Too Much Too Soon?

At the end of my 53 mile bike ride the weekend before last, I noticed that the front inside of left knee was starting to be bothered a bit. I ignored it and didn’t do much about it. This past week I did my Insanity workouts and ran and wasn’t bothered by it. Unfortunately, about 10-15 miles into our 50 mile bike ride this past Saturday, my knee started acting up again. Mike was concerned but I assured him the pain was a 2 on a scale from 1-10. I kept on trucking along and was noticing that Asia and I were riding our usual route even more quickly than usual. We added on a loop within the course this time rather than adding on a coastal loop at the end like we did the first time and the loop was nice and flat. I averaged about 19 miles/hour on this flat loop and was feeling pretty good about my improvements.

About 3/4 of the way into the ride, the pain in my knee had escalated to about a 3-4 out of 10. Still not too much to be concerned about. However, while riding up hills at the end of my ride, the pain got up to a 7 or 8. Not good. I used my right leg to pedal for the last few hills and whenever we stopped and started again, the pressure I put on my left leg made me wince with pain.

Common Causes of Knee Pain in Cyclists

As someone who has always said *knock on wood* “I’ve never been injured” this is a concern to me. Of course as soon as the ride was over, I researched the heck out of my problem and discovered that knee pain is fairly common, especially in new riders, and is usually a result of the following:

  1. Increasing mileage too quickly *guilty* (riding to 50 miles on a Saturday is fine if you are doing ANY midweek riding. Unfortunately my foe Fall has taken away my morning sunlight and until we get the trainers set up there aren’t any chances for mid-week rides)
  2. Riding in a low gear up hills *guilty* (the course we ride has several hills that require me to ride in my easiest gear and I am still grinding the pedals slowly to make my way up them)
  3. Cleat Alignment/Bike Fit *semi-guilty* (I had my bike fitted to me but as I’ve previously mentioned, it’s a borrowed bike and it doesn’t fit me perfectly, although I was assured it was good enough)

Treatment Options

This is where I get stuck and need help. I think the main reason for my pain (which I hesitate to call an injury quite yet) is that I’m not riding during the week and doing long rides on the weekend (I just had my bike fitted so I’m ruling that out). The solution I like best to this problem is to ride during the week more often. Luckily, my trainer was just delivered yesterday so I can start doing mid-week rides in my living room. However, I also know I should probably rest my knee. I’m not one to rest, and instead I went for a 9 mile run on Sunday afternoon as part of my marathon training. My knee was feeling much better that morning and by afternoon I couldn’t feel it at all. After my run it was little irritated but nothing like the ride. On Monday I did Insanity Plyometric Circuit and went for a 5 mile run and my knee was surprisingly not too sore. A little irritation but nothing substantial.

I iced my knee on Sunday night after the run since I read that I should follow R*I*C*E – Rest Ice Compression and Elevation. At least I got one part of it down. At this point, I’m kind of waiting it out. I’d like to set up my trainer later this week and see how it feels when I get on and ride in an easy gear. I plan to do my long ride this weekend on a nice flat route rather than our über hilly Pizza Port favorite. If things don’t take a turn for the better, then I’ll sadly follow the (online) doctor’s orders and take some time off cycling, running and high impact activities like Insanity, the program that I am currently 2 weeks into.

4 thoughts on “Too Much Too Soon?

  1. Robyn

    Please don’t get hurt! It’s seriously not worth it! A little bit of taking it easy now is worth it in the long run… If I would have listened to that I wouldn’t have had to sit out 3 months of doing NOTHING!

  2. Miranda

    REST!! Take it easy for a week or two. It would be devastating to injure yourself more, especially closer to race day. Take the time your body needs to heal now before it gets worse. Keep icing and take some advil/aleve. (any NSAID will work!) :)

  3. Pamela | Girl Gone West

    Getting injured and having to take a break is THE WORST. It makes me want to die inside. However, the body can only heal itself when it has the time to do so. You may hate taking a week long break, but it’s better than having to cancel your marathon or worse, your Ironman. Just my two cents!


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