Hi Eric and all,
I’m reading the cool impossible and loving your book and the plan! Currently on my sugar detox! I have a question about Achilles tendinitis and shoes. In January I got back into running after some time of being on/off, and after a month started to have extreme Achilles pain in my left foot, huge swelling, etc. I took an entire month off and then slowly got back up to running 20+km on my long runs, and now have the same issue with my right foot. I’m training for a 54 km ultra in September.
I’m wondering what kind of shoe I should wear while I am healing (my heel hurts like crazy). I would like to eventually make my way to a zero drop shoe as my best guess would be the injuries are a result of heel striking, but my heel feels so tender right now. Can I train while it is still sore, and what sort of shoe should I wear for that as well? I got injured in an older pair of Nike Free’s.
Thank you so much!! I’m so excited to be a part of this group!

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Hi Keeley,

Sorry to hear about your heel(s). Could you post a photo on here pointing to exactly where you are feeling the pain? Is it directly on the Achilles or more on the back if the heel?

Hi Eric! Here's a (slightly gross) photo of the heel pain. It's directly on the back lower heel and then moves around the sides of the back of my foot. The pain isn't really in the achilles itself as much, if I press on it it's pretty tender but the foot is far worse - you can see it's kind of swollen on the back like a big bubble, my heel normally doesn't look like that. The other heel is tender but not remotely painful like that (although it used to be, it originally had the exact same problem). I was wearing different shoes when each foot flared up - Nike Flex runners for the left (first) foot and then older Nike Free's for the right heel. 

I'm still running albeit a bit painfully but I can't do it without heel cushioning (trying to also stop heel striking but for some reason that seems more painful). 

Thanks so much for your input! I ordered your kit online and am looking forward to starting the strengthening exercises as well! 




Ok, this directly correlates your your calf. If you can, sit in the chair and with both hands reach down and massage:

  • the calf very deeply in the muscles and see of it is tender and tight.
  • Then massage the sides of you legs between knee and ankle feeling for more tender knots.
  • Next, massage your arch of that foot, again feeling for very tender spots.


  • massage and work on all tender spots.
  • then stretch your calf really well
  • stretch your BIG toe well in both directions.
  • stretch arch, by pulling all toes toward shin

Do this to trouble shot tender spots and for several days and see if this helps the heel.

There is a lot to this, so I may also need to do a video, but let me know what you experience.  This is going to take some effort and focus for a while, but we can get it.

ALSO, when running make sure you are not keeping your heel elevated and off the ground, strike forefoot and then let the heel touch the ground. If you are keeping heel from landing, you could be putting too much stress on heel.

Hi Keeley and Eric,

I've managed to do something similar-- argh!

I enjoy and learn a lot from your videos, Eric, and would certainly appreciate one on this sort of injury, if you're keen. I'll get to work on the self-massage and stretches that you outlined for Keeley.

Thank you,



Calf massage helped tremendously (releasing the tension hurts!). The heel feels heaps better. I'll keep working the calf. Also, I've gone back to the beginning; I'm moving through your 6 week beginner's training plan, conscientiously bringing both heels down. It's perfect for where I am right now, both metaphorically and physically-  I'm running on sand roads and beaches so I can circle around to check for heel imprints in my tracks.

I was in a panic over the pain. Thank you for maintaining this forum!

Keeley, I hope that you have found similar improvement.


I am definitely healing over here too but a bit more slowly! My heel is still very swollen after running. Keeping up with the calf and middle of the foot massaging! It definitely helps, my calves are extremely tight and and the foot is terribly sore.

I think that I need to slow down my long runs in order to focus on that form that Katie you seem to have developed! I’m definirely going to make that a priority in the next little while. Since I was already training for my ultra (it is in Sept.) when I discovered The Cool Impossible I haven’t been able to follow the program from the beginning and I look forward to that!

Hi Keeley - if there is a lot of swelling, you might need more rest/recovery from running, while you address the calf tightness. Rest will be needed to let the swelling come down, as simply focusing on the calf while maintaining a high training load might not work because of the swelling. 

And if you are doing a lot of hills and vertical for your race, this will put more stress on the calf.

Slowing down on long runs is always a good idea and will lead to improvement. Be sure to see my video on that from this winter.

Some thing to also look at:

- if doing a lot of hills, practice running up with shorter strides and quicker cadence, and easy efforts.

- if your climbing cadence is low, you are possibly spending too much time on each foot, placing stress to the calf and achilles.

So just some general thoughts based on my experiences.  Of course, if the swelling continues after some rest, you might need to have it looked at??

Hope this helps.

Hey Keeley,

Well, it's suddenly September. I am wondering: how is your race preparation going?

I hope that you and your calf are doing well.



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