The Achilles of running
I got an earful from my massage therapist last week. He is treating me for some hip and glute (read: ass) weakness that is making my running difficult. The wrong muscles get weak because the right muscles aren’t working properly. Then when I run longer distances I tire more easily and fall apart.
No one runs longer distances without some fatigue and discomfort, obviously. I just mean that my discomfort is enough that it starts to cascade down my body and other parts are then also in pain. I gave birth to both of my kids naturally; I know what pain is.
I got an earful because I haven’t been listening to his advice, or to my body. Apart from the weak muscles, my Achilles tendon hurts a little when I run. This started almost 2 weeks ago. I figure running with some discomfort is okay. Heck, it’s nothing like the burning sensation I get some days when my IT bands flare up. But pain is a warning that something is not right. It is an early prevention system: if we listen to it we can avoid further potential catastrophes.
My Achilles is sore, but so is my heel. This is where a mass of tendons connect to your foot and these tendons can get inflamed. A nasty condition called plantar fasciitis can develop and you can sometimes look at many months without any kind of exercise. Never mind running, but walking and life in general can be excruciating. I may have this in very early stages, but I am running on it like I just don’t care.
I was supposed to run thirty minutes, very slow and easy. I was allowed to do this once I was walking without pain and then could walk/jog intervals without pain. I got to that point, in my mind. Since my run felt pretty good and the pain was definitely manageable I ran 50 minutes. I would have liked to run for 2 hours, but that’s definitely not allowed. Even I get that.
But the extra twenty minutes I tacked on meant twenty more minutes of exercise when my body should have rested and been allowed to heal. Runners are mostly Type A personalities; what did anyone expect? that I was going to follow instructions?
So I got an earful and some stern looks and then the confirmation that I would probably just do what I wanted to. But hearing his advice and warnings did worry me. Who wants to be in pain and prevented from doing what they love because of stupidity? I know it happens all the time; it’s called an overuse injury.
I have hired a coach this year for some more personal attention to my training. He understood my injury. My workout plan even had a 30 minute max run scheduled. But even with two knowledgeable people telling me what to do, I overdid it.
So after a massage and some more reminders and a good tape job, I am limping home with my head down. I thought I had done a good job this week of taking things easy and doing less. I had, but I had not done enough “less.”
My achilles of running is actually my Achilles. But it’s also the fact that I have to do less to be able to do more.