Sore Achilles

Thanks for stopping by
I am running the London marathon next year for the Mental Health Foundation so have selected a training program that seems to fit my needs. I’ve ran the marathon before in 2006 but back then it wasn’t really about a time for me. I just wanted to finish on the same day I started and raise money for a charity that meant something to me. I ended up coming in just under 6 hours which at the time i was happy with.
Not really done any running since although I do regularly exercise and consider myself to be a physically fit person. So from early may (after losing almost 2 stone from Christmas) I started tailoring my exercise to running slowly building up my miles and pace. Last Saturday (19/8/12) I ran 8 miles at an average pace of 8:55. I am hoping for a sub 4.5hour marathon next year so this pace is great for me. As part of my training I intend to run a half marathon sometime in November hopefully around the 2 hr mark. The program I am following at the moment is a sub 2.5hr Half Marathon program over 16 weeks. The program consists of 3 short runs during the week and a long at the weekend. Then every 4 or so weeks the mileage drops back to allow you to absorb the training so far. From what I gather this is pretty much the norm and it is also how I trained for my Marathon back in 2006 but obviously at much slower pace.
After completing week 4 both my Achilles where very sore, they were tender to the touch and very stiff in the mornings. This has been getting progressively worse over the previous week. After a bit of reading it seems this is early signs of achilles tendinosis?
This week (week 5 of training) is a lower mileage week so I have laid off the running and cycled instead. I have been taking ibuprofen regularly, stretching my Achilles through the day and have upped my protein intake in an attempt to help my Achilles recover. They are feeling much better now although still a little stiff in the morning. I intend to run my long run this weekend of 6miles but will keep it on the flat and take it easy.
So my question is ….will wearing a support help me with this while I run? Or is it simple a case of I am training on the edge of my bodies …well Achilles... threshold. I always warm up before a run and stretch after and eat a decent recovery meal after my longs. Fitness wise the pace and mileage is fine for me and I am really enjoying the running and the challenge, but do not want to injure myself in the process.
Any advice would be very much appreciated.
Many Thanks


  • 1) STOP and rest a bit.

    2) See a physio

    If you don't do either of the above now you will be doing them, later in an epic hurry to be fit for London. In the meantime, stretch the calf and ice 3 times a day for 15 minutes. You can easily run through an Achilles problem to a point and long slow runs are comfortable with a sore tendon, however faster runs with a change of pace included can become a problem.

    I'm just getting over an Achilles problem after over a year out because I ignored it initially.
  • Try and work in some eccentric heel drops into your training program, if you haven't already. I believe these take a little while to become effective, but should be useful as your mileage increases.

    My achilles problems were caused I think by weak core and glute/leg muscles, leading to poor running form on longer runs. I'm finally doing a strengthening program to address those specific issues, and my form has improved already - I haven't had any achilles tendinosis problems for a year or so anyway, but I'm sure these strengthening exercises, allied with heel drops, will help keep me safe from a recurrence. Not sure if you're doing any specific strengthening stuff, worth a try if not.

    I wore an achilles/ankle support while I had achilles problems, it didn't make any difference for me, just stopping for a short while helped more. My last instance of this stopped me running for six weeks and I couldn't shake it off entirely for eight months, so take it easy!

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  • Hi Simon,

    I won't be much use in giving advice as I'm a beginner but I'm also running for MHF so thought I'd say hey. I'm only doing 6 miles at the moment and at a significantly lower pace! Well good luck and I hope you are injury free soon!
  • Paul J-RPaul J-R ✭✭✭

    An insert seems to be the only thing that helps me. I've had sore achilles for nearly a year now and despite doing all of the above, strength training - all my leg muscles, glutes and core are very strong, I also do lots of stretching, for the Soleus, Gastrocnemius, hamstrings, quads, glutes etc, and still I get very sore achilles either on long runs or intervals.  I haven't found anything else that works despite seeing a physio and reading tons of advise/tips on Google and these forums.

    I am now looking at nutrition, taking in extra protein and glucosamine/chrondrotin to see if that helps - but I appreciate it can take months before seeing any results.

  • Ian,

    I'm suffering from achilles issues as well and I'm trying to strengthen my glutes/hips. Just curious how long you strength trained before you noticed a decrease in the achilles pain?

  • Difficult to say really Julie, I didn't do any strength training when I had my first bouts of 'traditional' achilles tendonosis, those problems went away very slowly through a combo of rest and heel drops.

    My latest achilles problem was less serious and further up the leg towards the gastroc and was initially caused by running on a stiff hamstring (I think). That started about four months ago, and I've done around 10 weeks of strength training now and it's recovered completely - but I have also worked in some deep soleus stretches as well for the last four weeks, which I was advised would help my condition (dropping my heel down below a step for 30 seconds with most of my body weight on it - don't try that without official authorisation from a physio though!). So a combo of things have helped.

    My original achilles tendonosis was worse than my recent condition though, so I think it would take at least a few months for strength training to have an effect - although I did feel a definite strengthening in my glutes after about four weeks. Depends on the individial circumstances though. Good luck with your strengthening programme!

  • Thanks for the quick response, Ian. My achilles issue is insertional rather than higher up the leg as yours was. I took 8 weeks off which didn't help. I finally decided to see a podiatrist who promptly referred me to a physical therapist. She's currently doing ultrasound therapy but also has a list of daily strengthening exercises for me. I've started running again and she's recommended to continue running as long as the pain isn't severe. Like everyone else, I keep hoping that one day I'll be able to get out of the bed and walk to the kitchen pain free. I'm only a month into physical therapy so it looks like I still have a bit to go before that happens!

    Sorry for hijacking the thread, Simon. For me, a support never worked. I also tried taping but that didn't help either. See a physio soon. For me it wasn't something I could work through on my own. I've had runner's knee and piriformis issues and those pale in comparison to my achilles pain. Good luck!

  • I also ran through my original achilles problems, as I was advised I should do - it didn't do any harm - eventually, bit by bit, I saw that I was less stiff going to bed, less stiff in the morning, and the stiffness disappeared completely sooner in the day. So it will get better!

  • Thanks for all your advice guys and girls. 

    Althought i still have my problem it is getting better.  After Taking it easy in week 5 I was able to run my 6 miler at the end of the week with out any discomfort. Even put in a PB.  I have been seeing a sports masseur regually and have taken the advice of many and started doing heal drops to strengthen my achillis.  I have just finished a 3 week block of increasing my miles which finished with a 13.1milers which i managed in 1hr 52min with very little discomfort.  Thats not to say they are not stiff and still al ittle sore after my long run but it is an improvement.

    Thank you all for your help and advice.  Fingers crossed i started the process of strengthening soon enough and by the time i do my Marathon next year they should be strong as an ox.


    Thanks again

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