Chapter 7: No brain no pain


I had conquered most of my running injuries but for the remnant of one, my Achilles heel. The pain in my right Achilles tendon hung around, reminding me of sins from my past. It didn’t stop me running, usually, but intermittently it would flare up in ways that would force me to modify training for a week or two. The final piece in the jigsaw of consistent running would be getting to know and understand this pain. I spotted a trend during December 2015 (Christmas), April 2016 (a foreign training camp) and August 2016 (a foreign holiday). The trend was an increase in my run training volume and consistency (consecutive days running) without any appreciable change in my overall experience of pain. The thing that connected all 3 experiences was that they took place in novel environments and the training undertaken did not have a defined outcome (a race or training reference point). In other words, training was frequent but unstructured. Returning from my holidays, I glanced through my training diary and to my surprise; I had run almost every day for a month. I began to wonder why my pain didn’t get any worse despite the increase in the volume and frequency of running. It appears the relationship between pain and function is not straightforward.

There are 3 components to my experience of pain in the above story. The first is the state of the tendon’s health (biological), the second is my perception of the training load and other life stress (psychological) and the third is my location (environmental)…

Come back Friday May 14th for an extract from Chapter 8: The Marshmallow Test. Pre-order the kindle version of the book now on amazon, out June 28th 2021.