With a marathon planned in less than a month, and Michiel’s knee still in a bad way, he is feeling frustrated. As his trainer, I have to manage some of the frustrations, and encourage him to carry on striving for better, but also how crucial it is at this point that we have to work on helping the knee above anything else.

Doing too much at this point would be so detrimental, but I understand how Michiel works, and he always wants to push through pain. I am happy he has learnt over the past 4 months to really listen to his body, and understand it better. He can now notice the pains, and the alarm bells we need to listen to. Sport, and learning to compete with yourself is very much a mental battle as much as a physical one.

Unfortunately, runners knee affects so many runners. Especially those who have been less physically active in their earlier years. Although we did everything we could to prevent it, a weak knee since being a child has gotten the better of Michiel on this occasion.

Luckily for us, there are things we can do to help the issue. I will make an informed decision whether he completes the marathon in the coming weeks, and although we will be disappointed if he doesn’t complete it, we have to remember our ultimate goal is Ironman in October. I will do everything in my power to make sure we get there. 

For now, daily hip, IT band and TFL stretches, with some yoga and other strengthening techniques are crucial. It is great that Michiel has the determination to get through this hurdle, and remember it could be a lot worse. His runs now last 20-30 minutes on a good day, but it means we can do the other things that don’t hurt the knee. More bike rides, some gym work, and of course swimming!

To master anything, you must start out at the bottom, as a beginner. Beginners will often learn through some pain and setbacks, it is then about figuring out how to get the mentality in the right place in order to carry on. If you give yourself too much of a hard time when you have a setback, then you’ll be more reluctant to take the risks necessary to get you to your goals. Believe in yourself, and keep your eye on the end outcome.

I have been incorporating cross training sessions into the training programme, which has helped and allows us to work the muscles we would running, but without the impact and knee pain.

In the meantime, send some positive vibes and any tips or experience you have with runners knee issues and how you overcame it!