Thursday, November 11, 2010

Concerned and Confused

I am a little more than 3 weeks out from THE marathon and have taken a half day off from work tomorrow to get in my 20 mile run. Following Higdon's Novice plan my subsequent long runs are to be 12, 8 and then the big 26.2.

I don't know if I've been in denial the past couple of weeks or so but I am worried about my achilles and don't know what to do about my 20-miler tomorrow. (Looking for advice) No doubt, my right achilles is sore and it's trying to tell me something. I don't have pain when I run and it's not too obvious when I walk. But rest assured my achilles does NOT like going down stairs. AT. ALL. I hobble down them and I even had to ask my boss if we could take the elevator DOWN yesterday (he knows I'm training and has dealt with his own knee injury recently due to a karate mishap...and we all got the daily updates on injury/rehab/ he was certainly understanding) which was humbling.

I'm 99% sure I know the cause and it's a combination of things:
1. I work in a conservative and professional environment and am a dedicated high heel wearer. 3 or 4 inch heels are no big thing in my book and I often do a lot of walking at work (multiple miles per day). I have some cute flats but they often don't see too much action during the work week, but they do on occasion.

2. I then hop into my running shoes and run hilly routes by default. Believe me, I LIKE flat courses and often go out of my way to choose the flattest route possible. But, as a local running coach likes to remind: We live in the foothills of the Appalachains...there are going to be hills. And hills there are. Rollers and monsters. The Vulcan Run that I ran last weekend is known for a particular "hill" that lasts for a couple of miles in the middle of the course. I was mentally prepared b/c I've heard so much about it but I had ZERO trouble with it (and this was after having knocked out the 1st half of my long run prior to the race). Suffice to say, I am very used to runnng in hilly conditions which only serves to screw with my achilles even further

All this to say: what do I do about this 20 miler? Do I run it tomorrow? Take this weekend off for total rest? Do the bike at the gym on no resistance for cardio purposes (the thought of being sedentary makes me want to yak this close to the end/when I am supposed to be at peak training) Try my 20 miler next weekend? It would leave me with 2 weeks of taper which is still OK. I am not "racing" anything but I don't want to bonk out there on the course. I have felt so good and confident in my long runs this training cycle. Were all of them AWESOME? Of course not. Long runs are HARD. But I generally ended most of them feeling tired but still strong and accomplished, mentally preparing myself for marathon day strategy.

I want to be smart about this. Any words or advice is appreciated.


  1. Not that I'm an expert, but my advice would be to skip the 20 miler this week, rest, ice, and get it done next week, with a 2 week taper.

    Missing the run this week won't end your marathon training, having a bad achilles tendon could put you out of the whole marathon.

  2. Intuitively I know this, but honestly I think I'm pissed and don't want to believe it. It doesn't help that I called the Track Shak (where I have been fitted for shoes and get most of my gear) to ask for a Sports Medicine recommendation and the guy (not a doc, 'just' a runner) and I talked for 15 minutes and possibly got me thinking I could do it tomorrow IF I take a very flat route and stop immediately at the first sign of pain.


    But I do have an appt for 1st thing Monday morning at least.

    I'm less worried about having a 2 week taper since I am SLOW and really what's the difference. I'm just mentally (and physically) geared up to DO THIS which is half the battle for me, knowing I'm going to be out there for 4 hours.

  3. I agree with irun...An injury like this could sideline you. If you insist on running at all, I would try doing a lot of back of the leg stretches, a good slow warm-up, and a sufficient cool-down. It's good that you're going to the doctor!

    Also, if it's any help, I did my marathon with my longest training run at around 17 miles. If you can do 15, you can do 26.2 without bonking. Just maintain good nutrition before and during the run, and you will be fine!

  4. Thanks, H! I've done 19 and been fine (tired but fine) so that really does make me feel better. I've pretty much resigned myself to cross training (bike only, no resistance) for the weekend and until I can come up with a medically approved game plan.

    As an aside, the sports med I am going to is a female and a runner (marathoner) as well so that makes me feel better knowing that she fully understands all aspects of this.

  5. Bummer about the Achilles. I agree w/ the comments about delaying the 20 miler until next weekend. A two week taper should be plenty. Also, and I'm sure you have thought about this, any way you could cut back the heel-wearing just a bit? I have a huge shoe collection myself but I've had to limit the number of days I wear them or my knees have some complaints!

  6. Sorry I'm late on this one!
    So what did you decide to do? Did you run 20 or decide to wait until next weekend?

  7. sisterbison--I am laying off of the super tall heels for now and will try to rotate flats in as I can. All of my dress pants are hemmed to accomodate heels so I am also trying to mix in skirts/dresses as I can to allow for wearing flatter shoes.

    April--I decided to "rest" and wait to see what the doc said before going out on the 20. And by "rest" I mean an hour of cross training (bike/arc trainer) at the gym on both Saturday and Sunday. I just couldn't stay sedentary!