So I’ve simply decided to ignore Achilles pain and drive on with a conservative training regimen.
OK – maybe ignore isn’t the best way to describe it…. In the past, I’ve been advised to stay off the treadmill or trails for a couple weeks after a flareup. It led to a cycle that played out something like this:
Achilles flareup -> one week no stretching at all -> two more weeks no running w/light stretching -> start running very short distances -> add a mile each week -> another flareup after a few weeks
After several of years of this, I’ve decided that a more aggressive stretching plan is needed. The heel drops and toe raises do not stop just because of a flareup, and neither does running, and a wider program is needed.
At the moment, if I run on a Monday, I’ll be somewhat hobbled on Tuesday, a bit better on Wednesday, and ready to do a split elliptical/treadmill run on Thursday. So that’s the plan. Run, stretch/recover from soreness for two days, re-engage.
I’ve noticed that even while I’m slowly increasing the mileage, my Tuesday soreness has lessened over the past two weeks. I’m attributing this to the fact that I’m not passing on stretching and strengthening, regardless of the level of soreness. Tuesday morning sees me limping a bit, but by Tuesday evening, after at least three stretching sessions during the day, I’m walking normally, albeit with some discomfort.
Starting this week, I’m adding more stretches and strengthening exercises aimed at the Achilles/calf/hamstring/glute chain. While I think the real problem might be having a slightly reduced range of motion in my left ankle (many, many sprains in my youth), it can’t hurt to increase my flexibility.
After three weeks of NOT giving this thing a break, I’m starting to see results, which always makes me worry, as I wait for the other shoe to fall. I’ve increased mileage to five miles, and my level of soreness is slowly dropping.
I’ve got the Parkway Classic 10-miler scheduled for April 23. I will not be racing this. It will be a slow run, aimed at nothing but enjoying the scenery (which this race is known for), and finishing.
If all goes well, I’m looking forward to a healthier summer than I’ve had in years!