INJURY: Achilles Pain

So after completing only about 30km this week, I have had to halt my mileage and monitor what is turning into a more than irritating achilles stiffness. Its not yet at the painful stage, at least not for me (runners never being good judges of discomfort levels), but has me seriously worried.
My form has been stunning in the early stages of the week, running aerobic base runs as fast as 4:25min/km despite the ice and snow here in Fargo, but perhaps this speed is contributing to aggravating the symptoms as its not long ago that my base runs were automatically within the 5-5:30min/km pace range.
Browsing the internet I looked at likely causes of achilles pain and checked off if I could possibly have been guilty of activating one of the triggers:
  • Overuse of tendon due to low calf muscle flexibility - CHECK (in fact my physio already treats me for stiff calves as it caused my met-tip inflammation injury in December)
  • Starting up too quickly - CHECK (in Winter I've been less than diligent with my warm-ups due to not wanting to hang around in the foul weather. Due to the cold its more important than ever of course)
  • Rapidly increasing running speeds or mileage - CHECK (certainly speeds, perhaps less so mileage but I did start in January at a reasonable level after 4 low-volume weeks due to the previous injury)
  • Adding stair climbing or hill running to programme to quickly - CHECK (the few huge climbs done as start of my Pike's Peak training could be guilty of this)

So what to do is the question. Firstly, I'll probably have to concede training defeat and not run for almost a week while trying to keep fit on the bike and cross-trainer in the hotel. Secondly I must continue my glute strengthening and finally I've downloaded a rehab programme for the achilles tendon.

I am also in talks with my Irish insurance on whether they'll cover a visit to a specialised foot clinic here in Fargo which I would love to visit on Tuesday to get a clinical examinati on. In the meantime I need to think of a conservative rejig of my programme that will still allow me to build up a decent amount of volume. One option could be to forfeit some of the anaerobic phases and just extend my base phase building up to high volume much more gradually but sacrificing some anaerobic and top-speed conditioning in 2010 (there wouldn't be time for both).

This is a tough decision as it will hurt my performances in the shorter races but it may have little or no impact on a Pike's Peak performance to do less anaerobic work. To look at things in a positive light my last two injuries have very much been the sort you see in faster runners rather than the more classical running injuries seen in beginners which means my running style (and the speeds I run at) are much closer to what they should be albeit my joints haven't quite caught up.

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