Women, Knees and Creative Brains
I have settled into my marathon training programme well. The fitness I built up and the kms I ran training for the Colville Connection have sustained my fitness levels and it has been no problem to ramp up the weekly totals again. Last week I ran 44kms and have been feeling great this week. While I was doing my long run on Sunday I started thinking about knees (I always get ideas while I run, I figure I get creative….more on that later in the blog). I was thinking about women’s knees in particular. You see we are a bit more at risk because of the way we are built, and running can get blamed for all sorts of knee evils that it actually isn’t to blame for.
Women have a bigger Q-angle than men. That is, our hips are wider and the line that goes from our external hip to our medial knee is more pronounced. So therefore we are more at risk for our knees to track outside of the line they are supposed to track in. So it becomes even more important for us to have strong, and most importantly, well-balanced quad muscles. Often the VMO becomes weakened through lack of strength training, bad gait, bad squatting technique and imbalances in the muscles around the knees. On top of all of that, us women tend to not bend our knees when landing after jumping off a raised area, so all you women trail runners out there, watch what you do next time you land from a height, no matter how high, make sure you bend your knees to absorb some of the shock and also make sure your knees are tracking over your foot, and not collapsing inward as a lot of us do. Get your technique checked when strength training, and ask someone to watch you running so you can get feedback as to what your legs are doing. We have to take care of those knees so they can go the distance.
And so back to the creative bit…..
I am reading a book at the moment called Spark written by John J Ratey, MD and Eric Hagerman. It is all about a revolutionary new science of exercise and brain, and how they fit together. I would recommend getting your hands on a copy and having a read, it is fascinating! Apparently when we exercise we create proteins that are then able to cross the blood/brain barrier and allow more connections to be made. Amazing results have been seen in children in school, increasing their test scores in academic areas, and also with patients suffering from anxiety and depression. Now every time I head out for my run I am thinking “I am developing my brain”, and I am chomping through the book with eager anticipation of the next great thing!
So get training, you have everything to gain!