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Is Running Slowly Bad For Your Knees?

For some, running leaves them with aching knees. It would seem logical that if you slowed down your speed, your knees would hurt less, reducing your risk for injury. But according to Runners World, the opposite is true: running at a pace of 10 minutes per mile or slower puts you at more risk for pain around the kneecap. That's because a slower pace means your knees move through a smaller range of motion, putting more demand on the joint.

If running at a faster pace isn't an option, it doesn't mean you have to give up on your runs altogether. You can prevent knee pain by strengthening the muscles around your knees — your quads, hamstrings, and glutes. If you suffer from achy knees or want to prevent knee pain before it starts, include these exercises in your routine:

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Join The Conversation
sparklestar sparklestar 7 years
I had physio for my knee earlier this year and was diagnosed with a patella grind. Basically the muscles were unbalanced due to the running and I needed to make sure I worked all of my leg muscles. Since using a pilates foam roller and stretching this has helped a lot. Taking glucosamine also helped for a while.
chloe-bella chloe-bella 7 years
Tidal - you should look for a specialty running store in your area. Places like that will have you try on shoes and run around a bit so that the salespeople (who are always experienced runners) can assess how you run. Some places will even videotape you on a treadmill and then play it back for you. Even though the main point is to assess your feet, the salespeople at places like that are generally so enthusiastic that they're happy to discuss anything related to running.
TidalWave TidalWave 7 years
I wish someone could critique my running form. i think that would help me enjoy running a lot more
Chrstne Chrstne 7 years
I have noticed that jogging hurts me, while running feels a bit better. Granted, over the years of college and HS cheerleading, and cheerleading and gymnastics since I was 5, my knees have taken a serious beating. I feel like when I run slower, I pound harder on the ground.
GlowingMoon GlowingMoon 7 years
Interesting. I jogged for years, and I haven't suffered any knee pain. I have no injuries. But then again, I trail jog. I jog on a dirt trail, and I think that helps. It's fairly low impact. Also, I only jog once or twice a week (I do other types exercises on other days). Perhaps I'm not jogging enough to get injured.
shiningeyes shiningeyes 7 years
Every week I'm just slowly bumping up the speed on the treadmill by .1. For example, one week I run 3 miles at 5.5, the next week I run at 5.6. That should be a gradual enough change, right? I'm just not a big fan of intervals. :(
BetterBody BetterBody 7 years
This is why I despise jogging - not only is it boring, but it does a number on your knees. You should either walk briskly, or run like you mean it. It can't be good for beginners who run slow - if they are over weight then the damage is amplified to the knees if they are running too slow. Great article thanks for the resource!
lydialee_home lydialee_home 7 years
Fit - funny that you mentioned about it - caused I was reading the same article last week. I started as a swimmer, and picked up running about 2 years ago. The only injury I have so far is on my right heel - plantar fasciitis, and it is almost gone with some stretching exercise after my run. Last week - something happened to me after my med run on Thursday (10 mile, but I did an 18 mile on Labor Day) - I have this flashing pain on the side of my right knee, and I feel it when I sit / lie down. It went away after an hour. Then it came back again at night time. I wouldn't say it hurt, but it bothers me so much that I have to take an advil to go to bed. Then I started to do research on "sudden knee pain" and came to the same article on runnersworld. Took a day off from running on Friday, and then go for my 20 miler on Saturday - finish it in 3:17 (just under 10 min/mile), and I did not feel any knee pain at all. I felt good and went for a 6 mile recovery run on Sunday (about 9.5 min/mile). It seems to me that if I run at least 10 min/mile, I did not feel the knee pain. I will wear my Garmin watch for all outdoor run now to monitor my pace.
runningesq runningesq 7 years
chloe, you are absolutely right. runners shouldn't get into speedowrk until they have a very solid (6+ mo) base. (and I'm sorry to hear about your HM :( )
chloe-bella chloe-bella 7 years
I'm a slow runner and have (knock on wood!!) never had problems with knee pain. I just wanted to point out that pushing yourself to regularly run faster than what feels natural will greatly increase your likelihood of injuries. Last time I trained for a half marathon, I decided to start "pushing myself" on treadmill workouts, and I started doing them at an 8 min mile pace, while my outside runs were done at a 9 - 10 min mile pace. Big mistake! I ended up getting tendinitis, couldn't run for over a month, and didn't get to do my half marathon. If your new to running, I think it's especially important to pay attention to your personal limits.
shiningeyes shiningeyes 7 years
I'm training to be a "runner"... I'm slowly building up my speed to be better than 10mins. Thankfully, no knee pain yet. (knocking on wood) But I'll definitely make a point to incorporate more squats now (sigh) into my my workout regime.
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