I’m nursing a sore Achilles tendon tonight.
Earlier, I was having a light jog on the grass in the park, when I felt a warm ache in my right heel. Luckily, I was close to home, rather than at the far end of a long-run loop, so I didn’t exacerbate it.
I hadn’t done anything tonight to injure it – no awkward misstep or turn. Perhaps I’m feeling the accumulation of all my training. Of course, it could all be a strain of maranoia – I’m due to run in a ten-mile race this weekend, so the world is clearly out to get me.
In my nine years of running to date, I’ve rarely got injured. I missed the 2009 Paris Marathon due to a leg injury that still has French medics debating whether it was shin splints or a calf tear. After the 2011 Dublin Marathon I needed the robust intervention of a sports physio to get my right knee back in line. Early last year a touch of bronchitis stopped me running for a week. And that’s it.
I don’t think I’m seriously injured this time, although time will tell. I can put some weight on that foot, and it doesn’t feel sore when it’s off the ground. Tonight I’ve borne in mind the R.I.C.E. procedure for treating injuries – rest, ice, compression and elevation. For ice, I’m using a small plastic bottle that I had filled with water and put in the freezer last week, with a view to using it on any muscle aches that may arise as the Dublin Marathon draws nearer.
Of course, I should have thought of having a bag of frozen peas on standby for such occasions. Always have a bag of frozen peas in your freezer; remember not to eat them.
Achilles tendon injuries often strike sprinters and middle-distance runners, because the sprint action of running on your toes causes strain in your heels. One of my favourite athletes, Irish miler Ciaran O’Lionaird, has been afflicted by Achilles tendonitis during his career. Running on soft sand can also aggravate your Achilles, so banish that romantic image from your mind.
This was going to be a lighter week of running anyway, ahead of my ten-miler. I’ll see how I feel tomorrow evening; no harm if I rest up one extra night.
It would have to happen in the week of a race!