The Foot Dilemma

Decisions, decisions!

As I mentioned in a previous post, I’ve been suffering with an injured foot for the past several weeks. I somehow managed to damage a tendon in my left foot and I was advised to give it complete rest for up to two months. That has been very hard, I have to do a small amount of walking as part of my job. On the upside this has meant that I’ve been able to gauge how well the foot has been healing over the weeks since my consultation with the Podiatrist.

It now feels much better than it has done at any time in the last 3 or 4 months. Until I injured it to the point of serious pain and discomfort, I didn’t really realise how much background pain it had been causing me for some considerable time. As it stands at the moment, I can feel a very slight twinge of discomfort at various points in the day – normally when I’m turning or twisting the foot. It feels like I could start walking on it again.

This is not before time either. My Southern Upland Way walk is only five weeks away now. I’ve not been able to do any training for this, other than some static strength building exercises, which I’ve been doing sporadically over the past three or four weeks. I can feel the difference these have made, but there is no substitute for hill walking as preparation for hill walking.

Therein lies the dilemma I now face.

On the one hand, do I train for the walk and risk aggravating the injury – resulting in me having to cancel the walk. Or do I not train, give the foot another five weeks of rest and then not be fit at all for the walk, where I could also find that the foot isn’t up to the walk anyway and I have to abandon the walk after starting.

In fairness, the choice isn’t really all that difficult. I can’t turn up to Portpatrick in five weeks time without having tested the foot to see if it’s up to the rigours of long days and many miles, but I can’t shift the nagging doubt that if I test it too much it will fail me and I’ll be back to square one.

The thought of postponing the walk never ever occurred to me until my wife voiced the option the other day. I could, in theory, delay walking until later in the year. I wouldn’t lose much in the way of deposits – I’ve only paid out about £90 in B&B deposits and I would probably recover some of that if I gave enough notice. But the thought of not walking is not really something I want to consider. The Southern Upland Way is a walk for early summer or autumn, either before the midge or after the midge.

So the decision is to use the remaining weeks until the walk starts to build up the training miles slowly. I will be starting on Wednesday 27th March. I’ve decided to walk a 1/2 mile loop around our house for as many circuits as I feel the foot can take. I will perhaps try and do 2 miles that day. I then have the Bank Holiday weekend to build up the mileage if the foot feels good.

I have an opportunity to walk the first day of the Pennine Way with Pilgrim Chris and Dead Read on the 11th April. I’ve booked the day off work, in the hope that I will be ready to handle the 20 miles between Edale station and Hadfield station. At the moment it feels like a bit too much to expect from the foot, but only time will tell.

Kinder Downfall
On the Pennine Way at Kinder Downfall

I will update with progress as my training walks take shape over the next few days.

7 thoughts on “The Foot Dilemma”

  1. Good luck with the recovery plan Stuart. Your incremental approach sounds like the right way to go. To confirm: We’ll be departing for the North Sea from Portpatrick on 11 April. You are more than welcome to join us along the way and I will send you our finalised walking itinerary. A day out on the SUW could form yet another element of your recovery plan. Good luck! Tim

    1. Thanks Tim, I’d like to try and join you for a day. If I feel fit enough I will probably try for the 13th or the 20th. Looking at the itinerary you sent a couple weeks ago, the 20th may be the better one.

      I could park at Tibbie Shiels, walk back up the path to meet you coming in the other direction, then walk back with you to my car. The 13th is also a possibility, so lets see how the foot feels closer to the time. Did you email me your mobile number?

      The anticipation is growing now, only 5 weeks for me, but I have this nagging doubt hanging over me that the foot will not be ready. Only time will tell though, so not much I can do for the moment.

      Don’t hog all the good weather either!

    2. Tim, not sure if you’ve seen the weather reports from the UK over the past few days, but the Southern Uplands has received quite a large dump of snow!

      Could make life interesting if this cold snap persists for a couple more weeks! Eeek!

      1. Stuart, And you were worried about me hogging all the good weather. FYI: I was out snowshoeing this morning as part of my own training regime for the SUW. The weather does look like a bit of a concern, even for a Canadian. Given our ultra-light fixation for this walk, a few extra layers may be in order and the extra weight be damned. Meeting on 20th works for us (nice walking on the way down/up to Tibbie Shiels) as is the walk west of Bargrennan from what I can tell on Memory Map. Entirely up to you … and your foot! Will be good to rendezvous.

    1. Thanks Chrissie, always good to get confirmation that my thought process is reasonably sound 🙂

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