Leaving the house at 4am for a 6am arrival in Eastbourne, I didn’t envisage being back home by 9am. Prepared for my longest run to date, the Action Challenge 100km run from Eastbourne to Arundel across the South Downs was an event I had been looking forward to since crossing the line of Race to the King.
However, the week prior to the race, I had been in Spain doing some mountain biking and bit of fell running. My achilles problem had got progressively worse after becoming a minor niggle about 6 months ago and my buddy, Tim, a surgeon, urged me to get some professional advice after seeing me innocuously knock on it on a chair leg and curse several times.
The onset of this niggle coincides with my increased mileage and has simply highlighted a weakness in me; flexibility. A misaligned achilles tendon coupled with 40 all-terrain miles per week is apparently enough to flag up these bodily quirks in my aging limbs.
The Official Diagnosis
The diagnosis is achilles tendonopathy according to my foot and ankle specialist. However, for those with achilles pain, don’t assume this is what you have. This article in the Guardian is a pretty good summary of the different issues with this particular tendon and surrounding muscles.
Flexibility needs to pay a bigger, permanent part of my training. Its got to be factored in like any other training run, cycle, turbo session or HIIT. I knew this but just have tried to wing it for as long as I can. It’s no coincidence that during two events in which I’d included yoga as part of my training, I’d felt at my all-time strongest.
Daily stretching is absolutely essential. 10 times per day. Loading of the tendon is also part of the plan as is physio ‘hands on’ treatment.
My fear of a full rupture has been put to bed and it’s simply up to me. The success of this rehabilitation depends of how easily that I accept that my training has to evolve in order to keep going at the pace, distance and intensity I aim for.
So the 100km is on ice but I’m very much looking at partaking in the distance as part of my 2017 diary along with the cycling goals too…
See you at the yoga studio.