About ten months ago I finished my first season of long distance running. Nothing professional but my ambitions have been serious enough that I got myself a trainings plan and actually felt bad if I decided to be too lazy today and did not train. There was no particular goal either, other than try and run a few fun runs. Once I had finished my last 14 km run for the season, I knew I would want to run a half marathon come next year. But my Achilles almost stopped me completely from pursuing it. For months I was unable to run.
I tried to rest and it seemed to help, but as soon as I went for a slow easy short jog, I ended up with sore Achilles again. I stretched, but mostly massaged it. It did not help. It was simply not enough and did not treat the cause of the problem, as I found out in my first body assessment session with a clinical Pilates Therapist. My legs were not strong enough keeping up with my amazing running abilities. I was running faster for longer without giving my legs more strength. I had very bad balance in my feet, which when you put your body through exhausting runs, copped the impact of instable foot positions on hard surface. My muscles from my lower back all the way down to my feet were rather tied, because I did not stretch enough before or after my runs. All these rather obvious problems were treated and gone within 10 weeks.
With consistent and targeted stretching, strengthening and massaging, my sore Achilles had gone. Within 8 months I was able to prepare for my first half marathon and managed to run it! Make sure to look after your greatest asset when you are into running, stretch, strengthen and massage it often and consider clinical Pilates and remedial massages.