Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Spine 3 - Injury

In the run up to the Spine I was meant to be posting lots of jolly happy stuff about all the gear that is going in my rucksack, and all the exciting training that has been going on. I even had a post ready about shoes (how highly exciting, I hear you say).

However, that has been overtaken by a rather more pressing need - to fix myself.
Not ACTUALLY a picture taken while I was out. I was concentrating on running, rather than getting my phone out for photo ops every now and then. If you're trying to work out where it is on the PW, you won't have much luck. I think it was taken in Wales. 

I was out on a weekend of running up near Settle over the weekend, and had some pretty "good" weather, if you want to call it that (sun, rain, wind, hail, more hail, sun, wind, rain etc). I decided to run with my full race kit on, or as full as I can get it at this point. Hopefully I should be able to pare the weight down a little before the race, but have yet to secure some lighter bits and bobs.
Lynne kindly picked me up at Airton

To cut a long story short(er) I did a decent distance on Friday, followed by a decent distance on Saturday before noticing that some of the stuff in my pack wasn't packed optimally, and I was developing a bruise on my back. Not only that, but my left achilles was feeling a little sore. So I decided to call in air support (well, Lynne in a Rover 25), and got a lift back. The extra (planned) 30k on top of an already sore back and achilles probably wasn't going to do me any good.

Sunday morning was a bit painful to walk around the hostel. The achilles was in a fair amount of pain. On investigation, there was quite a swollen bit of tendon just below the level of the ankle.
Too much weight for too long without enough build up. Reactive tendonopathy.

So my training this week, and indeed for the next few weeks, has been severely curtailed - at least in the running sense of the word. For the past couple of days I have been resting completely, even walking hurt to begin with. At this point, going down stairs is no longer painful, so that means that the tendon is beginning to get back to a state in which I can begin to rehab it properly.

For those interested in the progression I'm going to follow, its basically taken from Jill Cooks excellent recent research. (Here is a link to a BJSM podcast with her) Starting with long isometric holds (shorter holds if the tendon is particularly reactive), and progressing to weighted heel raises. Once they are painless, progressing to a graduated return to running.

Yes, I do have a better picture of my calf.... but I can't find it, and this is the closest I could get. In fairness, this bloke does have less bits of blood and cuts on his leg, so it might be a nicer image to look at. He's also holding it in the wrong place. And its the wrong leg. But never mind. 
In the meantime, I am going to ensure that my aerobic base stays high with judicious use of a rowing machine, coupled with quite a lot of strength and power based weight training. Yes, it is a little concerning that I'm not getting massive miles in, but at least I know the route, I know I can run, and the most important thing is not to aggravate this injury to the point that I have to start rehabbing from the start again.

In the meantime, if you want to sponsor me- or indeed any of the other 3 from Glossop Mountain Rescue Team who are doing this, we are raising money for the inglorious aspects of MR. Campaigns for new Land Rovers etc are always nice, and if you want to buy us one, please do go ahead, but at the moment, its those little niggly things that wear away the bank balance.... replacing used and out of date drugs, replacing team kit that keeps us dry(ish) and warm on the hill, radios that break, stretchers that need to be maintained and checked up etc etc.

Click here to go to the justgiving page.



  1. Keep the focus on the longer term goal Tim - it'll be good for January. As for long days with kit on the back - I've found many a time lesions, abrasions etc in lower back no matter how many times I do it, repack it. Paying attention to bag/sac stability en route is crucial - cut the swing! Maybe Caitlin and you need a rowing machine head to head!

  2. All the best with your recovery Tim.
    You have got to get better I have just sponsored you. No pressure m8 ;)