Years ago, after a series of marathons, I began having knee and hip pain. Thankfully, I found Vibram Five Fingers. For a year or so I was able to run pain-free in Five Fingers – toe shoes with no cushion or built up heel. Running flat footed was awesome because it didn’t hurt at all.
But like any idiot, I pushed too hard and injured myself. The tendon down and under my right heel has been in off-and-on pain ever since. I had to stop running long distances in Five Fingers.
Thanks to Altra zero-rise shoes, I’ve been running pain-free for a year or more. Until two weeks ago. While showing my daughter how to sprint, I hurt the heel again. The idiot reigns supreme.
Altra Torin 2.0 Zero Rise Running Shoes
Image from FeedTheHabit.com
The key to training while injured is not training in any way that aggravates the injury. Since running is the only thing that hurts the heel, I won’t be running for a few weeks at least!
That’s actually the best injury to have when training for a triathlon. Between weight training, swimming three times a week and biking at least that often, running isn’t terribly important. Both swimming and biking help running, so I won’t be too far behind once the heel recovers.
Back where I grew up, I would go through long periods of only biking – an easy thing to do in California’s mild weather. It was a cool feeling to go running after only biking for several months. My legs were strong from riding and could go forever. It was the cardio, the breathing, that failed first.
But now, combining biking workouts with swimming should erase that leg strength/cardio imbalance. And really, most triathletes are weakest at swimming, so more training is needed there, and with biking, it’s just hours and hours in the saddle working those legs. With both of those being strengthened, running comes along without much trouble. Plus, once you get to the run portion of an Ironman, you’re close enough to being done that the excitement (relief?) drives you forward.
The Training Dichotomy.
It’s a weird thing to be in top physical condition, but afraid to do anything physical out of fear of injury. I feel like I could bench press quite a bit right now, but there’s no way I’m going to even try it. For the next six months, I’m going to be the biggest sissy I’ve ever been… right up until it’s time for a workout.
Benching what I used to would mean an injured shoulder, and that would take swimming out of the mix and make biking really uncomfortable. Playing football or basketball? Forget it. A knee injury would end it all.
So this early training injury of mine is probably a good reminder that while I’m training several hours each day, I need to not do anything BUT bike, swim, lift weights, row and hopefully run again soon. Because you’re not an Ironman until the end of the race. Until then, I’m very fragile. I’m almost iron.