The other night at a birthday party I was asked how I can run so much without my knees aching. He wasn't referring to personal experience just that of so many runners he knows were forced to stop running because of bad knees. I relayed this to him.
I'm currently in a January Mileage Freaks run challenge. I am in no way going to even come close to winning it. It's simply a challenge to me. But the runners are going after it. They are running 8 or more hours a week. I'm personally training more than they are but my running is only 4 to 4.5 hours a week. Add those weeks up over years, decades and you can see where I'm going. My knees simply do not take the pounding that theirs do.
Now this is comparing me to others as fit as me. For the average runner, 8 hours is what they get in a month. So why do their knees give out too?
There are probably a few reasons:
1. excessive weight
2. Poor Running mechanics
3. A body that is overall, weak.
4. Lack of good instruction.
But here's the secret to why Triathlete knees are just going to last longer:
1. An aerobic engine built on three sports rather than one
2. General leg strength built on the bike.
3. Overall fewer miles.
4. Triathletes regularly spend time in the gym getting strong.
5. Solid core strength that holds the body upright and takes some of the compression away from the lower body.
If you are a runner and not a triathlete I think there is plenty to learn from the triathletes. The 5 things listed above just may be the answer to a long life of running.
It's a good life...