Over the last year or so, I have had two ITB/runner´s knee problems. It started in the beginning of 2015, with my left knee and ITB being the cause of pain. I started seeing a physiotherapist, who recommended, among other things, that I change my shoes.
Can I blame the ASICS or the Inov-8s?
I had been running in ASICS, and was a very loyal ASICS running shoes customer, having never tried anything different. So I swapped my ASICS for another pair of ASICS, and started my rehabilitation program, which consisted of strength and stability, as well as acupuncture. Things improved slowly, and I was able to increase the distance I could run pain free from 3 km, back up to 15 km, in a matter on 2-3 months.
During this time I also decided to buy a pair of trail running shoes, a pair of Inov-8s, as I was going to be participating in a SwimRun event in the summer, and needed a pair of shoes I could swim in. I started running in these, which had minimal support but good grip, and my ASICS, which were my stock standard training shoe. Things seemed to be going ok, but I found myself preferring to train in the Inov-8s, with minimal sole and support. These were amazing shoes for trail running around the forest in Stockholm.
My ITB/knee was feeling pretty good once I got to the SwimRun in June, and I successfully completed 35 km of running, with minimal pain on the day. In the days following the race, I could feel that the pain was back though, in the left knee, and was worried I would be back to square one. However I still felt a preference to use the Inov-8s rather than my ASICS, and in the late summer after resting for a month or so, I started running again, with my sights set on a half marathon in October.
The hellish half
The ITB/knee seemed to have settled down, and I slowly built back up running only in my Innov8s, both on and off trail. Once it came to the race in October I was a bit torn, the race was in Pilsen (Czech Republic), cobbled streets, but I had become so used to my Innov8s that I chose to run in them. In hindsight it was probably a mistake, and about 15 km in I felt some pain coming on, this time in my right knee! It wasn´t severe enough to stop me, so I finished the race, but in the days following I knew I was in trouble again.
So now we are in October, and I am back in Stockholm, and it feels like deja vu, I start running, and about 3-5 kms in, on comes the runner´s knee/ITB pain. It didn´t matter which shoes I chose, or how much foam rolling I did, the problem was back. So I restarted my strength and stability program and again thought about shoes.
The turning point
Feeling ever so frustrated, I started asking friends about shoe choice, and doing a lot of reading on shoe options for people suffering chronic runner´s knee problems. There are two schools of thought, there is the barefoot running school, who advocate no/minimal thickness on the souls, and the other school, that says some support which suits your step is best. I turned to a close friend, who had been suffering from runner´s knee on and off for years, but had seemed fine recently, and asked him what shoe he was wearing. He said, "Nike Pegasus, it feels like you are running on pillows."
My first thought was oh Nike, that doesn´t feel right. For some reason I had developed a prejudice against the brand over the years. But considering how desperate I was to get rid of this chronic problem, I put that prejudice behind me and went online and bought myself a pair of Nike Pegasus. From Day 1 these shoes have been amazing, it is such a noticeable difference in how the impact feels when you hit the ground compared to my old ASICS.
Of course I continued to do my rehabilitation program alongside changing shoes, but I feel like I can attribute some of my recovery and running pain free to these shoes. I am completely converted, and recommend anyone else who is suffering from runner´s knee to consider them. I know that I will be using them going forward, at least until some new injury comes along, then I´ll probably blame these shoes..
Have you got a pair of running shoes that you recommend to your friends? Or if have had any experience with the Nike Pegasus, let me know in the comments below.