Back home in the a little more bearable climate

I’ve been home now since last saturday. I’ve run two times and it feels so much better considering fatigue and exhaustion. The climate in Sweden is a lot easier to run in during these months.

My injury though is no better. No worse either. I’ve booked a time for the same orthopedic next monday. Then we’ll see how we proceed next. I do feel stable enough to increase a little. So today I will run a 20 min run just to get the feel for it. And it seems most of my niggles comes (when they come at all) in the middle of the day – and all by chance. Sometimes it’s when I just stand still and don’t move at all.

Anyway, it’s good to be back with the family. Every day I’m not with them it feels like something is missing.

Tue 26 July – Easy run in fuzhou

1:00 – 11.65 km – 5:14 min/km – 155 in avg hr

Thu 28 July – Easy run in fuzhou

1:00 – 12.05 km – 4:59 min/km – 161 in avg hr

Fri 29 July – Easy run on threadmill at hotel in Shanghai – late evening

1:00 – 12.26 km – 4:54 min/km – 147 in avg hr

Sun 31 July – Easy run in Alingsås

1:00 – 12.11 km – 4:57 min/km – 160 in avg hr

Sun 2 August – Easy run in Alingsås

1:00:24 – 12.21 km – 4:57 min/km – 146 in avg hr

Still can’t get the flow right

During the Friday’s run I became really exhausted. It was fine for a while though, but after 30 minutes it became worse. The last 10 minutes were unbearable. I tried my best not to force myself to maintain a certain speed. I never looked at the watch, but afterwards it was obvious that I had went pretty hard. I never seem to become adapted to the climate either. On the other hand July is the hottest month around here, but the past two or three weeks have been surprisingly cool. The past week though has been awful.

Today I went out late in the afternoon, the last hour of sunshine. It was extremely hot. The asphalt radiated a lot of heat. The temperature was still only 32 degrees C and humidity 70%, but since the asphalt was that hot it was just too much. I breaked after the big lap, after 42 minutes of running. After the run I couldn’t stand still for at least five minutes just breathing heavily. That quite much describes how affected I had become.’

I think also the development of today’s run was because of too bad hydration and too little nutrition. Because of my past problems with the digestion I seldom eat closer than 4-6 hours due to a run. Sometimes I’m very hungry when I go out…

When it comes to the achilles I’m not sure about anything anylonger. Is it the achilles tendonitis or is it plantar fasciitis? The orthopedic never told. What I do know is that it comes and goes at will. It doesn’t matter how I treat it or how much I rest, it seems. Some days it comes when I just walk around in the apartment and I have done nothing to provoke it. Well, the orthopedic said it would probably take only 2 weeks of easier running, then I’d be back. Now I’m up at two and a half months – maybe it’s time to pay him another visit 🙂

I know that these things can take time to heal, but I want an exact diagnosis to work against, or to know if I need to do anything differently or don’t do at all.

Fri 22 July – Easy run in fuzhou

1:00 – 12.36 km – 4:51 min/km – 164 in avg hr

 

Sun 24 July – Easy run in fuzhou

42:26 – 8.25 km – 5:08 min/km – 168 in avg hr

Can a midfoot strike cause Achilles tendonitis?

A few days ago I read an article at Science of sport about whether heel-, midfoot- or forefoot-strike were most efficient in running.

http://www.sportsscientists.com/2008/04/running-technique-footstrike.html

It was very interesting and made me think of my present situation with injury and everything. Since 2009 I’ve believed that a midfoot strike is the best, no matter what speed. Now I guess some of you will go “I can’t believe this guy! Hey honey, have you heard?…” But since I haven’t had any injuries until recently I haven’t thought it to be bad at least.

But it makes sense – I have pressed myself  hard in very short time. I did that during the spring when I ran races with short time in between and at the same time  increased my speed. midfoot strike would make the calfs work hard making them tight. If I always run like that even on the easy runs maybe the calfs never get to rest enough. At least it could be an explanation to my injured achilles.

Anyway, I thought it couldn’t hurt to try to adjust my strike a little. So on my last run I forced myself to land on the heel. Just slightly, hardly noticable. Though I did feel a great difference. For the first time I felt the cushion in my very flat Adidas Adizero CS 🙂 And also, I didn’t get a single niggle. Afterwards my calfs weren’t one tenth as tight as they usually are. It was even hard to get anything out of stretching them. I also noticed that my cadence still didn’t change. I were at 90 strides / min. The thing is, I’ve read that at a stride of 90 you force yourself to land on the midfoot. Well, according to the article above I guess that is only applicable if you run fast enough. It would be very interesting if they would film one of the elites running slowly (like I do) to examine how they land.

Since my little experiment worked so fine I will try it again on Saturday 😉

Tue 12 July – Easy run in fuzhou

41:04 – 8.12 km – 5:04 min/km – 150 in avg hr

 

 

Some things never change, but this MUST

At yesterdays run I had a few niggles. Not very apparent, but I still felt them. I did all my best not to focus to much on them, but I felt that I needed to slow down in the end.

It’s all so strange. They seem to come all randomly. Sometimes I just stand still and don’t move at all and there it is.. And when I walk around it doesn’t show. It doesn’t seem to matter if I’m warmed up or not either..

It’s not on the achilles, more somewhere at the joint, but I can never feel any pain when I search for it with my hands. Nowhere.. I’m all confused. If I didn’t know better I would think it had something to do with nerves..

I’ve read around, and I seem to have insertional achilles tendonitis. It’s not so common to recover from with physical strengthening. But I did find one medical study suggesting the heel lifts on a stair could help in some cases. The important thing was to lift with the load on the good leg and lower with the bad leg.

I’ve seen many photos of achilles tendonitis, both on the mid-section and the insertional ones. I have no visible swelling or thickening – and, like I wrote above – I’m not tender to any touch, hard as soft. So it can’t be that severe.. Only – it won’t go away.

What is insertional achilles tendonitis?

Achilles tendinopathy: Treatment strategies – a more medical article on how to attack the problem

Tue 12 July – Easy run in fuzhou

41:04 – 8.12 km – 5:04 min/km – 150 in avg hr

So tired of this injury

This morning I felt something in the achilles again. No pain – just something. And something is too much. I thought I was through with this now. Two weeks without even a trace, and now it might be coming back..

I really don’t need this. I guess noone does, I’m just so tired of it. I spent the day stretching the calf muscles and achilles several times thoroughly. I decided to go running still, but I only did 30 minutes. I stretched before and immediately after. I also applied ice for 10 minutes after it.

I suppose I will have to take it easy another week.

New steps in Fuzhou

Yesterday I had a nice long chat with coach. Among other things we talked about my injury and what I need to do to get it better. One idea is that I might need to let go of it phychologically – stop focusing on getting better and instead trying to enjoy the running. The other thing is to work on it physically, for example with stretches and strength training..

He also made me aware I should be running at at least a pace of 5:00 min/km, no slower. If I hadn’t injured myself or had the stressing time of becoming father again he thought it would’ve come by itself in between winter and summer. As it is now I have to go there myself.

So earlier today, around 16.00 I went out. It was 33 degrees and steamy.. After running for 30 minutes I was sure I couldn’t complete the whole hour. The heat was just too much. Maybe also the fact that I increased my pace with 20 seconds per minute in a leap.

The sweat was pouring. I ran bare-chested, which by the way was very liberating. In Sweden I never get the chance to do so, but here in China many people run bare-chested. And the staring looks I get even with the shirt on, so that shouldn’t keep me from doing it. It’s like this – half of the people I meet stare uninhibitedly – half of them smile as they do it and half don’t. Those who don’t look at you like you’re some kind of freak :D. This is not just because of the running. It’s like that all the time here. Not that much in more international cities, though, like Shanghai. They’re more used to foreigners there. Here most people don’t know a word English, except maybe Hello which some of the young people shout after you nervously once they’ve passed by you and gathered the courage.. Then they laugh out loud 🙂

Anyway, after 35 minutes I had run a lap.. Then I was so exhausted I thought I would only be running for 10 minutes more. But after 5 minutes, when it was time to turn around, I instead found myself doing the lap – only a shorter one. I ran for 52 minutes, exhausted and fatigued.. It took me an hour or so to get back on track.

Funny thing though, I didn’t get a single niggle in the right foot this time. Ealier I have noticed at some runs that I don’t get it when I increase the speed just a little. But I only thought I got strange ideas. Hopefully it will be exactly the same next run. But that time I will keep the pace a little slower. And also – run in the morning instead when it’s only around 25 degrees warm

Two weeks have passed – still feeling the injury

Some Chinese beer snacks, Chicken feet, grilled tofu and roased peanuts.. Yummy!

Now the two weeks of prescribed “every other day” running has passed and I still feel the injury. It’s getting better and better for every day that goes, but it’s still not gone. I’ve consulted Coach in the forum to see what he says about it. Should I go for the build up or continue running every other day. It doesn’t feel good that I run so little… I can feel that my body needs more again.

Here everything is about making life work out. Even going to the store buying milk, egg and bananas is a challenge – but a very nice one though 😉

I also love to try new and exciting things, both in food and experience. Here I can have a lot of that. One little example is their snack to beer – cooked chicken feet which are very spicy to chew on. Not much to eat if you’re hungry.

 

 

First run in Fuzhou – China

Late evening view of the West Lake in Fuzhou from my apartment

Now I’m in China, Fuzhou. I arrived here two days ago, very tired from the almost 18 hours long trip. I had only managed to sleep three hours during the flight between Helsinki and Shanghai. When I arrived here in Fuzhou we went out to buy things for the appartment I will live in and immediately after that we went eating. By then we almost starved to death. We went to a Japanese chain called Ajisen Noodle which is very nice. I have eaten there many times before and it’s never a bad idea.

Then we went straight to work. We work during the night between 11 pm and 3.30 am. During the very bumpy cartrip home I slumbered a few times. I wasn’t up for it, but when I came to the apartment I changed clothes and went running.

It is a special thing to run around in over 30 degrees heat right at dawn in Fuzhou. There are not many cars on the roads, but a lot of people in the small parks are doing their morning exercises which by us westerners seem very peculiar. Some walk backwards and clap their hands in front and back of the body. Some play badminton without nets or nets just stretched between two trees. Some women are rolling their hips and making strange sounds. I also saw a few who did the Thai chi – An ancient Chinese movement therapy. It was very sweaty because of the tropical heat, but still nice..

Last week I’ve been running every other day and the day in between I’ve been doing some bodyweight workouts just to keep the body, especially the legs, on the edge.

I still get niggles in the heel, but I feel it less and less. I hope I will have no problem at all after the two prescribed weeks.

The running I do is very relaxed, however I noticed that here in this heat I can’t keep my heart rate down as much as I could back in Sweden. I guess it’s only normal – it sure is harder to breath here

Positive news

When the pain wouldn’t go away in my foot I was very afraid that I had to be away from the running for a long time. Well, at least longer than I would want since I feel that I have worked so hard these two years I’ve been running to get where I currently am.

Yesterday I went to an orthopedic who was specialized in podiatry. We talked a lot about running – he was also a big fan of the sport and had been running 35 km per week for the last 20 years or so. After examining my foot he told me that there were no heat and neither a big swelling. He did find a small swelling within the heel, approximately 3 cm from the lower joint of the achilles tendon. So the way he described it it wasn’t on the tendon itself.

He also said that the healing process already was on and that I only needed to half my running for two weeks, preferably every other day rather than half the mileage every day. Then I could go back to my ordinary mileage.

Apparently it wouldn’t hurt to do my speed runs as long as I don’t feel it getting worse, according to him. Anyway, I don’t plan to do speedwork – just 1 hour easy runs and maybe a long run in the weekend.

So yesterday I could go out on my 1 hour easy run with a big smile on my face, happily knowing I didn’t do anything to harm myself. 🙂

One funny thing was that he commented my feet – that they were suitable for running, it was strangely awkward, but nice to hear. He said something like “These are good feet and joints – they are very good feet! Stable and strong” and at the same time he pushed and bent them in all directions. I couldn’t help but laughing  a little 😀

But he did say that I needed to stretch my calves and achilles tendons. They didn’t stretch so far and could be, he say they didn’t have to, but could be holding me back a little since they are fully stretch when my feet touch the ground hence not able to work fully during push off.. Or something.. I can’t say I understood everything he said.

Today have been a resting day and honestly I already feel better. I have been resting a little more than usual for two weeks now. But that doesn’t mean I’ll be willing to jeopardize the recovery by not following the advice..

In other words, yesterday was a very good day for me 😉

 

The injured achilles and this weeks training

Like I wrote in my earlier post I started running again on saturday. At every session I’ve had a few niggles in the Achilles tendon in the beginning. Everytime they disappeared quite fast.

I started out this week with an easy 1 hour run which felt good. Still the niggle, but not worse. Every day niggle feels slightly better. But only slightly. After work I was late for the commuter train, so I had to run fast to catch it. Then I noticed I didn’t feel the niggles – not even in the beginning. That’s when I decided I would try to manage the 6 x 1k session today.

The 6 x 1k session was ok. There were lots of hard head winds during 3-5 interval, which truly shows on my decreasing pace and increasing heart rates. On the last 50 meters of the last 1k I had the dry-retchings. Probably because of trying to maintain the high pace at head wind. That’s one hard thing – not to overwork oneself when doing a paced run in nasty head wind. The pace isn’t calculated for hard winds, I suppose, but it still shows as a bad result in the data :S

Anyway, I had no trouble with the achilles tendon during the interval sessions. Only like every time earlier, at the first steps of the warm up slow running.

Tue May 24 – 6 x 1k with 60 seconds of rest in between

Lap – Avg pace – Avg HR – Max HR – Min HR after rest
1 – 3:36 – 163 – 107
2 – 3:38 – 164 – 111
3 – 3:38 – 174 – 118
4 – 3:41 – 177 – 125
5 – 3:43 – 179 – 132
6 – 3:39 – 180 – 128