Grandmas Marathon Training Update

>> Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Well, I completed my scheduled 17.5 mile run yesterday, but it wasn’t pretty.

My heel was quite sore by mile 9.5, and I was considering stopping before mile 11. But I knew it was now or never - that marathon is sneaking up. So I pushed through it. I didn’t even cut my run a mile or 2 short - I went as far as planned. My pace was where it needed to be: I ran it in 2:02:09, which was just under 7:00 / mile.

I learned something else quite strange: when I stopped for a minute, my heel would get MUCH more sore and tight when I started back up again. I stopped for about a minute for a gel about half way through the run, and again with about 5 miles left. Both times, when I started back up, I nearly had to limp for a half mile. I learned my lesson (the second time), so those last 5 miles were a straight run home, with NO stops what-so-ever (not even for red lights). I knew if I stopped, it would only get worse. I suppose my achilles was just tightening up, but I was surprised how sore it would get from a 45 second stop. Does this sound weird to anyone?

Bottom Line: There IS some good news: My pace was right where it needed to be (around 7 / mile). And except for my achilles, everything else felt GREAT (my muscles, my feet, my breathing, etc). And I learned that I could work through the pain.

And some bad news: My achilles hurt like a mother on that run, and I don’t want to permanently hurt it. I can run it into the ground up to and during the marathon, and then I can take it easy for a while (my longest event after that is an oly tri). But could I do permanent damage by training through the pain?

Today, it’s pretty sore. In a few days, I’ll try a tempo run. Then I’d like to shoot for 20 or 21 next week as my final long run before the big day. Is this smart? Any help would be greatly appreciated! Thanks y’all!


Anonymous,  10:14 AM, May 28, 2008  

I have no idea if it's smart. I've never had a bad achilles injury.

What I do know is I treated my ankle sprains by shoving my foot in a pot of ice a few times a day. I also rubbed Traumeel on it. It's an anti-inflammatory homeopathic cream you can buy from sports massage places or over the internet. Not sure what if any of these methods worked, but maybe they played a role in me getting better?

Good luck...

E-Speed 10:25 AM, May 28, 2008  

Steve do you wear ankle socks? Also did your achilles problems start after a new shoe? I just wonder if your shoe isn't putting additional pressure on your achilles. Higher socks might relieve some of that. I know a few guys who have made some home remedies by cutting a notch out of the back top of their shoe and adding some cushion to their heel to elevate the achilles a bit and remove that pressure on the ankle.

short of going to a doc I think you have to listen to your own body. It is most likely possible to train and race through this but you need to be consistent with the treatment of the injury and the cause of the injury so that any work you are doing isn't making it worse.

Anonymous,  10:32 AM, May 28, 2008  

You've probably seen this, but is a pretty cool site to map your routes without having to manually do it (other than saying you ran from Point A to Point B). It'll follow the roads you run, you might want to check it out.

Good luck with the marathon!

xt4 10:35 AM, May 28, 2008  

You are one fast dude. Exciting that your pace is, er, on pace for BQ at Grandma's.

Like everybody else...I'm not a doctor, and I don't play one in blogland. My sense is, though, that a serious achilles injury kind of *snaps* suddenly, sometimes with no warning. If you're feeling progressive discomfort, I wonder if you "can't hurt it worse", but will just have to deal with the discomfort. It does sound like your body is saying to stop, though, so...

If you can make it to next week's long run and then really focus on a healthy taper before the event, even if it's a prolonged taper, maybe you'll have the chance you need to heal up a bit. In any case, great work out there and keep it up!

Viv 11:01 AM, May 28, 2008  

I am having some achillies issues right now. Mind you i am not at your distances or geez speed. I have been getting some neuromuscular therapy massages in the area and it is helped. In addition to Naproxen 500 mg twice a day religiously. I have laid off the running for a week and a half and it is feeling better.

Way to get the training miles in. I really hope it will get better. Maybe a little longer taper can help. Good luck to you.

Leah 11:46 AM, May 28, 2008  

Thanks for your comment the other day on my blog! I've been enjoying yours for a while now... Injuries suck. After being seriously sidelined last year with a bad stress fracture, I've gotten pretty conservative about pain. So, I'd go to the doc about the Achilles and possibly re-think the marathon. Yikes! Not what you want to hear, I'm sure! (Meanwhile, I still want to race this weekend despite my current hip issue.)

Kim 1:43 PM, May 28, 2008  

i dont even know where your achilles is, or really how to spell it or say it. but here is my thought. maybe rest? i dont know. whatever.

but you run like the dickens, that much i do know. and the dickens, oh he runs fast.

GoBigGreen 3:35 PM, May 28, 2008  

Ok I am not a Doctor but i have had to play one for work, when the real MD's dont do their job. In my history of seeing patients the ones that "tore" their achilles had very little warning. WHAM! "What did someone hit me in the heel cord with a tennis racket?" So, that being said you are likely not going to tear it unless you step off the curb funny or something. But not during the run.
Physiologically tho, you are tearing it, making little micro-tears, and that is why you have so much pain when it stops contracting and relaxing or the next morning..I cant tell you what to do, but there is a risk you will do some damage that although it isnt "permanent" it may take some time to feel 100% again after the marathon. you just have to decide how important is the rest of the summer, after you run the marathon? And how much do you want to risk? you arent a pro, steve, (Sorry 'bout that, but reality sucks for me as well :') so i would take it day to day, get the Nsaids going, the ice, and by all means go get some ART or massage. Do it.

SM 5:30 PM, May 28, 2008  

Yes it does sound wierd to me. When I stop during my runs, I always feel better when I start running again. When it comes to running or not with achilles pain, I would rather rest now. But you are in a pickle with the mary coming up shortly. I would just ice it after every run.

MissAllycat 7:09 PM, May 28, 2008  

I know exactly how you feel. I absolutely cannot stop/walk during long runs or I pay the price for about 5 minutes after I start running again. OH THE HUMANITY!!

teacherwoman 8:30 PM, May 28, 2008  

I don't know what to tell you. I would hate to see you do more damage to your achilles... good luck with your training.

See You at the Finish Line 7:36 AM, May 29, 2008  

Hi Steve,
I met you & Pharmie @ WIBI last summer. My husband, Howard, was the guy on the motorcycle.
Regarding your 20-miler training run, which has the potential biggest cost? Missing the 20-miler (after doing a 17.5), or doing the 20-miler and flaring the achilles up even more? Which has the biggest potential payoff? Completing another long training run or resting the achilles so it is as rested/recovery as possible?

Yes, I probably am "leading the witness" here. When I was coaching marathon runners for Team in Training, one of my best runners suffered an ITB injury during his 20-miler (which became about 14-15). This was 3 weeks out from the marathon. He only rested until race day (with a couple of short runs that he sneaked in), and had the fastest time of the team. He was already fast. You are already fast.

You could also take the same philosophy above and apply it to whether or not to run the marathon. Payoff vs. cost.

Best of luck Steve! We're pulling for you!

BeachRunner 8:13 AM, May 29, 2008  

Thanks for stopping by my little place in the blogosphere and the kind words. Hope your achilles feels better soon.

B. Kramer 8:15 AM, May 29, 2008  

I hope your Achilles feels better. I usually employ the six-pack cure: icing and numbing. Thanks for stopping by Team HQ. Good luck on the rest of your training.

KodaFit 10:33 AM, May 29, 2008  

I had the same thing with my IT Bands... Every time I walked it got worse. Not exactly the worst thing to have to keep running.

When I asked my doctor about my injury he told me to take a week off and then ease back into it, but he told me to just listen to my body... I took 2 off, and it still didn't help. But 6 weeks later I did a half and got my best time ever. The hardest thing for me was breaking through the mental block that it was hurting - Mine has actually improved as I have gotten back on a regular running schedule.

My point after all of that... I think at the end of the day, you have to let your body be your guide. And if it tells you to rest up until the race - I wouldn't be surprized if you still ace it! Best of Luck!!

Kellye Mills 11:32 AM, May 29, 2008  

First of all, you are so funny! I have to be careful reading your blog in public because I laugh out loud at some of the stuff you write! I’m sure you’re going to get a lot of different advice on this achillies thing, but from my perspective… NO more long runs. Yes… you most definitely can permanently injure yourself in running through this. We all have those aches and pains during races that well you just have to push yourself through, but you get through it and then go home and recover and fix the problem. Training for a marathon at the level that you’re training through an injury could cause you to permanently damage your running or at least put you out for a really long time… The good news is that your running fitness is there. You could not run at all up to the marathon except for some pickups leading into it with just short little muscle memory stuff and go in and run the race you want. You are at the point now, where you will not gain any fitness from the running. It’s more about confidence 3 weeks in, and well you should already have that. So my advise… REST, Recover, ice, ice, stay off of it, and you’ll be fine!! You have in my opinion better chances of having a really solid race with that, than pushing it to where you can’t do it at all because you can’t even walk without a limp. Best of luck!

J~Mom 11:47 AM, May 29, 2008  

I don't have any advice but I hope it feels better soon!!

sRod 12:35 PM, May 29, 2008  

No knowledge of use. But from experience, when you stop to walk everything starts to hurt more.

Benson 12:39 PM, May 29, 2008  

I play a doctor in blogland so listen up...or not.
Your achilles is effed up. How long do intend to keep blasting it before you fix it?
I imagine the drive you have to BQ and when you do BQ at Grandma's, then what?
Coast through tri season with a fubarred achilles?
Go to Boston and hobble through it for bragging rights?
Sounds fun, go for it. live your dream (sarcasm). Then what?
OK enough doctor talk.
Tuff love is easy.

My running is weak and I have no idea what it would be like to BQ and run at a world class event.
I can't imagine the pain you're blocking out. You are mentally tuffer than most people. I hope you heel(pun)up and run even faster pain-free.

the Dread Pirate Rackham 1:45 PM, May 29, 2008  

This is your mother speaking, if your mother had a blog about triathlon and wrote as a pirate.

1) Go Speak To A Specialist.

2) your description could be achilles, or it could be plantar. Does it hurt when you get up in the morning?

3) RICE.

Jenna 3:16 PM, May 29, 2008  

I would say you should skip the long run next weak and rest, ice and try to heal it. If you haven;t seen a specialist - YOU SHOULD. Maybe some ultrasounds can reduce the inflamation, that in combo with some ice baths, oral meds, and some other voodoo .... I see the potential for a disaster if you don't. Listen to your body and it is effing SCREAMING. If you don't you might have a longterm injury that never really goes away. Best of luck!!!

Rainmaker 9:29 PM, May 29, 2008  

My two cents. Skip the tempo (or push it a few more days/ a week). Shorten the long run. You can gut out the miles anyway. Give your gimp thing a moment to rest. Othewrise you'll end up in the same position as me this winter (suckage).

Plus, Marathon season is super-long (and your just at the begining of it). Plenty of time to BQ...and do a better job BQ'ing - AND not screw up tri-season.

Just my two cents. I know how tough it can be to want to race though and just get it out of the way.

Danni 8:21 PM, May 30, 2008  

Hey Steve!
Thanks for commenting on my blog!
I would suggest you lay off your feet for a while. Like Kellye says, your fitness is there already. Better rest up a bit and give that achilles a chance to recover.

Borsch 9:39 PM, May 30, 2008  

I sent my running book home with Steph...take a look through the injury section.

My opinion, go slow on the next long run just to get the miles and wait for the marathon to go full speed and distance.

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