S.O.S Achilles Tendonitis!

Hi everyone,

As soon as I upped the intensity of the training for the MK 2012 (29th April, Milton Keynes) an injury appeared, the dreaded AchillesTendonitis of which I had never heard before. I had never suffered anything like that before, only an ITB from which I've healed completely. Apart from the first time it appeard, some weeks ago, the AT doesn't hurt too much actually, and just shows when I do long runs of 13 miles upwards. Being at half point of my marathon training this is an scary issue because it poses a real threat to my very first race ever. I've still got 8 weeks in front, and I've already decided to ditch any tempo, hill or intervals altogether and just do normal running and the long run. The last lon run I did, I noticed a bit of strange feeling there in the tendon, but never got too bad. Today instead I couldn't finish the fartlek session because it was obvious that I would have only made it worse. Have any of you been in a similar situation? Is 8 weeks enough time to recover from this? OMG, I've got so many interrogants in my head. Many thanks!


  • I'm no doctor but I can speak from experience - it depends how bad you've let it get. 8 weeks should be plenty of time if you can rest it plenty(but that's not going to help your training!).

    I recommend you thoroughly warm up at the start of each training session and really spend time stretching it out at the end then ice it for 30 minutes. You should find this helps.

    I assume you are wearing the correct shoes for your pronation needs? If you've not been to a proper running shop for your shoes, I recommend you do so soon, so you can ensure you are not starting a marathon on new shoes!

    Hope you get it sorted and good luck in the marathon.
  • Thanks Deepdown. Apart from the first time it appeared, the discomfort I feel every now and then does not reach a level you could call painful, but I'm sure this is because I've stopped running everytime I felt the AT building up.

    I'll be warming up more thoroughly from now on, and make sure I ice the tendon after a run. About the shoes I'm using I think they are ok, but they're also a bit worn out and made for trail-off road, so it may be time to buy new shoes for the race and start training with them.

    What I was wondering is if someone else has been in a situation where he/she had to take a drastic decision about their training in order to save the race, and what kind of decision would that be. In my case I'm going to drop all high intensity workouts from now on and see what happens.

  • "A bit worn out and made for trail off-road" sounds like it could be part of the problem. There must be a proper running shop in MK?

    It sounds like you're sensibly reducing the intensity of your training - over training can induce AT (its a typical over use injury).

    If it gets a lot worse, it may be worth considering sacrificing the race for the sake of your Achilles Tendon - there are always other races.

    Lets hope your plan solves the problem and your race goes without a hitch.
  • Are you sure its AT?

    Have you had an expert diagnosis of that or is it internet based self diagnosis?

  • EA, I suffered Achilles Tendonitis in the two months preceding my first Ironman.  It killed me to accept that I needed to give up running and train exclusively on bike and in pool (which didn't aggravate injury) but it meant Achilles got necessary rest and whilst it gave some discomfort on raceday, I made it.

    Like others, make sure you have diagnosis right and listen to your body for feedback.

    The one thing I can recommend that will not do any damage and really helped in my recovery, eccentric calf stretches (see link below).  Twenty in the morning, twenty in the evening.  Boring but give it a try for a fortnight, it's bound to help!



  • T RexT Rex ✭✭✭

    The main thing to do is ditch any idea of a time target for your marathon.  This will put you and the injury under undue pressure.  Accept that you may just be "getting round" on this occasion but there will plenty more.

    What you're cutting out of your training sounds the right thing to do.  I'd keep going gently.  You will experience discomfort at the beginning of your run but often with AT this eases off after a few miles, and then perhaps comes back later when you should think about stopping.  Certainly top if you ever get acute, sharp pain from the area.  Stretch calves after every outing and ice if swollen.  I was in the habit of immersing my foot and ankle in a bucket of cold water for 15 minutes at different times through the day, mealtimes, etc.

    Try to find someone who can give you a good diagnosis on the extent of the injury, not necessarily a GP unless knowledgeable about sports injuries.

  • Hi again. Just to update the situation. I feel much better now since I stopped intervals, tempos, hills and fartleks. Shame because it was fun and thrilling.

    Basically I performed one of the long runs, a half marathon, with a nagging feeling in the achilles area, but I didn't think it was going to get worse than that, so I kept on running. Immediatly after I finished the run the pain seemed to increase but it never got as bad as when I suffered it for the first time. That time I was limping for the next hours after suffering the injury, to give you an idea.

    After that long run I left two whole days rest and did just a couple of short runs of about 4 miles before the next long run, which was a mere 12 miler at a very gentle pace. I finished it feeling almost OK, but it was evident that the culprit, as you guys rightly point out was overtraining. My next long run will be this Sunday and I'm pretty sure it will be just fine...hopefully. Steep tracks seem to bring back the injury, so I'll be avoiding them. One thing I find curious is that the end of this Achilles Tendonitis is marked also by the dissapearance of the stiffness I felt in both Gastrocnemius. I'm sure there's a strong relation between both there.

     Many thanks to you all.

  • You mention a tight Gastrocnemius. I am sure that was a contributor. Or rather an indicator of an underlying problem. As you say... probably over-use via hill work... and hence increased stress. If your calf muscles are being overused and are tight then the Achilles will also be suffering in the same way... as it is the connection between the muscle and bone... and the point of most stress...

    Glad to see you have found a remedy that works for you though. Hopefully you remain injury-free for a while.
  • Hi LeedsNick!

    As far as I know, the only remedy was to rest, but the link that Proven Robbie W included in his post was helpful too. Thanks for claryifing the relationship between gastrocs and tendon. In the early stages of my training I felt invincible and did silly things like climbing a massive hill 8 or 9 times in the space of one hour. The good thing is that now I'm starting to see the cause-effect relation of the way I perform at every session, so I hope will learn from this lesson image!

  • ^But no need to give up on hill running completely. Just add it in slowly. Too much too soon is usually the cause of most injuries... but hill running and speed work is important in developing your running. Anyway... I am sure you'll learn what works the more you run... image
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