Friday, November 28, 2008

Someone said:

Hi Thomas,
I'm hoping that you or somebody on your blog will be able to give me some advise. The week after completing the Dublin marathon I developed a pain just below my ankle. It is at its worst first thing in the morning when I get out of bed. The strange thing is that it seems fine when I run on it. I have replaced running with an hour on the bike in the gym each night for the past two weeks but the problem remains. Do you think I should go back running, stay on the bike or give it complete rest. (I hate rest!!)

My answer: I have a rather more casual view on injuries than most runners, something that backfired rather spectacularly on me at the beginning of the year. I can’t speculate on the nature of the problem, but if it seems fine when you run on it, it would do just that – run on it (I hate rest just as much). Other people would be much more cautious, and the decision is yours only. I’ve had a pain in my left foot since April, and I’m still running. Massaging the foot regularly has helped a lot.

Enviably fast runner Eric recently spent 21 miles on a treadmill, something I cannot even begin to contemplate. His answer to my comment also reveals a difference in our winter outlook. He prefers running in –20F and snow rather than 40F and rain. I disagree, which probably means we should never swap locations.

Incidentally, 40F and rain was pretty much what I have been dealing with over the last few mornings. On days like that the most difficult part of the workout is opening the front door. Once you have mastered that obstacle, the run itself will be fine. As a result of the slowly increasing mileage, Wednesday went into double digits, but 10 miles at an easy effort doesn’t particularly tax me. I was more worried about Thursday. After Tuesday’s scare I had real doubts if doing the same set of exercises was a good idea, but eventually decided to go ahead with them anyway because I didn’t think it was the exercises that brought on the episode. I made sure to pause long enough between each drill to bring the heart rate down, and guess what? I felt fine. The only reason why I cut it short by a minute or two was the next freezing cold rain shower.

Because there is a race on tomorrow I limited myself to 6 miles this morning. I added a few strides on the way home, to remind the legs what faster running feels like. If that helps for tomorrow or not I don’t know, but it sure was fun the stretch them out once more. Obviously I turned off the HR alarm for that, which felt strangely satisfying. I have vowed to turn it on again after the race, though.

26 Nov
10 miles, 1:20:38, 8:04 pace, HR 146
27 Nov
9 miles, 1:11:34, 7:57 pace, HR 147
28 Nov
6 miles, 47:08, 7:51 pace, HR 148
including about 8 x 20-30 secs sprints


  1. Hi Thomas. Hopefully that high heart rate was a blip. I remember recording a 215 HR halfway through a marathon and I felt find (probably a mis-read). However on recent runs my "measured" HR junps to the 170's at the start only cominmg down to the 130's as I near the 1 mile mark - probably some oddity related to the garmin.

    Best of luck tomorrow..

  2. You should be all nicely recovered and ready to use that marathon strength for a good result. Have a great race.