Running A Marathon. Training Plan Week 4. The Curse Of Achilles.
Running A Marathon. Training Plan: Week 4/30. The Joy Of Compression Sleeves And The Curse Of The Achilles Heel
Running Do’s: Compression leg sleeves can help to enhance endurance during long runs and workouts as well as reduce the likelihood of shin splints. Wear them on and after your runs.
Running Don’ts: Running with a partner or group that is significantly faster (or slower) is best avoided no matter how funny/good-looking/rich they are as it will only disrupt your training plans.
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 feel free to 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 American Olympic Marathon runner. Jeff espouses the run – walk – run method which enables you to gradually build up your strength and endurance.
Week 4 Schedule: 8 Miles (15 sec run/45 sec walk), 2 X 60 min cadence and track sessions
This week I actually decided to check my training programme and run the proper distance. So I re-walk/ran the 8 miles. To be honest it was much the same as running
last week – although I did try and focus on my walking sections and inject some pace – I recognised that I was tending to go AWOL and would let my mind wander. With a bit of focus and attention on my running form I could achieve better times. I also wore a pair of Compression leg sleeves as I had noticed on my last run that my shins were creaking a bit (a highly technical term I know!!). I have to say they made an immediate difference – the niggles on my shin stopped immediately – no wonder they have been given rave reviews. A great piece of kit.
Coming into my shorter sessions I was still full of beans. This running malarkey was easy. I don’t know what all the fuss was about. Forget marathons – I figured I was more of an ultra marathoner! Alright I hadn’t quite cracked the Cadence Drill’s yet and I had frightened small children with my running rear – but on the positive side – I had knocked out a 6 miler last week hadn’t I? This was going to be easy. Then I was introduced to a key part of any runners anatomy – the Achilles Heel.
I first noticed my Achilles pulling when I was doing my 800m drills. On the 4th drill I started to feel a warm pulling sensation just above my right heel. It didn’t really hurt at all but it didn’t feel right either. One thing I have learned over the years is not to push through an injury – Jeff had been very clear on this topic too. Jeff’s guidance is that niggles are all part of the running – the skill is to know when a niggle is just a niggle or actually something more sinister. How are you supposed to know I hear you cry? Well don’t ask me ask Jeff!
Actually Jeff’s guidance is simple. If you feel a niggle then walk for 1-2 minutes to see if it disappears – if does, great, you can carry on running. If not try walking for 3-5 minutes and again see if it disappears. If not, then call it a day. Do not try and run through it as this will typically cause more damage.
There is bucket loads of information available regarding the cause and treatment. Unfortunately it is not aligned with the one exception – never attempt to run off an Achilles injury it will cause more damage!! The less damage the quicker it will heal. I was gutted as I trudged home – I had had so many false starts before and this felt like another one. I also knew enough about Achilles injuries that they are complicated things to treat – you can’t just pop a pill. They can take months to heal – the only positive I could take was that I was 99% sure that I had not ruptured the tendon – there had been no popping sound. I just hoped that I had done too much damage and that I would be able to manage my way through it – .after all wasn’t this the whole point of the walk-run-walk programme?