go through a persons head when they start running. I know because many of these questions went through my head when I started. The funny thing is… I was a runner before, before I took nearly twenty years to raise a family, work a time consuming job and indulge a large appetite for all things bad for me in the spirit of a reckless personality. You know the person that loved eating and drinking in excess, if you don’t you do now. Because I was that guy!

Any previous experience I had with running did nothing to help me understand what it was like to run as a middle aged man. The twenty-two year old version of me could stay up all night eating chicken wings and drinking beer and wake up bright and early to log 5 -10 miles with no sweat.

In short, when I decided to start running again I was scared to death and to be honest very intimidated by the sport. These fast and skinny gazelles I saw as runners seemed to have attained a level of lifetime fitness that I would never again attain. It was my belief that things had obviously changed since way back when I runner. I HAD NO CLUE WHAT TO DO!! , it was daunting and it was at the least intimidating.

In future posts I will outline my eventual start and nearly everything I encountered in my journey from a person that could only walk a half mile at a time to a five- time marathoner.

More importantly I intend to offer you this space and to invite and offer any and all possible advice to get a runner started and if you have started, to keep you moving. It’s tough to find definitive information on what it takes and how to do things.

That’s why I call this page and this blog- icanruntoo, because you can run too. Let this page help you and please ask questions. Anything and everything is within boundaries if it has to do with running. I have a very large group of fellow runners across the world now- we all want to help.

There are not enough runners in the world yet..

Join us.