Louise shares her story of how she got back to running after struggling with persistent problems with her Achilles tendons. One goal has been to be able to run Göteborgsloppet, which she will do this weekend after rehab and careful training! Congratulations to Louise! 

Louise Solberg Siljefalk lives in Gothenburg with her husband Anders and two daughters, Tuva & Tone.

Louise talks about her running, rehab and goals.

-Last fall I ran the Idre mountain marathon 45k and 2 weeks later I ran the Sälen mountain marathon. After that, I felt a pain in my Achilles tendon, I was stiff in the morning and had difficulty climbing stairs. I decided to take some rest from running. A month later it felt better and I tried to run a short run and it felt good during the run but got painful after. I then decided to seek help from a physiotherapist and was told that I had probably strained my Achilles tendon. I was given a rehab schedule to follow with different types of toe raises, one-legged, two-legged, eccentric. I did this for a few months and expanded with weight and also tension exercises such as box jumps. In addition, I also got a running schedule to slowly get back to running again.

-At first it was very short rounds, running 500 meters, walking 100 meters. It went and felt good so I had to expand to run a maximum of 15-20 minutes and then rest 2 days.

Instagram @lisensol

- After doing my toe lifts every day and running 2-3 times a week, it started to feel good, until suddenly out of nowhere I could no longer take a running step without pain. Could not understand what I had done wrong when I had done everything according to the rehab plan for more than 2 months. I was devastated and was about to give up everything that has to do with running when I got tips on shockwave treatment. I looked around Gothenburg and finally found a physiotherapist who performed shockwave therapy. It was not the most comfortable treatment I have done but it felt worth trying. I went there 3 times and then the physiotherapist considered that I had responded so well to it that it was enough. Now I started to get my hopes up again about running and continued with the schedule I had before.

- After a couple of weeks, I had a setback again and got pain in another tendon in my foot and I also started to get sensations in my other foot. Once again, I wanted to put running on the shelf when I got a tip about another physiotherapist in Gothenburg who had also done research on Achilles tendon injuries. There I got the most detailed examination, and found out that I am weaker in my right calf. The advice was that I needed to train the muscles so I became even on both calves by increasing the weight of the toe lifts. I was also told that I am overly flexible in my joints, which has meant that when I have done my toe lifts, I have gone too high up on my toes, which has caused me to overload the joints on the front of the foot instead ...

How do you train for the moment?

- At the moment I run every third day, do toe lifts every day and with heavy weights twice a week. In addition, I do strength training three times a week. Today I have been able to increase my runs from 15 minutes to 45 minutes and will continue to increase by 10% every other run or so. May be on a subjective 5 in a pain scale between 1-10. The next day I may have pain but should not be worse. That way I know if I have overexerted myself or not.

- If I just run this schedule, I hope that I won't have any problems running the Göteborgsvarvet in a few weeks. It may not be a personal best but I'm happy if I can get around. The biggest goal is the Idre mountain marathon 45k later this summer. It will be a challenge but so far it looks bright as I respond well to my training and that I listen to my body.

What has this experience taught you?

Mindfulness has been something that I have long felt that I should try, but it has never happened. Given my situation where I am injured and at the same time put very high demands on myself at races, I have to rethink. Therefore, it's time to try to let go of all the high goals and just focus on having fun while doing my rehab, show confidence in my rehab and be patient.

To get started, I have set up 2 x 15 minutes a week that I will only focus on mindfulness. I have chosen where I want to be, where I get peace, which is near the sea. I want to find the strength in my inner self again, it will be challenging and far outside my comfort zone but I will try to resist thinking too much and/or doing two things at the same time, instead just focusing on - right now.

What is your favorite Power Woman gear?

"My favorite piece of clothing right now is definitely my Run Hot Shorts! Also Edge Run Shorts, but haven't had time to use them as much as my run hots! Run Hot Shorts fit like a glove, it becomes like an extra "skin" on the body. They don't chafe and stay in place throughout the run, nothing that slides up or down. It's something that I really appreciate, especially during longer runs. A plus is also that they dry really quickly, during the first km during the Idre Fjällmarathon last year I fell into a swamp and became completely wet. I thought in that minute - how is this going to work, to run another 40 km with wet shorts -  but after only a few kilometers they had dried! That´s great because I always run and take a dip in the sea afterwards. Then it's nice to be able to jump into the water with both shorts and a sports bra and run home again without it chafing!

May 09, 2023 — Anna Wretling