A Training & Injury Update

I’ve been gone for a few weeks. I haven’t been writing on my blog, or updating things, or responding to comments. For that I apologize. When I’m injured and can’t run, I find it hard to find something to post about. It’s hard to find motivation to write when the thing that motivates me the most is taken away from me. But I knew I needed to come back and update you on my progress, so here I am.

For those that don’t know, I was diagnosed three weeks ago with Achilles tendinitis. If any of you have had it, you know how bad it sucks. For those who haven’t experienced it, I hope you never do. It’s more an irritating, nagging injury than a painful one, at least for me. And that was the hardest part. When I wasn’t running, it didn’t hurt. Walking around felt fine, Sitting felt fine, Standing felt fine. Nothing hurt!! It was so frustrating not being able to run when the injury itself didn’t actually pain me. The only sign I had was a weird popping noise in the tendon area whenever I squatted down to get something at work. And the only time it bugged me a little was when I ran. It was an odd burning sensation in the back of my ankle.

I ended up pulling out of the Myakka 1/2 marathon on doctor’s orders. Furthermore I wasn’t able to run for almost three weeks. In the interim, I started cycling at CycleBar. CycleBar is a relatively new studio for indoor cycling that came to my town. I’d been wanting to try it out for a while, and needing to find something to cross train with while healing my injury gave me the perfect chance to try it out. My first cycling class was Monday, November 7th, the same day I was diagnosed with my injury. I was frustrated and needed to do something. I rode 5 miles that day. I followed that up with another class Thursday morning at 5:45 am. Seriously why am I waking up this early again? It was worth it though. The instructor, Rachael, did a great job. She focused mostly on hills and slower songs with higher resistance. That day I rode 6 miles. My final class that week was a duo class with instructors Mandi and Chris- what a class! It was seriously the most fun I’ve had at a workout class. Their energy was insane and fun and playful. I closed my eyes, let myself go and just BE. I was really in tune with myself. I think it was that class that I fell in love with cycling. I got 7 miles in that day. My total weekly cycling mileage: 18 miles. 

CycleBar instructor Chris and I. He's silly!
CycleBar instructor Chris and I. He’s silly!

The following week I started off strong with a 7 mile evening ride with Chris. We took some funny pictures together. Then…I got sick. First my ankle betrays me, now my nose and head. So I didn’t go to cycle class again, and as of me sitting here writing this, I still haven’t been. I’ll admit that the last few days have been pure laziness instead of me being sick, because I’m better now. But I’m planning on going back to class tomorrow morning, so we should be good to go then!

My first run back from injury! Was so awesome!
My first run back from injury! Was so awesome!
New Gel Nimbus shoes!
New Gel Nimbus shoes!

Finally I’ve been able to run again though. Last week, the day before Thanksgiving, I went for a short run to test out my ankle and see how it felt. I purchased an ankle brace from work and new shoes with a higher drop- recommended by my PT for tendinitis. I went for a run Wednesday night and got 2 miles in. It was literally the best two miles ever. It felt so great to be out running again! Then the Sunday following I went out for 3 miles. Those also felt like great miles. Both of those runs were done in my new Asics Gel Nimbus 18’s. The cushion in the Asics seems to absorb the impact better which places less stress on my tendon. Finally tonight I got to go back to the fun run and run with the crowd at the UTC store. It was so great to see everyone again! I really missed my running buddies! We did 3 miles together tonight. Because these runs have been going so well, I’m going to try a longer run Sunday morning and see how it goes.

Second run in the Nimbus
Second run in the Nimbus
Let's pick Montana up, they said. It'll be fun, they said.
Let’s pick Montana up, they said. It’ll be fun, they said.

What I think contributed to my injury:

Several things contributed to my most recent injury, but mostly I think it was mistakes I made myself that could have been prevented. First, I wasn’t trained that well for the race I did in the end of October. I thought it was going to be 13-14 miles, so I trained to 12 miles. It was actually 18 miles. I was so NOT prepared to run that distance. Furthermore, it was all uphill pretty much- 2600 feet of elevation gain. There are only so many things a Florida girl can do to prepare herself to run hills- we can train on local bridges (a measly 16 feet of elevation gain) or the hill closest to me, which is only about 20 feet of elevation gain. So that one was a little out of my control. The last thing that I believe contributed to my injury was the shoes I purchased for this race- I wanted to try a new type of shoe that would possibly drain better than the ones I had previously, which tended to get a little heavy when wet. The shoes I have been using lately are a 6mm drop- the lowest drop I’ve ever used before. When combining that with a right foot that slightly pronates and a hilly course where my muscles and tendons were constantly in a strained position for the better part of 6 hours, I believe I simply had a recipe for disaster.

Moving forward:

Currently, I’m trying to get back on track with my training. I’m in training for the Gasparilla challenge at the end of February, and I still have three months to train. If all goes well these next few weeks, I should be back to normal training volume by mid-December. Keeping my fingers crossed that I can get to that healthy place again! I’m also continuing cross training because I have my first triathlon- a sprint tri- at the end of April. I’m trying to maintain an all around workout schedule so I can keep my fitness levels up. This past Monday I did some weights at the gym. I’m going to try to do two days a week at the gym, but minimum one day of weight training. And at least once a week cycling and swimming as well. Hopefully continuing to cross train and work on running at the same time will also reduce my propensity for injuries!

Have you ever had Achilles tendinitis? How long did it take you to heal? What do you typically do to avoid injuries? 

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2 thoughts on “A Training & Injury Update”

    1. I just started running again this week so hopefully it stays feeling good and I can continue!

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