Off-season: Time for bodywork

After wrapping up my last A-race of the season it is time to easy up a bit. The evenings are already pretty short and the weather less comfortable for long bike rides. It’s time to let the body heal and recover.

My achilles had been bothering me the past few weeks leading up to Challenge Almere-Amsterdam. Another 42k run didn’t help and my achilles has been agitated and swollen since last Sunday. This was mostly due to worn out running shoes and orthotics. Two calls later and I had scheduled both an appointment with my podologist and physical therapist.


Getting orthotics is probably the best way for runners to reduce their risk of injury. I was surprised by the added amount of stability these inlays provide. More importantly, I’ve become less susceptible to aches like shin splints. At €230 they seem like a no-brainer for anybody running more than 20k a week.

The podologist made a some interesting remarks while looking at my feet and gait:

  • My forefoot strike puts some added stress on my calf muscles. My heel never truly hits the ground when running and thus does not stretch the muscles. She recommended adding static stretches and more foam rolling to my routine.
  • The worn shoes and orthotics put my achilles out of alignment, causing the irritation. Nothing a new pair of shoes and fresh set of inlays wouldn’t fix.
  • My biomechanics shouldn’t really be a limiter while running. Supported by proper orthotics my feet shouldn’t really be a problem.

My fresh pair of inlays should be ready by the end of the month, right on time for the fall (trail) running season.


Sadly my biomechanics aren’t optimal, partly because of old injuries from back in the day when I played hockey. Both my right knee and ankle are somewhat out of their ideal alignment. This has caused some issues in the past which have been resolved with help from my PT (thanks Peter at FysioPlus). The last few months my right knee and lower back have been bothering me during longer bike rides, so it was time for a check-up.

Peter was still on holiday so Frank did my initial intake to see what we had to work on over the winter. Overall he found some interesting imbalances between my left and right kinetic chains–basically a bunch of joints and muscle that work in tandem; think hips, knees and ankles. We also decided to schedule a Biodex (which I’d done last year) to further quantify any muscular imbalance in my legs.

While training I try to be super aware of my form and technique. My right knee rotates inwards slightly when pedaling and I have been toying with the thought of shimming my cycling shoes to alleviate this. During the examination Frank came up with a great point; don’t try to chase “perfect” form and only start changing things when you start to signal upcoming issues. Sounds fair, right?

After the Biodex we’re going to come up with a plan to get my core nice and strong over the winter. Expect some more “off-season” posts the next few weeks with all the details.

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