Newbie to sprinting -- achilles tendon issues
Problem: achilles tendon has been acting up after beginning sprinting a month ago, every ten or so days.
Background: I've been following PBF since mid-June, easing into everything and increasing incrementally. I feel stronger and love it! I haven't been a "runner" since early adulthood, and then I didn't run but I could if I had to.
I do sprints a la PBF beginners, very slow jogs (half a block) with resting walks x 6, then 75% with recovery time walks x 6.
First beginner's sprints I was horribly winded early on and almost couldn't finish. Second time I was winded at the end. Third time I can recover to almost normal breathing between the actual sprints within two minutes! And I did a 100% all out on the last sprint rep. I am loving this and want to do more!
However, sometime prior to my second workout (not after the first one) my right achilles tendon started hurting. The workout itself didn't make it worse, and it eased up a bit before the third time. After that one I had pretty constant "reminders" especially in the morning, so I waited to do another one until the pain had gone completely. Which was yesterday.
Today, I tried changing my running form (I'm a heel striker, ugh) to more ball-of-foot, and I guess that was not smart. I only completed five slow jogs and called it quits as I listened to my heel/body. I had done warm up stretches, toes-on-stairs stretches, massaged my calf, walked medium rate for ten minutes before doing the slow jogs. So I'm trying to figure out how to be better to my body, but it isn't working yet.
I have one complication that may be affecting the recovery: my work boots (steel-toed, high ankle, required) are not flexible enough to let my foot bend properly, so that when I do have pain, I have it with every step in those shoes. That's ten to twelve hours a day, four days a week. I'm barefoot probably 85% of the rest of my life.
Suggestions? Links? Do I ice or do I use heat? I do the sprints because I don't have ready access to a pool, or a gym, and I guess if I need to get my bike fixed and do that instead for a while I can give that a shot. But I need input -- the five jogs I did were wonderful and after the first one I wasn't even winded!
Here I'm going to bang the drum for alternate foot jump rope as a good activity for a way to condition the achilles tendons and calves for toe/midfoot strike running. It is higher impact than walking but lower impact than running and also gives the added benefit of some shoulder/posture improvement. I use ropework as a pre-warmup for my own running and in the winter when it's too brutal outside, it can provide a full 30 minute workout if necessary. It's also good for helping to set your running cadence, neuromuscular-wise.
I ran into almost the same thing one year ago. Before I started sprinting, I was starting to run again and the Achilles flared up, tried a little sprinting, but is was sore, and I knew I would hurt it if I kept it up, so....
For healing alternated ice and heat every night, after a week started with calf stretches and calf raises (gently). Kept these up for the entire healing process.
In lieu of sprinting, I just concentrated more on the PEMs and did the 123 workout as a sprint (not really the same thing, but it will get you winded).
All healed up in about 6 weeks, just in time to sprain my ankle on the same leg (not training, just a stupid accident)
When you get back at it, try sprinting uphill, it will take some of the stress off the tendon. Good luck.
I had problems with just casual running when I started with a new pair of Fivefingers -- Achilles tendon burst at about 20 seconds and took almost 2 months before I could start jogging again. I'm going to try the jump roping that kansas suggested above.
BTW, I also use the rope to develop/maintain a 180/min footstrike cadence for sprinting. That's 90 rpm's on the rope. An easy way to work this is to have a large round clock on the wall in front of you with a sweep second hand for counting.
Originally Posted by miata
I have read in several places (Runners World, Running Times(?), etc.) that good sprinters and faster runners in general can post better times using 180/min than the usual 160/min or so that many people use. Going from 160 to 180 usually involves shortening the stride a little but I found that its pretty easy to do.
Never had a burst achilles, before. Must have hurt. Best of luck!
I'm almost recovered now. I did try a little jump roping before I ran today and I think that will be just perfect aux work. I'll have to work on the higher cadence. I used to be on the sprint relay team in HS, but that was a long time ago. I do tons of 4-7 hour road biking with hill lots of hill climbing and was amazed at how little carry-over there was to running.
Originally Posted by kansas-klx
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