March 20, 2007 at 12:47 pm #6125
Seems like I always post here right before a marathon because I need some advice. And since you guys came though big last time I am back.
I am pretty sure (have not been diagnosed) I have achilles tendonitis in my left ankle. It is pretty sore and tender but really only when I run. This just popped up last week and I am running the ING in Georgia in just a few days.
Now I did run a lot of hilly runs (especially for my 20's) and I was fine. This all really started during my taper. To see if I just needed to give it a really good warm up I went out for about 5-6 miles the other day. I did a bit of a warm up, then a good stretch, and then kept going. The warm up wasn't bad but not great, the stretch helped a lot, then it took a couple of miles to really work the kinks out. After that I felt fine.
Sure I am probably doing damage running on it (I did 4 last night and some of it was uncomfortable but not really painful), but there is no way I am not running the race. So two questions –
1 – Is that really dumb considering the pain does go away after a few miles?
2 – Should I just skip the last few runs in the taper and wait for Sunday?
Thanks again Hillrunners!
March 20, 2007 at 2:34 pm #22670
This is really a tough call and I'm going to be very interested to see what others, especially others with more injury experience than I have, say about it.
The reason it's really tough is because I'm one who is usually very cautious with injuries. My usual advice with something that you're so sure is an injury is RICE (rest, ice, compression, elevation) and extreme caution. However, I've been through marathon tapers. I know how things pop up during the taper. I've seen them termed “phantom pains” or “phantom injuries” because they are often more a result of our overactive minds and “taper madness” than any actual physical malady.
It's a good sign that this goes away with some good warming up. Obviously, in a marathon, you'll have plenty of time to warm up. Given this, I'd say keep running cautiously, maybe very short runs and, if stretching seemed to help, stretch very thoroughly without overstretching which could make any potential injury worse. I'd also suggest getting some ice on it as soon as possible after every run and maybe once or twice during other parts of the day.
While it's tempting to say don't run and let this heal as much as possible before the big day, sometimes getting a little movement can help recovery. You will increase blood flow to the injured area which will help speed recovery while, if you're keeping things quite easy, doing little to risk further damage. Also, I always feel that doing nothing for a day or two before a big race, much less the 4-5 days you have left, leaves me feeling sore everywhere and generally flat on race day.
My suggestion would be, if you think you need some time completely off, do it now. Don't run again until Friday or Saturday. Run very easily on Saturday and optionally Friday and get some thorough but gentle stretching in after running. Ice up to 2-3 times a day through Saturday. Sunday, trust in yourself but also be prepared to step off the course if something flares up badly. In a worst case scenario, better to DNF Sunday and return to full training shortly after than finish Sunday but be laid up for a long time with a serious injury.
I'm sure we all wish you the best. Whatever happens, please let us know how things go.
March 20, 2007 at 2:44 pm #22671
Thanks Ryan. I was hoping you would post.
Honestly, I there is part of me that tends to over-react to things. I really don't think it is anything that would get so bad that I would have to step off the course. It is really more uncomfortable than anything. And like I said only until I warm it up pretty good. It will help that it is going to be a pretty hot day in Atlanta.
What I am going to do is go for a run tonight that is longer than I planned. Probably 6 miles or so. I want to get going fully and see what comes of it. If it goes away then I don't think I have anything to worry about.
March 20, 2007 at 3:50 pm #22672
If you tend to over react, consider the possibility that it's not tendonitis.
Taper madness is illustrated in a variety of ways in the last few weeks prior to the marathon. You might find yourself driving more safely because you are running the marathon. You might feel new aches or pains in strange places that concern you because you are running the marathon. Or, better yet, you may find yourself buying things like leopard running tights that you think for sure will help get you across that finish line.
During the first part of Taper Madness you will hear about every small ache and pain and how it may be a broken leg or torn ligament or some other traumatic injury. Every twinge becomes a reason to think about postponing the marathon effort. Every sneeze, sniffle, cough or pimple becomes a life-threatening virus or infection. Tight hammies, inflamed ITB, tweaked Achilles, plantar fascitis, black toenails, bloody nipples, chafing, and this is just during breakfast.
These descriptions, especially the second one, fit pretty well with what a lot of runners go through during the taper. Phantom pains show up, things that were just a bit sore during training all of a sudden are serious issues. This is normal during the taper. If you already tend to over react, I'd consider it a real possiblity that you're just experiencing taper madness. Of course, I'd never want to rule out the possibility of this being something real because it may be and, if it is, it should be treated as appropriate. However, it wouldn't surprise me if, no matter what you do over the coming days, you forget all about the ankle by the end of the first mile on Sunday.
March 21, 2007 at 12:37 pm #22673
I got a little advice in a PM last night and it seems to be helping a lot with my “Taper Madness”. I did go for a 4 mile run last night and tried to make it as flat as I could (in Atlanta that is tough) but I boosted up my pre-run stretch.
The first mile I was a bit tight but it wasn't painful. I noticed it pretty high up on my achilles and almost around the side a bit. Of course I was focusing on it the entire time so I am sure it was far worse in my head than it really was. Somewhere around 3 or 3.5 it really started to get loose and feel good. I walked down a pretty steep hill near my house just to be sure I didn't pound on it too hard.
When I go home Mr. PM told me I should ice it, massage it, and ice it again. I repeated that three times through the night. That made a world of difference. Normally, if I sit around for too long I get very tight and hobble a few steps in the beginning. Not last night. Even when I got up this morning it was only slightly stiff. I am going to continue this treatment and I am confident I will be fine.
Taper Madness I hardly knew you.
March 21, 2007 at 2:15 pm #22674
I'm glad you found a solution and thanks for sharing what seems to be working. I was hoping someone with more experience in this realm would share their perspective and was a little disappointed I wasn't seeing anything. Glad you got a PM on it.
March 21, 2007 at 4:34 pm #22675
Wow, I have never heard of taper madness before, but its funny how everyone can probably relate. I am by no means an expert on running injuries, but I thought pain that eased with usage was more indicative of muscle pulls. This would also be consistent with relief felt after icing, I guess the same could be said for tendonitis. My question would be, after you noticed the pain, do you think you altered your stride subconsciously to provide relief while you ran? If so, do you still run with a somewhat different stride? You mentioned that you walked a steep downhill, that would be a situation where you most likely to run differently that you otherwise would. I think Taper Madness makes a lot of sense and I think it would hold that you would be more likely to run differently at the first sign of any discomfort. I could be way off though.
March 21, 2007 at 6:04 pm #22676
Good questions rehammes.
I did not alter my stride. Heck I just noticed it about a week ago. It is all very new.
Yes, on a step downhill…well I don't even know if that is called striding. The only reason I walked that last part is because I didn't want to do extra pounding on something that was sore. Paranoia really…
It could be a slight pull. Who knows? All I know is come Sunday morning I will be ready. 🙂
March 21, 2007 at 6:26 pm #22677
do you plan to take any anti-inflamatory during the race? In the past, I have been advised against ibuprofen during a marathon as it can cause kidney problems. Best of luck in the race. Let us know how it goes. We love race reports.
March 23, 2007 at 8:18 am #22678
Please, please, please, do not run with a painful Achille tendon.
Now I am recovering from the Achille tendon operation I had 2 months ago.
I was stupid enough to make the same mistake you want to make now.
The price for running now could simply be throwing away you future long term running health and fitness. Is a race now worthed several months or years of future running ?
I would not wish my worst enemy the long term consequence of running with a painful Achille tendon.
Please, be wiser than I was.
March 23, 2007 at 12:57 pm #22679
I appreciate the concern but I am going to run. I ran on it Wednesday and it was totally fine and I have been icing and massaging it just to make sure everything goes well. With two more full days of rest it is the least of my concerns.
The heat on the other hand…
Besides, I a lot of this probably stems from my calves being very tight lately. My tendon is not red and swollen like I have been reading about. It is only very slightly sore to the touch. And that is only if I really dig into it.
All and all I am not really worried about it anymore.
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