Running A Marathon. Training Plan Week 5. The Valley Of Despair – Achilles Heel
Running A Marathon. Training Plan: Week 5/30. The Valley Of Despair – Fighting The Frustration Of My Achilles
Running Do’s: Avoid running on sand, soft earth/grass and hills to reduce the likelihood of Achilles injuries.
Running Don’ts: Too much too soon is also a significant contributor to Achilles injury.
Background: I have signed up to the London Marathon 2015, having never run before and recently having undergone major knee surgery (twice). This diary captures the highs and lows of my attempts to get fit enough to run the marathon in April 2015.
I am running for the mental health charity Mind. Please donate on my Virgin Just Giving page – every single penny I raise goes directly to Mind and helping people with their mental health – thank you.
I am following a 30 week marathon training schedule defined by Jeff Galloway the US Olympic Marathon runner. Jeff espouses the run – walk – run method which enables you to gradually build up your strength and endurance.
Week 5 Schedule: 3 Miles (15 sec run/45 sec walk), 2 X 60 min cadence and track sessions
Weekly Diary: Apparently its not the done thing to swear on blogs otherwise this post would’ve been somewhat bluer. To be honest I was absolutely gutted that I had managed to aggravate my achilles. Despite all my best efforts and careful preparation – I had picked up an injury that could be with me for weeks and months.
Hoping against all hope – I gently attempted to walk/run my 3 miler to see if how the Achilles would respond. I could tell also immediately that any sort of exercise would aggravate it so after a gentle warm up I just went for a walk. On a positive note – Jeff’s regime is such that there is always some level of exercise that you can under take – even when you are working through an injury. Furthermore, Jeff is very clear that walking is just as good as running for building endurance – I could at least take some solace from that.
I spoke with Jeff and his view was that the grass I was running on had simply become too soft are the heavy rainfall. In fact Jeff went further to say that running on grass was a common cause of Achilles injuries.
Jeff recommended the following recovery plan:
– ice directly onto the Achilles for 15 mins per night (being careful not to get ice burns)
– do not walk barefoot (even in the house)
– invest in Achilles specific inner soles and use cork heel lifts in all shoes and trainers
– no stretching no matter what
– reduce my walk/runs to 10 secs/40 secs
– only exercise on tarmac roads and pavements
Jeff was very positive that I could overcome the injury if I followed the above steps. The key was to reduce my level of activity to a threshold where I didn’t aggravate the injury – thereby allowing it to heal. Only time would tell how it would heal.
Update: I have to say that my Achilles has improved considerably. I have to keep a very close eye on how it feels and I continue to follow the regime as defined by Jeff. I am hopeful that over time it will heel completely.