Ultrarunning Edge Blog
That Awful "Snap": Recovering from a Broken Ankle Print E-mail
Written by Bruce R. Copeland   
Friday, 14 October 2011 17:45

Some of you know I was out of commission most of this past summer after breaking my ankle on Memorial Day weekend. It has taken until now to pretty much fully recover.

This all began on a drizzly morning trail run. I had been out for about an hour and was feeling pretty good when I arrived at the wooden foot bridge over the creek in Corner Canyon. This is one of those curved, wooden, Japanese-style bridges. I've been across it dozens of times in the past. fib1 Yes it can be treacherous on a frosty morning, but temperatures were in the high 30's. I didn't give it a second thought. I ran to the crest of the bridge and took one more step, at which point both my feet shot out from underneath me, and I was sliding down the bridge on my back. At the base of the bridge there is a slight lip. My left foot caught the lip, and as the leg buckled under I heard that awful "snap". After 10 or 20 seconds of intense pain and nausea, I cautiously got up on my uninjured leg and began to test a little weight on the injured leg. Initially the foot on the injured leg was canted to the side at an odd angle. However, as soon as I put weight on the foot, I felt the ankle rotate back into correct position, and the ankle was stable again. I was about 1/4 mile from a trailhead, so I called my wife and some friends to come meet me, and I hobbled to the trailhead.

A trip to the ER and some X-rays confirmed what I had known all along. My ankle was broken. The break involved only the fibula (3 inches above the ankle bone). The fibula is basically a stabilizer rod for the ankle, but it supports only about 5% of body weight when walking, which is why I was able to hobble for 1/4 mile without intense pain. The X-rays showed the broken bone to be almost correctly lined up, so the ER doctor gave me a strap on boot cast, some crutches, and told me to see an orthopaedist.
Speedwork for Running Training—Deconstructing the Jargon Print E-mail
Written by Bruce R. Copeland   
Saturday, 25 October 2008 08:24

All runners benefit from a certain amount of speedwork. Speedwork can substantially improve overall health and fitness, and that applies equally to those of us who do trail running and ultramarathons. In fact, it is sometimes claimed that ultrarunners develop slow legs because we spend too large a fraction of our mileage doing long, slow distances.

But what kind of speedwork? The terminology can be confusing and often doesn't describe either how the workout is done or what the workout is supposed to accomplish. So here's a breakdown of the main types of speed work for ALL runners: