Distance 160km [total: minimalist 329.1km: Barefoot 6893.8km] Week42-49 (13th Oct - 7th Dec)Well after a long break from writing in my blog I'm back with an entry and a discovery.
My long running saga of tendon soreness around my right ankle has been found not to be an ankle tendon problem at all but actually a referred pain from the Sciatic Nerve.
I mix my running with weight training at the gym to balance the aerobic with the strength. My one weak spot is my low back which I initially injured at the gym 23 years ago. The injury was caused by squats with 70kg+ weight and no warm up, stupid I know but now irreversible. The outcome was squeezed discs at L4/L5, these pressed on the sciatic nerve and I couldn't walk for close to a year.
Eventually is did heal but not back to the state before the injury, it has been an Achilles heel so to speak over the last 23 years.
Each time I do any heavy spine compressive exercise the sciatica will return. Over the years I gradually cut out various exercises after each one exacerbated the problem, Squats, Calf raises, Shoulder presses, and finally Seated rows.
The discovery that it was a sciatic nerve problem and not an ankle problem came when I began to use the 'Primal' workout idea of doing low reps but the heaviest weight I could lift. I started lifting almost the entire stack while doing seated rows, only 3 x 6 reps though. My workouts went quickly and it felt good until by back started aching. Then to compound the situation, rather than rest it, I decided more would be better, it would strengthen then back......
Well, no it didn't. The disc squeezed the nerve and I took a week off work to recover. The pain though was not in the upper part of the leg but in the back of the lower calf, a burning sensation and weakness in the muscles that control how the foot lands on the floor.
So, the silver lining in the cloud was that the massaging and ankle/calf strength training I was doing was unnecessary, there was nothing wrong with my ankle at all.
I now knew what I had to work on, free up that sciatic nerve, core strength training and no heavy exercise that could squeeze the discs.
Throughout the period I have still been running and averaging around 20km per week, sometimes more sometimes less. This last week I have run around 32km in total.
We are in full summer, the heat is here, the hot pavements have returned. I found that out around a week ago when I had a lazy sunday morning in then decided I should go for a run at around 11:30am. The sky was clear and sunny and it was around 28C. The ground temperatures ranged from tolerable on the concrete (40C) up to 50C+ on the blacktop (which I had to sprint over like walking on hot coals).
For my after work runs, when the weather is 25C+ (even at low air temp the ground temp can be hotter than anticipated due to the energy input from the sun) I will run later in the evening closer to sunset. On the weekends I will run in the mornings before 9am.
At the moment I still have the sciatic problem but I have stopped the weight training and am only doing tension exercises, chin ups, planks, crunches. No heavy lifting until it has cleared up. I am still getting the burning in the calf but now I know where the problem lies.