I've been an on and off runner for the past few years, basically signing up for a marathon every so often to prove to myself that I can keep finishing that distance. (I'm generally a larger guy, around 6'3" and 200, so I'm not exactly a low-impact runner.) In a moment of enthusiasm, I signed up for a 40.1 Ultra in June, and I'm starting to significantly increase my training now. After my last marathon, about a month ago, I noticed the typical end-result of my feet being sore and my knees were generally sore and exhausted. Cardio-wise, I could keep going, but I could tell my knees wouldn't be thrilled.
After running this weekend, it dawned on me that I see lots of runners outside with the patella knee straps - I always envisioned they were used to compensate for some injury they were recovering from. However, if the straps tend to provide some stabilization or minimize knee-cap shock, would it also be useful as a "preventative device" to help for long distance runs?
I'm not thrilled about the idea of dropping $30-40 on knee straps, if they wouldn't be useful... but if they could provide some additional benefit for long runs, and keep my knees fresher, I am sure it would be appreciated for the last few miles as I'm craving the finish line.
(I have also taken into account that shoes and stride technique are probably the most influential factors... and I'm working on those... but if this is a worthy idea, I'd give it a try.)
Or - should you not wear these straps without an injury....? Any advice would be greatly appreciated.