Beginning to feel some "disturbance" in my left achilles tendon

by Roar H
(Bardufoss, Troms, Norway)

Acilles problems

"Hi Marius. Some background first.

I`m a norwegian from Bardufoss (north of Norway)who started on your 100day mp 5 weeks ago. Some background info. After 4 years away from any running I started to run in May 2011. No special plan really, but did approx 1-2 interval sessions (4x4min, effort 4) and maybe 1 session effort 2 every week. In the beginning I used a threadmill, but during summer I started running outside on asphalt. Well, all in all i had 2-3, sometimes 4 sessions a week. But according to my Polar ProTrainer statistics, I never ran more than 15-20km a week. Also I was 10kg overweight (170cm, 80kg).
In mid December I got into your program and started with Introductory week 1 on the 20th of December. At that time I also had lost a lot of weight by regulating my food intake, so I weighted 69kg when I started your program. Today I am 67kg and still 170cm tall.

I follow the schedule for 3:15 marathon finish time. All in all everything has went extremely well through all of the introductory weeks. I have followed your plan by the numbers having sessions mon, tue and wed, rest on thursday and off with the last 2 sessions on fri and saturday, rest again on sunday. Mixing between hard one day, and easy the next an so on. To be honest, this has been a revolution to me, only now I have realized that in all previous years I have obviously trained too hard on easy sessions.

Anyway, no problems so far, and I will like to add that 90% of all the sessions have been outdoors and 10% indoors on a threadmill. But well into Week 1 of the "Start 5/10k of the marathon program period" when I was out finishing the last session of that week with the 2hrs run/walk session, I felt some "nagging" in my left achilles tendon towards the end of the session.

I must tell you that it was 17 degrees below zero that day, so it was a cold day, but my legs and upper torso was quite warm. But since it was so cold that day, I had to speed up a bit to keep warm. The result was that I ended up with 56% of the time in effort 2 (never above 144bpm though) and the remaining time in effort 1 (between 116-139bpm). My max heart rate is 193 (measured 2 different times). Yeah I know I should have spent the entire session in effort zone 1, but then I would probably frozen to death. Yeah, I know, next time I`ll run inside when the temperatures are so low.

So after that 2hrs walk/run (saturday the 14th jan) I used ice to cool my achilles on my rest day (sunday 15th). The "nagging" feeling gradually went away and I decided to continue the program on monday 16th jan). Since I do every week twice, it was again time for the 6x800m with running 400m recs, finishing off with SS. During this session, I did feel some "irritation" in the achilles again, but gradually it went away during the session. Finished off with 15 minutes in a cold bath, cooling the legs. That did wonders and I was completely fine until today (17th jan) when it was time for the 60min easy running session.

That same feeling was there, never really painful, but there is definitively "something" in my achilles. Gradually, during the session it disappeared, but approx 30 minutes after finishing the session it came back and this time it was more like a felt pain. Used ice again to cool off the achilles and that really helps.
But now I am afraid that I do have tendencies to achilles tendonittis or something like that. I plan to take it easy one whole week from running now and do alternative excercises like spinning, use a crosstrainer and maybe a rowing machine instead. R

eally do everything else that wont unneccessary provoke the achilles. Since I cannot swim and hate cross county skiing that are my options if you dont have any other suggestions?

I plan to run in oslo Marathon as my debut marathon and it is approx 220 days or so until that competition. So yeah I got some time I guess. Hence I do every week in your program twice before moving on to next week as you recommend.

I vary between different type of shoes when running, both indoors and outdoors. I use Asics DS Racer, Adidas Tempo, Salomon Speedcross 3, Asics Gel Noosa tri7 (similar to DS Trainer), Icebug MR 2 and also Inov-8 Oroc 280. All have been used during my last 6 months of running. I have a pair of Asics gel Kayano 17 as well, but seldom use them because I don't like the running feel they give me, besides, I am a forefoot runner now, and they just don`t feel good to me (have only used Kayano and DS trainer previously years though).

What type of training do you recommend for me given the situation I am in, or maybe can be in if I don`t listen to the signals sent from my achilles? Should I just totally rest for a couple of weeks or rest but just doing some easy spinning, rowing and crosstrainer use? No hard sessions of course.

Any other suggestions of treatment that could help my probable beginning achilles injury? I have not been to a doctor yet though.

Best regards, Roar!"

Answer: Hi Roar and thanks for your question.

First off, I would get in touch with a doctor and get a prescription of Voltaren (diclofenac) right away. A "first time" achilles problem like that, is something that usually react real well to anti-inflammatories and it can safe you alot of problems later.

Second off, take this injury very seriously. You do not want to "mess around" with an achilles tendon injury. So take the time you need away from running - especially hard sessions and instead alternate crosstrainer + bike BUT you can still do the same workouts as in the 100 day plan but instead on the bike.

Third, get to a speciality running store and change shoes, based on treadmill analysis there. No matter what type you use now, you want to do a change.

Forth, go heavy on the calf muscle massage. Every other day, 15-20 minutes is enough. Both legs. I talk about that in the 100 day plan a little bit, but if you have trouble doing this yourself, get a good massage therapist to do so.

Those things together will help you get over this hopefully.

Once you start running again, do so on the treadmill first only and gradually start increasing speed and length of the workouts. VERY easy in the beginning both in terms of length + intensity. Start with 3 minutes first day, rest the second, then 5 minutes third day, rest the fourth day then 10, then 15-20 etc. Go very gradual.

I wish you all the best,

PS : do try and make questions as general (vs. personal) as possible - so that others can relate as well. See the Q and A page concerning that.

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