A forced off-season

Thursday, 3rd September 2009

It was a tough decision, but I've finally conceded that I will not be running a hundred miles on the 12th September. I managed to get through much of last week pain free and was looking forward to kick-starting this week in earnest, getting back in to some condition before a final taper next week for the onslaught.

Monday morning was a 60 minute hit out. The Achilles and Post Tib felt good. I could still feel a slight niggle towards the end of the run though - and then it got really sore afterwards during the day. At that point I realised that there is no way that I can do another 19 hours of running to finish 160km. I would rather not start the race than DNF because I did further damage to my Achilles.

After a heap of research, poking and prodding, it appears that I have the symptoms of Achilles Tendinitis. This has the potential to become an ongoing chronic problem if not managed properly in the early stages. I believe that it has arisen as a result of doing concentrated insane hill work in close succession. Although I incorporate a fair bit of hill running in my schedule, in the last week prior to my injury I was running the steep section from Aeroglen - Stratford rd up under the power lines to the top of Mt. Lumley. I was crowing about the fact that a virtually vertical ascent is now runnable. I was doing this run every time I came around from Freshwater, regardless of whether it was just a short run, or at the end of a 6 hour run. Up to Mt Lumley and then home via the Blue Arrow.

The good thing is that I have been able to isolate the cause of the problem. It is not a case of reverting to orthotics / new runners / new running style etc - more a case of cutting out incessant hill climbing, which stresses the calves and inturn damages, Achilles tendons.

The next two or three weeks will now be my off-season. I just realised that the weekend passed, was exactly one year to the day that I ran the Kokoda in PNG. Over this 12 month period I have probably had only one week of consecutively no running. Now is as good a time as any to take a needed break and recover from injury.

I have also found the elliptical trainer at the gym to be very useful. It closely resembles a running style, yet has no impact on the major joints, and providing one keeps their feet flat, the Achilles is not stretched either.

Over the past three weeks I have really ramped up with massage therapy. Gavin Butler from Butler's Body in Balance has done a great job in isolating where the problem is arising from, and working on mobility from there. I cannot stress the importance of massage and even more so in a situation like this. I generally get massage every two weeks although have been having it twice a week for three weeks. I think it is so important to give back to you body what you take out of it. We service our vehicles to maintain longevity - our body's are far more important and therefore require extra care and maintenance. Not only when niggles arise, but keeping up a regular massage routine can assist in injury prevention. We all know that prevention is better than cure.


#1 Jackhammer 2012-11-17 23:04
How on earth did you run the power line track up to Mt Lumley from Stratford? I made my first ascent/ descent along this track today and it is wickedly steep in parts? Well done for Solar Eclipse marathon on Wednesday too...

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