Running A Marathon. Training Plan Week 5. The Valley Of Despair – Achilles Heel

Running A Marathon. Training Plan: Week 5/30
Running A Marathon. Training Plan: Week 5/30

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.

Running The London Marathon For Mind

Running The London Marathon For Mind

I am running for the mental health charity MindPlease 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.

Fingers crossed.

My name is Andrew and I live in the UK. I am married with 3 girls.

After a career as a Management Consultant spanning 20+ years, I left the bright lights of the city and am focusing my attention on Leadership Coaching and Development. In truth, I felt there was more to life than Microsoft PowerPoint and I have always enjoyed people development and while life as a freelancer scares the bejesus out of me – it has given me renewed energy.

At the same time as changing job, I wanted to take the opportunity to get fit again. When I say “fit” I mean properly fit. Not just a couple of weeks of effort followed by months inactivity (other than talking about getting fit and buying loads of gear) until my next ‘fitness fad’ came around!!

So back in October 2014, I decided that enough was enough and I was going try and start running – again! The challenge was that I was over-weight, really lacked any self-belief or had any real idea of where to start next. My state of mind was not helped by the fact I had recently undergone a series of knee operations which had had a slow (and painful) rehabilitation!

Despite all of this negativity, I found myself really wanting to run a marathon. On one hand it felt completely impossible, but on the other if felt like a real tangible goal, which, if I could achieve it would instil real belief and pride that I had achieved something special. I could have chosen the half-marathon – which is also a tough nut to crack – but in my head it had to be the full 26.2 miles. I really wanted to say that I was “a marathon runner”.

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