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Thursday, May 07, 2009

A marathon runner with a string of lower leg injuries


I just came across your videos on YouTube, specifically How to Strengthen Tiabialis Posterior.... I will try this immediately.

I'm 57 years old and training for my tenth marathon. I ran a PR of 3:36 a year ago. The last two training cycles (dropped out of last Autumn) I've got into a pattern of lower leg injuries about 8-9 weeks into training (50+ miles/week avg.). I still feel good aerobically, but can't seem to get past these injuries. What I currently have is probably from the pos-tib tendon: inner ankle/shin pain in right leg. I had something similar last Autumn which then developed into a very painful arch which caused me to stop running for a month. The problems I'm having seem to be related to tendons and ligaments, possibly some muscle involvement, not bones.

I am on a mostly low-fat high carbohydrate diet due to high cholesterol that caused me a heart problem at age 46 (no further problems since reducing cholesterol), but I'm not currently on a cholesterol drug, just an aspirin daily. I supplement with 500 mg Ester-C, a multi-vitamin, 400 mg Vitamin D, Vitamin B12, Potassium, and Magnesium daily. I've tried Calcium, but have digestive problems iwth it. I do not purposely avoid protein, and have an average intake mostly at lunch and dinner.

I saw the post on your website about the London Marathoner. Is there anything you can suggest that could help me? My race is in 7 weeks...

Gary responds:
Please do the tibialis posterior exercises as described in the video.

Please read my articles about low cholesterol diets and the many dangers to health.  We now know that cholesterol is not the principal driver of cardiovascular disease but inflammation.  It may be merely coincidence that you feel your heart problems abated with the cholesterol reduction and may have more to do with related factors like lifestyle changes.  Much depends on the true nature of the heart problem at the time.

I have just published an article about stress fractures in a runner about your age.  Please read it here and take the action suggested, including the shock absorbing inner soles. You also need to deal with any underlying infections such as gum disease that may increase cardiovascular risk.  What is recommended in that article will be relevant to you.  The only other thing I would add is a couple of scoops of Loadup Fruitful Greens to a twice daily berry protein Smoothie to help quench any underlying inflammation.  

I would not take any form of aspirin long term.  It can be a factor in speeding joint arthritis and does not bode well for a healthy digestive system.  You can replicate its action as a blood thinner with a capsule of vitamin E daily, plus other nutrients like vitamin C and garlic, Ginko and others all of which you can get off this website.

A diet that is high carbohydrate-low in fats will cause the weak connective tissue problems that you describe.  Have a closer look into this please.  I, for example, have been on full cream raw milk daily for over a year and my cholesterol levels have dropped - not risen.  And I am running faster - injury free.

Please read my E-Books on training for events like marathons.  Are you running too many marathons?  Have you thought of concentrating on shorter events of less than 15km and short off-road events and doing just one marathon a year?  Few people can run more than a dozen marathons in their lifetime without suffering lasting damage to their limbs.  How long do you want to keep running?  If you want to keep running well past 60 years of age, then think about how you are going to achieve that.
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