Achilles Tendons – Out of Shape running is Better than No Running

This is a continuation of my 6 month follow-up post from an Achilles tendon tear last year. It’s now been one year. Things were going well until February this year. I had delayed getting into the strengthening I mentioned in that previous post… and it caught up with me. I strained a hamstring slightly in a workout (not even a speed workout either). Then I continued to train in preparation for the Ragnar Relay. I ran great at Ragnar – my 16 miles or so for three legs was run averaging around 6:15-6:20; with my last 5 mile leg screaming downhill. I was so pleased with how strong I ran with such limited training but that last push fried my hamstrings – both of them.

There is no doubt that my basic muscle strength (which I have long thought was minimal anyway) was lost over the past year. I took for granted exactly how strong I really was for a runner (even without any apparent muscle). I realized that I had gained a few pounds but worse yet my fat percentage was way up. The extra 10 pounds I gained was all fat… and I lost muscle. This of course is doubly bad since as we age there is a natural muscle loss. If we don’t use it we lose it. Well, I lost it.

Ok, so I have lost 5 of the pounds. I had my first full week of training this week after 12 weeks. During that time I averaged 10-15 miles per week – mostly 8-10 minute miles. I did a mile time trial last week in 5:47. That run seemed to kick start my recovery – my hamstrings made a quantum leap improvement the next day.

I committed to run the Lake Tahoe Relay and will need to run a 10 mile leg. That is in 2 weeks. My long run has only been 6 miles (last week). So, I’m going in just thinking – “finish this thing”.

Then, it becomes a summer of real rehab running. My son, Ryan, and I have committed to doing strength workouts (he is far more diligent than I on this topic). In August I will run the Hood-to-Coast Relay with Coach Joe.

Here’s hoping for a fun and progressively faster summer!


Before rumors get out: Last night at the track there was a pact signed by just about everyone in sight… we’re running the Tucson Marathon with the purpose of everyone qualifying for Boston. Yes, you read it right – “we”.


About Dean Hebert

I’m a mental game coach, author and speaker. I work with individual athletes, parents, coaches, and teams on sports performance enhancement. Beyond my academic post-graduate work in sports psychology - the psychology behind athlete performance – I am a certified Mental Games Coaching Professional (MGCP) and certified hypnotherapist. I’ve authored several books and hundreds of articles. “Coach, I didn’t run because…” (2008) is a seriously light-hearted look at making excuses not to workout and how to overcome them. “Focus for Fitness” (2009) and “Screw the Goals Give me the Donut” (2010) are two of my eBooks on mental game approaches for the everyday athlete. I wrote these because I believe that everyone can benefit from the powerful mental techniques that the world’s best athletes use. I have been cited in Runners World, Best Health magazine (CN), SWEAT Magazine, and the Washington Examiner amongst many other publications. I have been a featured mental games coach in Runner’s World and for the internationally acclaimed trail running resource - I also regularly appear on sports and fitness talk shows such as LTKFitness, Runnersroundtable and for more than three years I have co-hosted a weekly video series with Coach Joe English for I specialize in mental toughness training. My clients include tennis, synchronized swimming, golf, race-kart, soccer, motocross, volleyball, MMA, cycling (road, off-road, time-trialist), running, duathlon and triathlon, basketball, football and baseball athletes. I have coached world-class athletes and athletes internationally. I have a passion for working with youth athletes and helping them apply mental game skills and techniques to all areas of life. Most importantly, my aim is to have people enjoy sports and life to their fullest through peak performances.
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5 Responses to Achilles Tendons – Out of Shape running is Better than No Running

  1. jim says:

    thank god I am not included in that “we”…I will enjoy watching you go by on the Newton Hills while drinking a beer

  2. Adam says:

    How severe was the hamstring injury — I’m not sure how to interpret “fried” aside from the sense that that sounds like a bad thing. I’m glad to hear you are on the mend, though, and committed to another successful marathon. My own recent achilles experience pales to yours (fortunately no rupture, surgery, etc.) but I am keenly aware of the tendency for the leg structures to become imbalanced when something goes wrong anywhere along the chain. When I’m in post-marathon recovery I resolve to incorporate an isometrics regime as a means of restoring balance and avoiding injury during the next race training phase. Good luck to you!

  3. I seriously strained both hamstrings in multiple places – both hams at the insertion point at the ischial tuberosity (butt bone) and the right one in belly of the hamstring which actually cramped up so bad I hobbled the last half mile of that last leg. It was so bad that my lower back was affected also. I couldn’t run at all for just over 2 weeks; then could jog briefly and slow for another 3-4 weeks; then could jog short (2-4 miles) after that and have gradually regained the ability to run as of this past week.

    This is just a great example (by the way I didn’t do this on purpose in order to demonstrate it) that I’ve always said – weight training may not make you a better runner BUT solid cross-training and/or weight training of various sorts can make stronger muscles which reduce injuries… which in the long run; if you stay consistent with your running as a result will make you a better runner.

  4. Adam says:

    Ad promised, here’s a (brief) report from my first marathon, San Diego’s Rock ‘n” Roll. The good news, no running Elvis beat me. The bad, well the weather turned out to be better for the beach than the marathon, and it zapped quite a few people, including me. I ran 3:16 flat, missing BQ by 1 second, if that’s not an incredible margin to contemplate, considering the distance.

    Splits: 10k: 42:xx, 13.1: 1:31:xx (right on schedule); 21: 2:30. I began a death march there due to cramping in both quads and left hamstring. Threw in 10 second walks (while knocking and rubbing the cramps) every kilometer. Clearly, hydration and electrolyte loss was a huge factor (I had no aerobic issues, and I could have held on if it were merely muscle fatigue). Mine was a common tale, even among grizzled veterans of the distance.

    I’m feeling well today and contemplating Long Beach in October as a place to take my revenge and get the BQ.

  5. Get revenge! If you can run this fast on a warm day… you’ll cruise on a more modest temperature day. One second. One second? I’d demand a recount!

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