Heel or Heal?

Ok, what passes for normal around here resumes.

I can’t grumble about the break. Part of it involved spending Christmas in Siena, in Tuscany. Apart from being a dream place in its own right, Siena is slap in the middle, between Chianti country and the southern Tuscan paradise containing gems like Pienza, and Montepulciano. For overload, San Gimignano is close by, too. A better break from training, I could not have asked for.

I’m firmly convinced the break did me good. My figures on the ithlete iPhone app that I mentioned in my last blog look to be going in the right direction, and I feel more relaxed about life in general than has been the case for quite a long time.

The only fly in the ointment at present is my heel. Diagnosed as a form of plantar fasciitis, I am in a quandary familiar to many Masters athletes. My preparation for the indoor track season, including the European Masters Indoors in Ghent, in March, requires that I start to crank up the work rate around now. My needs to get shot of the heel problem require this to be a period of rest. A bit of both is a recipe for improving neither health nor performance. Catch 22.

So what does the Masters athlete do? I’m about to resume full training and crank it up. That’s because it doesn’t hurt when I train. It’s just bloody painful first thing in the morning, and when I walk about a lot. Excruciating, in fact. However, it is “just” pain. There’s no impairment of function. So, counter-intuitive though it might be, the recipe is regular massage and manipulation (actually the most painful thing about the whole episode!), an ice-bucket, and the right shoes. Good by-product is that we’re drinking more white wine. Last of my case of 1996 Montbazillac sweet Burgundy has almost gone. I also get to spend serious time in my Vibram Fivefingers shoes, which continue to be absolutely brilliant.

I’m also adjusting to every night spent in a night splint for my left foot. This is a bit like a cut down, calf length ski boot, designed to prevent my foot from flexing downwards (ie pointing) at night. Weird to begin with, but the improvement in my heel pain first thing in the morning was instant. This has convinced me that the condition is curable in the long term, and manageable in the medium term, even if painful in the short term.

Amazing how well you can convince yourself, isn’t it?

Training-wise, I was quite pleased to finish my pre-Christmas sessions with my first 10,000 kg weights set. 2x5x10x100kg on the leg press device, if you’re interested. My quads and calves were singing for a bit, afterwards. That’s a pretty big weight altogether, when you think about it – around 22,000 lbs. and it’s going to go higher soon!

New Year Resolutions? Nope. Making it to 31 December would be good.

See you next time.


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