Running Training with Arnica Cream
Written by a customer for other customers.
I embarked on a pretty aggressive training regimen in February. I intend to run 17 miles, my legs of an annual relay race. I am 46 and till now I was not a regular runner.
I am not a runner.
I should say I WAS not a runner. Prior to the age of 35 the most mileage I had put on my feet in one outing was two miles in High School gym class. Don’t get me wrong, I loved sports and played many, but cycling had been my only endurance activity and I rarely got time to ride.
I knew running for long distances hurt. I never really saw a happy Marathoner. I dismissed it as an activity for skinny Kenyans who like to visit Boston.
When I was 36-ish I had the bright idea to get in shape. Crossfit and training for a half marathon became my daily activities. 36 didn’t sound old until two months into this training regimen and I felt a pop in one achilles and then a pop in another. They were not torn but a resulting trip to the doc found but they were slightly damaged and needed 6-8 weeks of rest and recovery. Training over. Doc said, “36 year olds can’t go from 0 – 60,” a happy euphemism for how I had been training.
Fast forward to the age of 44:
I had the opportunity to join up with a “Ragnar” team that was participating in the Reno Tahoe Odyssey (AKA the RTO), a 178 mile relay race through the Reno and Lake Tahoe area. I had participated as a van driver for a couple of years prior to this and always wanted to be a runner but seriously lacked the ability or the invitation.
A last minute spot on my team opened up giving me 3 months to train. That last minute spot was for the 4th hardest group of legs on the course and a notorious 6 mile, 2,000 foot climb. I had no idea what I was getting myself into.
I ran nearly every day and built up my endurance to a solid eight miles….. Well I would jog 8 miles once per week and have a whole lot of 2 mile runs. But those miles were on mostly flat land. Sometimes I would find the biggest hill I could get to near my house and run up that but this is Vegas so a neighborhood hill here is a gentle sloping driveway in Reno.
Those miles were slow and they never felt good. When I was 36 and running 9 mile pre-half marathon training runs, those miles were even worse. Never did I feel a runners high. Never did I feel the “flow,” that meditative state that long distance runners and other endurance athletes speak so highly of. I only ever felt pain and effort. But I was proud that I didn’t stop and pride is a helluva motivator.
I was also an idiot.
“You do not know what you do not know” should have been emblazoned on my shirt. I was not running with other people. I was not studying nutrition. I was not the right terrain for the race I was prepping for. I was not stretching. I was not varying the pace, distance, or effort of my training runs. I was not managing recovery or working on strength. In other words I was not doing any of the “right” things one should do when preparing for 17 miles of running at the age of 43.
On race day, one mile into the first leg I was in hell. The first leg was 6 miles straight up hill. Not the hills I was used to running in relatively flat Las Vegas but bad-ass mountain hills using a dirt road at high noon. It was kicking my ass and I was VERY surprised at how “not ready” I truly was. After the first mile I quickly fell off pace to a power walking stride with a few short sprints. I made it to the top of the hill 6 miles later, completely spent and at least 40 minutes behind the slow target time I had set for myself. The last 2 miles of this leg were straight downhill so I was hoping I could make up time with downhill speed.
Wrong. Cramps in my calves, hamstrings and muscles I still can’t name hit me hard. I’d cramp up, stop, rub them out, run, cramp again, stop, rub them out, run, cramp again, etc for the last grueling 2 miles.
I finished. I was way off the target time with 11 team members waiting.
I was beat down.
I recovered as best I could in the 3-4 hours till my next running leg. I successfully ran my last two legs for a grand total of 17 miles without a cramp or other issue. I think I did the whole thing on will power. I got to hear post-race sage advice from diehard runners like “pickle juice cures cramps” and “should have brought salt tabs.” Gee thanks.
Fast forward another 2 years to the age of 46:
I am 46 and signed up to do it again. This time I chose the same legs…. And everyone asks if I am crazy. I chose my legs first. I could have taken any of 8 easier legs.
Did I spend the last 2 years running? Here and there. Maybe once a week I would do a 2 miler.
Petty simple. The beating I took stuck in my head ever since. It made me mad. I wanted redemption and the opportunity arose. I knew I could do better. Maybe it’s a mid life crisis.
Either way, I have been training for two months now. But this time I am trying to be smart and train smart. I am running every day. I am varying the runs from stride to cadence to terrain. I am reading book after book and learning as much as I can about running, motivation, endurance, nutrition and mindset. I am using Back to Normal Arnica Cream.
One of the first issues I encountered was with tendonitis in and around my achilles tendon. I switched to zero drop minimalist running shoes in an attempt to strengthen legs and feet. It worked. But not without pain.
My feet hurt. My legs hurt. My tendons hurt. My everything hurt during and after runs. I would try stretching. I would try ibuprofen. I would try whatever anyone recommended. My wife recommended Back to Normal. She had been using it on her lower back off and on after a car accident she suffered.
Does Arnica Cream help with Heel, Toe and Arch pain?
Yes. Rubbing a little cream in the areas that hurt and then the muscle fibers leading to those areas led to pain relief within minutes. Doing some foot stretches after rubbing in the cream also helped.
I am the biggest sceptic on the planet of any product and it’s claims and I avoid most medications under normal circumstances. But I had Back to Normal Arnica Cream at the ready (my wife’s) so I gave it a shot. Within minutes pain was noticeably reduced. It doesn’t stink. It doesn’t leave a film. It just absorbs in to my skin and works.
The relief lasted. My post-workout recovery seems to be speedier when I use the cream too.
The second issue I encountered was Tendonitis.
Does Arnica Cream help with Tendonitis?
Tendonitis comes from the repetitive straining of tendons and yes it can help with both the relief of pain from strain and recovery. In my case my achilles tendon was hurting. And with my past history of nearly tearing them from over training I was hyper sensitive to any potential issues. I rubbed Back to Normal on each tendon and the areas surrounding them. I used the stretching guides they provide and I noticed improvement.
Again, the improvement lasted. The next day Was up and running again with no pain. Do I think Back to Normal is a miracle healing salve? Maybe. Is it having a good effect that I can definitely feel? Yes.
The running continues.
No less than 3 miles every day with the average bing 5. Pace times are coming down. I have found a happy stride.
I have found Flow. I have found the “Runners High” that was always promised but never received.
I am doing 3 mile trail runs in the deserts surrounding Las Vegas to do aggressive hill work. It has required using a whole new set of muscles and tendons as trails lead to rolled ankles. Stretching and Back to Normal are still my train partner and it is working. I feel much more ready today than I did at the start of the race two years ago. I still have 2 full months of training to go.
I will update the folks at Back to Normal as my training and the eventual race happens.