I’m now on my fourth day since injuring my Achilles on my Thursday tempo run. My current focus is taking a full week off running whilst doing stretching, icing, massage and as much cross training as I can.
The Run Less Run Faster book says:
Do not be concerned about a missed workout, nor should you try and squeeze it in later. Stay on schedule with the next workout and don’t risk interfering with it. … It becomes more complicated if you missed a workout because of injury. … If you miss a week of training it’s typically not a problem, either. Over 16 weeks you aren’t going to lose your fitness with missing a week. Again, continue with the schedule as if you had completed that missed week’s training.
There are a few things I’m going to do this week to try and make sure I both recover quickly and return to running (if I am able) as fit as possible. The main focus is getting blood to the area, The ‘Lore of Running’, a.k.a ‘The Bible’ says that one of the reasons why achilles injuries can take a while to heal is lack of blood flow to the area.
KT Tape, like Rock Tape is a special tape which is meant to have the same stretch as human skin. You can layer it on different areas to give support and promote blood flow (and thus healing) to the affected area. It’s also meant to be waterproof, but that’s not proven to be true so far :p. Saying that I am using the classic and not the pro version.
So far it’s definitely helping in terms of support and pain relief. I’m putting it on after swimming and then wearing it through the night until the following day.
I found a useful video about how to apply it for heel pain:
We get a weekly vegetable box, this week they gave us some free chilled stuff and it had a convenient freezable ice block. I’ve misappropriated it for icing my heel. I was doing it twice a day at the weekend, during the week I’ll be doing it every evening for half an hour or so before bed whilst keeping my foot raised above my heart.
I was also confused about heat vs. cold on injuries - I read the other day though that cooling the area brings blood to it in order to try and warm it up so I guess that makes sense now. I also read that you should avoid heat until the swelling goes down.
The length of my left Achilles was a bit sore so I’ve been massaging that in the morning and before I go to sleep + any other time I get the chance. I also bought some deep heat lotion for sports massage which has been really good. Additionally I’ve been massaging the bone on the back of my heel where the focus of the pain is. Another person on a forum said that if you’re starting to get a heel spur forming there, massage can help break down the calcifying bits. Additionally, like the icing, massage promotes blood flow.
I’m doing two stage calf stretches whenever I go near a flight of stairs. So first where you lower the foot, the second where you then bend the knee. I’m trying to do about 20-30 seconds per stretch and repeat them too if I get a chance.
I think one of the contributing factors to getting this injury was insufficient stretching after my runs resulting in a tight calf muscle and Achilles.
Last but not least is cross training. When I go back to running I want to lose as little fitness as possible. The program I’m following advocates two cross training sessions a week of about 1hr total, which I have been more than doing. This week I’m going to cycle to and from work each day (1hr total per day) as well as my usual three mid week swims (1.5hrs) I also did two extra swims at the weekend (1hr) so that should give me 7.5hrs cross training. I’m missing about 4hrs of running, so hopefully this will balance out.
I’m confident that I can stick to all of that - it’s not like I don’t have enough time with the running gone — and hopefully I might come back stronger from the rest. I’ll assess the injury towards the end of the week with an easy run and see how it feels. My expectation is that I need to introduce some body weight strengthening exercises beyond yoga and I may have to scale back the speed work for a few weeks.
The most important thing is that I stop this from getting any worse and make sure it has a chance to heal properly. No more over achieving in the wind!