Next week I’m seeing a physiotherapist.

It’s preventative. I’d like to get official clearance for marathon training from a professional. It’s an added expense, but in my option a worthwhile one. I think I have found the perfect therapist.

Adelaide West Physiotherapy is one of the best in the city. Lisa, the therapist I will be seeing, is a triathlete who has run two marathons and competed in the Ironman USA in Lake Placid. She has a degree in Kinesiology and a Masters of Science in Physical Therapy. If anyone can understand my determination to run and help me get through this safely, it’s her.

I think the magnitude of the goal I have taken on is starting to set in my mind. I know this is going to be hard, but I also know that I wouldn’t be doing it otherwise. In this past month I feel like I have re-learned my entire body. For example, my right arm and leg are weaker than my left. Because of this, I have developed a tiny pronation on my right knee to compensate weight distribution during my training.

I think about my knees all the time. I can’t imagine a regular person thinking about their knees as much as I do. I wear shorts while training. I look at them in the mirror. I focus on keeping them straight. The thing is, while a subtly rolling knee would not be a big deal for regular exercise, in my case it could complicate my goals. I want to get to my first marathon injury-free. Because running is a sport plagued with injury, this could be challenging. Enter physiotherapist.

The truth is, I have already beaten the odds. A recent runnersworld.com poll revealed that 66 percent of respondents had suffered an injury in 2009, and 60 percent reported chronic problems. The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research published a study in January 2010 about training injuries among triathletes. Out of all three sports, the one that produced the most injuries was – you guessed it – running.  The majority were knee injuries. However, other studies have suggested that running may actually help strengthen the joints.

Bottom line: nobody should take up running to protect their knees. But if you do run, prevention is everything.

Get tips on how to prevent knee injury here, and here is another great blog post that includes a knee strengthening exercise video, and links to further studies.

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