The saga of my mysterious Achilles pain continues

Despite a trio of rest days and an abandoned session thanks to some Achilles pain, I'm trying to stay optimistic and on track.

I’d love to begin this recap telling you about a confidence-boosting session, or an awesome run on a previously unexplored trail. Unfortunately, I have to begin with my mysterious Achilles pain.

Last week, I described the sudden onset of the pain. It feels completely fine when I’m barefoot, but as soon as I put shoes on, the pressure creates an uncomfortable pinch right on the Achilles tendon.

I managed to run by literally butchering an old pair of trainers, cutting a fairly sizeable hole in the heel. In these shoes, I can more or less run pain-free. But the shoes are near-dead, and definitely not optimal for sessions.

Week at a glance

I had a hunch this was not going to be a good week of training. It started with a recovery run on Monday, and then an easy run (replacing a tough track session) on Tuesday.

I really wanted to nail this session (6 x 800), but I didn’t think it was worth putting the strain on my foot. And unless I start slicing-up more shoes, I just don’t have the right footwear for speed work. .

On Tuesday night, I texted my physiotherapist and told him that the Achilles pain hadn’t subsided. He suggested three rest days, some icing and stretching, and then to come back and re-evaluate on the weekend.

I grudgingly accepted this advice. And so, for the first time in nearly a year, I had three consecutive days of no running.

No quick fix for the Achilles pain

I’d like to report that this was exactly what my body needed and instantly cured the soreness. Unfortunately, the rest seems to have done very little.

I can’t even walk in a pair of trainers with a heel wall, let alone run. I tried to walk with Kate and the baby, just to test it, and I got less than 300 metres from home before I turned around, and limped home to get some thongs.

Until I can get a more definitive diagnosis and treatment plan for this Achilles pain, it seems like I’ll be running in modified shoes.

I ran 10 km on Saturday, really easy, and it felt fine. I then ran 25 km on Sunday with a group in Wollongong, mostly on a flat coastal path and keeping the pace pretty easy. The night before this run, I surgically modified my second pair of shoes (same model, just newer).

For the week, I ran 68 km over just four runs. It’s my lowest week of mileage for the year, and it was all easy running.

Staying optimistic through injury

As frustrating and discouraging as an injury can be, I’m trying to keep things in perspective: it could be much worse.

Yes, I have some Achilles pain, and yes, it has disrupted my training somewhat. But the pain is not completely debilitating. I’m still able to run.

And I’m not exactly training for anything specific right now anyway. If there’s a time to have some rest days, it’s now.

Right now, running for me is about practice: prioritising long-term improvements over short-term results.

I want to take a more holistic approach to how I train and compete. Learning how to listen to my body so I can better recover, and not getting overly hung-up on missed sessions, or worrying about lost fitness, is all a part of that process.

Where to from here?

Right now, easy running feels fine, so that’s what I’ll likely keep doing for the foreseeable future. And hopefully I can start to run some sessions again soon.

I’m also booked into see a more senior physiotherapist at the clinic, who deals more specifically with running and foot-related issues.

After that appointment, I’ll hopefully have a clearer picture of what happens next, and whether I need to get bone scans and see a podiatrist, or whether this is something that can be addressed with therapy and a mix of stretching, strength work and changing footwear.

And lastly, I’m reluctant to say it, but I know it’s on the cards: more shoes will likely be harmed before this problem goes away! If I start cutting-up Vaporflys, or any other $300+ pair of shoes, I’ll be sure to film the destruction in action. I hope it doesn’t come to that.

That’s all for now. Remember to follow me on Strava and Instagram. Or message me if you have any questions or tips, or great workouts to share, at myles@runcreature.com

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I’m Myles Gough. I’m a distance runner, writer and teacher. I started RunCreature to tell stories about athletes, runners, and the issues that matter to our community. 

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