running blog


Taper tantrums

Sorry there’s no write-up about the Great South Run yesterday, I’m afraid to report that I was a No Show. I made the sensible decision earlier last week not to run it. I’ve had ongoing Achilles niggles for the past few weeks and I knew that I would not take it easy but end up trying to beat last years time and 10 miles at decent pace on hard tarmac would not be good for my Achilles nor leave me in fresh enough shape to run Rutland Water Marathon at the weekend.

Apart from that one sensible decision, not to race but to stick to easier paced taper runs on soft surfaces, the rest of my taper so far has been full of tantrums! Well not real tantrums but sometimes I wish I could have!

My first tantrum was about shoes.  I know, less than two weeks before a marathon this isn’t ideal but the seed was sown when both sport massage therapist and BMF instructor suggested my shoes are worn out.  I’ve also been reading far too much about injuries and running shoes and have self diagnosed that the probable cause of my pain was overdoing it in low drop minimalist shoes. (Particularly my two half marathons in 2 weeks) which has put my tendon under strain.  Whilst I mid foot strike most of the time, when my legs are tired my form slips and I heel strike, particularly in ‘long run shuffle mode’ putting impact on my legs when wearing shoes with less cushion in the heel.

So I then I read that more of a heel lift would ease the strain on the Achilles so pulled out my Mizuno Wave Creations with a more cushion and a bigger heel toe drop and wore them to BMF.  They seemed good,  my ankle was less sore, however with orthotics they are now about half a size too small and my toes touch the end. NO way can I run a marathon in them and keep my toes!  Panic stations!  So I’ve faffed and panicked trying to get hold of a pair a half-size bigger and wondered how I can wear them in and wasted days staying in for next day deliveries which don’t arrive.

Tantrum 2 was my last longer run before Rutland instead of GSR. I aimed for about 8 to 10 miles at easy pace and set out on a new bit of cycle path on Sunday lunchtime.  I was over dressed, the cycle path was too long straight and boring, I was huffing and puffing, I hated the shoes I was running in which felt like I was running in treacle, my head wasn’t in it and my ankle was beginning to ache and burn so I rang my husband to collect me after 5 1/2 miles.  I came home in a very despondent mood complaining about everything and anything.

Tantum 3 my husband has developed a stinking cold manflu.  I am staying as far away as possible, obsessively washing my hands every 5 minutes, opening all the windows, overdosing on vitamin C and zinc and eating as many anti-oxidants that I can, and Jaffa cakes.

Don’t worry, as we get closer, sanity is returning.  I have to keep reminding myself I’ve made it round 24 miles OK.  I have several pairs of running shoes to return to the shops and will no doubt end up wearing one of the pairs I’ve trained in. And if I catch the cold or my Achilles pulls me up there are plenty of other marathons.


Lazy Saturday and Bandaged

Juneathon Day 11.  A lazy Saturday after going out last night.  The Teenager and his brother didn’t surface until midday having still been still up and dressed on our return home at 11.30pm (oops!) and the Teenager having finished his exam week.  I had the usual  dilemma over whether to get up and put on running kit instead of getting properly showered and dressed to save repeating the process after a run.  Being somewhat tired, and fuzzy headed I took the least effort option but being hungry and having an achy Achilles I did not run first thing.   In fact I continued  to carry out my day, delivering and collecting the pre-teen, so he could keep his friend ‘safe’ from an excess of girls at his friends sister’s birthday party, collecting my car from the tube station where I left it last night, buying a birthday gift and so on all in my run kit with the excuse… ‘ I’m about to go for a run…’

Yes, my Achilles is still niggling.  I find that I get the most discomfort after wearing heels.  I don’t wear high heels very often (I can’t walk in them, because of weak ankles!  There-in lies the problem!) but when I do for an occasional evening, especially when I’m running a lot,  it hurts.  I’m therefore now going to spend the rest of Juneathon in my running shoes or fitflops!

Last week tryingtorun advised me to try an Achilles strap. I’ve researched them with a friend, who has a similar injury, and it looks like it could be a good option so I’m going to order one for support when running. We’ve also been advised to do regular exercises to strengthen our ankles  such as one-legged stair raises and one-legged squats.

In the mean time I’ve tried a tubie-grip bandage on my ankle for one run (helpful) but find the best treatment is to ice my legs and feet post run and then swathe myself in a compression bandage from knee to toes for the evening.

Not quite as comprehensive as this but still important!

With wine O’clock fast approaching I finally got going just before 6pm today…  By then my ankle had stopped aching and I felt more confident for a slightly longer run. I headed for Hyde Park and a version of my usual to the Serpentine then loop back towards home.  I left in a rush and forgot my water and sunglasses so was choking a bit on the pollen grit in the air.  I really missed my sunglasses.  Not because it was sunny or there were lots of flies to avoid but because while moving to one side of the path to get out of the way for a park maintenance vehicle I ran under a tree and got a branch full in the face.  Ouch.  No harm done and no-one noticed so pride fully intact! I’m obviously not as short as I think I am and need my contacts prescription reviewing.  No wonder I can’t park if my distance perception is so bad!

My attempts to try to look unapproachable and oblivious to tourists are obviously not working.  On the return leg (Bee Gees fad still on full volume) I was asked directions by some french (?) tourists. Fortunately for them there is only one Princess Diana fountain and even I can’t mess up the instructions for straight on!

My lower legs held up for a little more distance but were feeling tight by the last half mile so no more today.

4.81 miles   45.23 mins



Juneathon Day 5. My Achilles tendon has flared up again.  I woke up this morning and my right Achilles tendon was tight and painful. Probably caused by a long evening out on silly, unstable high heels and last weeks increase in exercise with the Bupa 10K and Juneathon.   I therefore left my Juneathon efforts until later in the day when my legs were warmed up and feeling more supple (and the fuzzy head cleared).

By the time I found some clean running socks with as few holes as possible it was raining.  I laced up my most comfy cushioned running shoes, told my reluctant self to go as slow as possible and selected some appropriately mellow music.  A uneventlful slow plod.  I didn’t have any problems holding myself back! and the rain was a refreshing change to yesterdays heat.

4.01 miles in 41.17 mins.

This would have been 3.89miles, but I ran on past my house just to please the rounder-uppers of you.  unfortunately I had slow reactions hence the 0.01!

I’ve now done plenty of appropriate stretches and am icing my heel. Next I’m off to search through the Juneathon blogs, where I’m sure I’ve seen some useful advice on Achilles tendon treatment, to read what else is worth trying.