Monday, March 16, 2009

Aches and Pains

Ever since I've started running, I doubt there have been more than a couple of weeks where my body has truly been pain free. I've read a lot of books about running and if I took their advice of "zero-tolerance" for pain literally, I would run about one week a month.

I've had pain in my butt, my groin, my quads, my upper thighs, my knees, my feet and my latest: my Achilles. The only pain that I decided to stop for was the knee pain. Turned out that even after stopping for over a week, the pain returned as soon as I started running again. The only way I was able to get rid of the pain was to disregard every advice from running store staff and use minimalist shoes and change my gait. 

My current pain in the right Achilles, more like the base of it at the heel, has been a constant companion since December. It doesn't hurt so much when I run, but rather when I go up the stairs in my house. I have lots of stairs. During last weeks 50k, I didn't even think about it. I'm not sure what triggers it, but I think it's worse after faster runs.

I've done ice, self-massages, Advil. Nothing makes much of a difference. I'm hoping that when I lower my running volume after Sulphur Springs, the pain will disappear, like all the others.

The book "Lore of Running" offers a pretty pragmatic approach to running injuries. One key advice is to find out WHY you have this particular injury. If you don't find out why and just stop running, as soon as you start running again it is bound to come right back. I tried stretching without seeing any change. I ordered new running shoes. We'll see. A lot of aches and pains just disappear, probably because of a gradual change in running form or improved muscle balance. Maybe. 

After yesterday's 20km run, I have to admit that both my feet and surrounding areas were a bit tender. The previous week's race and Saturday's fairly fast tempo run got to me around the 15km mark. I'll take it slow for a few more days.

So I'm pretty happy with where I'm at. My training is going according to plan, I have no major injury. This week is a high volume week, with over 100km (60 miles) of running planned, including 40km on Sunday. I couldn't find a marathon nearby, so I'm going to have to do it by myself. A good opportunity to try to fine tune my nutrition, which I'm not happy with.

See you out there.


George Houston said...

Ouch! I hate it for you.

The book seems to give go advice find out WHY? But that can be the hardest part.

Good Luck with your running this week.

JD said...

Yes the book gives plenty of advice. It's not over 900 pages for nothin'!

Hope you are recovering nicely from your marathon. Well done.

Unknown said...

Your break down of aches and pains sounds like the story of my "running" life!!

Enjoy the blog!


Anonymous said...

As I was reading your post I was thinking, "Hey, that sounds just like me." I was having knee problems so I started training in racing flats (Asics Hyper Speed - over 100 miles worth) and my knee pain went away but I traded it for achilles pain. I was going to refer you to Nokes, but you beat me to it. On p. 827 the first sentence of "Shoes and Orthodics" says it all. I'm going to split the difference and start using a light weight trainer like the Asics DS trainer or possibly the NB 904. Until I get the new shoes (and after as well) I'll be doing the eccentric exercises he prescribes.

JD said...

Thanks ThirstyCrow, somehow I missed it in LOR. Damn, just bought me some super light LunaRacers for my Birthday. I might try to run in my other shoes for a while and see what happens. I'll try those stretches as well.

Anonymous said...

I saw via Twitter where you mentioned that your doc said you could run on your Achilles. I @'ed you, to see (if you didn't mind me asking) what the diagnosis and prescription was. Of course I'm curious being in the same situation. Personally, I switched back to racing flats because my hamstring was the worse of the two evils.

JD said...

Missed your @ on twitter. Messages sometimes scroll fast.

Warning: I saw a physio, not a medical doctor, but she is a top age grouper runner/triathlete.
The diagnosis was vague. She says I have a problem with the range of motion on my right foot and that my right leg is a bit shorter. Not so bad I need orthotics but both those things combined make my tendon work a bit harder.

She massage, prodded, twisted and hurt my leg and heel. I'm supposed to see her a few more times.

She also gave me some exercises and said that from what she saw, I could run on it.

I ran 25 miles on it yesterday and it doesn't feel any worse, so I guess she was right.

I did buy new neutral shoes (Mizuno Wave Rider) for my long run. My LunarTrainers were just killing my toes after 20 miles. I'm going to use the LunaRacers for short (<20k) distances and the Ware Riders for longer runs.