the secret to being able to run without knee pain

I've run a half marathon and a marathon before.

out of the total blue, I entered a "lottery" for a Nike Women's Marathon. before that, I hadn't run more than 5 miles in my entire life and normally, ran 2-3 miles at the most. to my surprise (because I never "win" anything), I got selected! 

so, I trained for the marathon and ran it, also completely a half marathon halfway through. the half marathon was in flat Chicago and it was easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy. the full marathon, however, was in San Francisco, CA, arguably the windiest, hilliest, steepest city in the country. for someone who wasn't a runner before, it was a bit too ambitious. I blew out my knees from over-training and all the down-hill running during the marathon. but alas, here we are, and I can say I'm a marathoner! woot. 

fast forward to now. I'm obsessed with spinning, because running still gave me some knee pain, since I never properly rehabbed. I love spinning, it's such a physical and mental challenge, but also really fun - and I love the music, the instructors. it's the BEST. unfortunately, a couple of months ago, I started getting bad lower back pain. I was spinning 5 days a week and it was starting to take a toll on my back (all the hunching over.) #thisis29?

thus, I decided to switch things up and I decided to run a half marathon. I don't think I'll ever run a marathon again (although I'll never say never!), but the thought of a half marathon seemed appealing to me - and a way to get my running legs back. I'm running the Brooklyn Rock n' Roll Half Marathon in October - with Lu! 

SO. what about my knee pain?

I could not train for this half marathon without KT tape (specifically this one.) KT tape is basically this, well, tape that you apply to your trouble spots (for me, my knee) and it magically relieves you of any pain there. okay, so that's not super scientific, so here's what it says on their website: 

"KT TAPE is applied along muscles, ligaments, and tendons (soft tissue) to provide a lightweight, external support that helps you remain active while recovering from injuries. KT Tape creates neuromuscular feedback (called proprioception) that inhibits (relaxes) or facilitates stronger firing of muscles and tendons. This feedback creates support elements without the bulk and restriction commonly associated with wraps and heavy bracing."

WHATEVER THAT MEANS, it works. it's actually unbelievable how applying tape to your skin can relieve your pain. if I don't apply it, no matter what mileage I'm running, I have bad knee pain. when I do apply it, it works like a charm - and I can run for miles! like today, I had a 9 mile training run this morning and I had absolutely no pain - for NINE MILES. 

>> this is the tape I actually use. <<

how do I apply it? well, based on what kind of pain you have, you can apply it different ways, but I have general knee pain - like a standard runner's knee, so this is how I apply it: 

obviously, I'm not a train doctor or sports therapist, so make sure you consult a doctor if you have serious pain - tape might not do it and may lead to other damage. who knows! but I'm just telling you my story and what has worked for me.

I'm so thankful for KT tape. and I buy it in cute colors, like pink. Lu says I look like I'm going to war when I have everything on for a run - my water belt, my KT tape, my headband. 

what are you secrets to reducing knee pain?