Sunday, January 22, 2006

What to do?

I’m still struggling with my achilles tendon at the moment. It doesn’t actually hurt, but I can certainly feel that something is not quite right, and I’m really unsure on the best way to proceed. I have only run 27 miles this week, which isn’t enough as far as marathon preparation goes, but of course I don’t want to risk a ruptured tendon – that might put me out for the rest of the year, and might never heal completely. I’m icing it a lot these days, and I’m stretching after each run (then again, there are people who advice against those things), and if the pain returns, I will rest again. It is still a bit swollen.

It’s only the right achilles that’s causing me troubles. That doesn’t come as a surprise to me. When I had shin splints last year, they were on my right leg. I got some mild heel spurs (plantar fasciitis) a few months ago, on my right foot. When my legs started cramping during my first marathon, Dublin 2004, it was in the right calf. Several years ago a doctor found some imbalance in my spine, and I had some bone-crunching session with a chiropractor to deal with them. Either those problems are back, or there is something wrong with my running form, or a bit of both. A good doctor might even find a solution to my ongoing troubles, but that’s one of the problems of living in remote Kerry far away from any city centre. Such specialists are very hard to come by – I for one don’t know any, and driving to Dublin on a regular basis is not a realistic option.

This week and the next are cutback weeks in the schedule anyway, so I don’t feel I’ll miss out on much if I drop a few miles of those, as long as I can still get in my key workouts. Thursday’s run was a special one, 15 miles with 12 miles at marathon pace. I’m not sure what my marathon pace should be, and anyway, I couldn’t read the figures on my HR monitor in the dark, so I just went by effort, and tried to keep the pace steady. I was quite pleased at the end to have run the 15 miles in exactly 2 hours, and that includes a drink stop after 9 miles and three time re-tying my shoes in the first 2 miles (I should have paid more attention on how to tie your laces in kindergarten 32 years ago). The fact that I had rested for 3 days before that run probably helped my pace. I still think it’s preposterous to assume that I might be able to keep an 8:00 pace for a whole marathon though, and I still don’t know what time I should be aiming for. 3:30 is 27 minutes off my PR, and definitely looks out of my reach for the time being. Anyway, the achilles didn’t trouble me unduly during the run, but was sore for the rest of the day, which is why I took Saturday off and only ran 6 miles on Sunday.

That on-off schedule will stay with me for at least one more week, I expect.

20 Jan: 15 miles, 2:00, 8:00 pace
22 Jan: 6 miles, 48:53, 8:08 pace


  1. Great pace! Wow, 8:00 for 15 miles!

  2. Ouch. I hope your Achilles gets better, soon! Hopefully the next couple of reduced mileage weeks will help.
    But nice pace despite the pain!!

  3. Being the conservative type that I am, I would say go easy in order to avoid more complication. In any case it's a tough call. You still managed a great pace dispite the pain.

  4. I agree with Jack. However you made a very good workout

  5. I'm confident that you can run a 3:30 marathon, ie. something around 8:00/mi. Never discount the race day adrenaline and excitement factor.

  6. Hi Thomas.
    Sorry to hear about your Achilles. I do hope you can get past it.

  7. I think you're running too fast (especially on easy days) which might contribute to your injuries. Based on your 5k performance (21:23) your easy pace should be around 9:50 min./mile and this pace has to be used for every run except the longruns and other workouts. (formula used is 5k pace/0,75 = easy pace, it's from Tinman)

  8. Tough call on the achilles issue. I have never had any problem with the achilles so I cannot really give you any advice besides the obvious. I hope it all goes away with some rest.

  9. Great pace and great run, but maybe you should see a specialist about the achilles? Like see someone today?? Just a thought! :)

  10. What a pace!!
    Maybe you should save some energy --from that achiles - for the marathon and slow down??
    Well is what came to my mind...
    Usually it happens to me like this too, during the run there is no pain, it comes afterwards.