Achillies issue and problem solved!

It’s been a while since my last post. I haven’t been running a whole lot. My last long run was several weeks ago at 36.5k. That was MUCH further than expected and my achillies asked me to take it easy after that.

So I took it easier: Less kms per week. Long run of only 23k. A half marathon race (new PB of 1:55:07). And lastly a WHOLE WEEK off running. Walking only in the five fingers.

After this time off and some reflection, I think I worked out why my achillies hated me. Firstly the symptoms – slightly tight feeling in achillies, not a big pain. The main pain was a lump in my right heel where the achillies joins the heal bone. My internet self diagnosis is that I developed a bursa, or a pocket of fluid between the achillies tendon and the bone. It hurt, especially in the morning when I first got out of bed.

I thought it was because I added a 17k mid week run home from work, which I did in my Asics. This 17k is mostly uphill, therefore the achillies would be stretched more than on the flat. In the Asics my feet have less control and I noticed the pain as the bursa rubbed against the back of the shoes. I did some self massage on this area most nights before bed, which helped to alleviate the pain in the morning. I am also now walking the first 5 mins of my runs to warm up. I have had this heal problem in the past to a lesser extent and a 5-10min warm up walk always did the trick, it’s just harder of course in winter to go so slow when all you want to do is get warm quickly by running! Also, after some internet reading, appart from the usual “overuse” excuses for injuries, I noticed one podiatrist mentioned achillies tendonitis can be caused by late take off of the foot. By increasing my cadence I noticed this also alleviated the pain and strain. Now, in the past week, I have obviously been paying a lot of attention to what my feet are doing. When my feet hit the ground, it is flat footed, before bending from my toes to raise the heal off the ground and then push off. I noticed that my right toes were not as flexible as my left toes. I have noticed this in the past and have had shin splints partly because of that. This was a big clue because all my problems have always been with my right leg, and in the past, an inflexible right big toe has been the culprit. SO I have been concentrating on relaxing this part of my foot and flexing where and when it should etc so now the pain is just about gone. There is occasional strain, but nothing a good talking to my foot does not sort out.

I have worked out I need to be more careful in my foot take off and also wear the five fingers more. I would like to toughen up my feet to handle gravel better in the five fingers so I can do my long runs in them instead of the Asics. I think that will help immensly.

So now I am not sure if I can still claim to be injury free in 2008. It lasted a couple of weeks, I took a whole week off running, but I worked out the problem and solved it before it caused any major catastrophies such as dropping out of the Melbourne Marathon.

In 2 weeks I am doing a 30k race. Well I am not sure whether to do that or the 21.1k but I am inclined to test out my 30k pace. My current worry is that I have not done a long run in a few weeks. I suppose I should just suck it up and deal with it. I felt really good, too good, after the last half marathon. I need to push myself more. Either go further or faster or both. I don’t want to commit just yet, but I think I’ll probably go for the 30k race.

Soon I am thinking about incorporating nutrition into my long runs. I have found some great home made gu/gel type recipes on the net. I am also thinking real food is a good option. Strangely enough, I did by some gels a few months ago but they have sat in the cupboard and not even been looked at. I prefer the idea of real food.

Some ideas I have come across include:

  • Mashed banana with peanut butter
  • Peanut butter, honey, milk powder and optional soy protein isolate formed into balls or rolls coated in cocoa or coconut. Can of course add mashed banana.
  • Piklets with jam, cut up into very small pieces (as white flour makes me feel very full all of a sudden)
  • Peanut butter with honey and hot water to form a more liquid consistancy

There is obviously a common theme here. Peanut butter providing a lot of calories, slow release carbs and protein (not sure how necessary the protein is), and honey providing instant sweet goodness. Banana is obviously good for the potassium. Actually if I liked bananas, I would probably prefer just to eat bananas. But I’m not a huge fan. Anyway, we’ll see how the whole nutrition thing works out.

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