Ankle injury, early on in Base

Morning All

Currently feeling very sorry for myself - i was just beginning week 5 of IM Base, lovely consistent training, clearly progressing then BANG! A broken paving slab on London’s south bank whilst out on a recovery run on Monday turns me over. A suspected fractured ankle turns out to be, “fortunately”, just extensive soft tissue damage. The swelling is coming down but with the London Marathon in April and IM Frankfurt in June I feel that my key events for the year are already compromised.

Assuming i can be back to some sort of training in the next few weeks (no given there), what are the views on:

  1. Should I resume base where I left off and cut build or speciality short?
  2. Based on my key events, at what point should I consider deferring? i.e. if I’m off the bike for 2 weeks and running for 4 will I just be completing rather than competing. I want PBs in both events.

I’m posting here also as just feeling gutted but am sure people have endured worse and come back strong. Hoping to get a few nuggets of experience and encouragement. Looking back is no good but it is so frustrating - did I need to be running, why did I go a different route etc.

Cheers, TP

I would cut a bit of base. Plan to end build for the London marathon in april and do specialty between april and June to peak for IM Frankfurt.
Edit: Good luck with your ankle I hope for a speedy recovery


Thanks, Rainier. That is conveniently when the build plan ends anyway. I know it’s just an opinion, but if miss two weeks of base would you pick up where you left off or just treat those two weeks as missed workouts?

TL;DR - focus your training structure on the June Ironman; come what may with London. Allow the ankle to fully heal and don’t rush back too soon. Rainier’s plan is pretty good.

This is unfortunate, man, but sh&% happens sometimes. Don’t second guess yourself about your running and the injury; that’s counter productive. You can’t fix it now, just learn from it in the future.

Your ankle needs to heal fully before you start pressing training, even if that means you’re not going to PR both events. Up front, if I were your coach, even before your injury, I would’ve pushed you to choose one or the other as your real “PR” goal because training for a straight marathon and training for an Ironman are not the same. You will necessarily not be able to give your absolute best at both disciplines two months apart. A marathon will really tax your body and compromise your training for at least a week, probably longer, afterwards. So I think your race/training plan even before the injury is somewhat flawed, and that’s now compounded by the injury.

IMO, you WILL be able to have a really good marathon if you focus on your Ironman training, particularly with the injury now. You won’t be able to run for several weeks, maybe a month or more, if you allow your ankle to fully heal, which you should. So, I would focus my training structure around the Ironman in June, and do my best to run a strong marathon in London as my IM training allowed.

Let me caution you on coming back too early from an ankle injury: I suffered a number of sprained ankles from various sports over my teens and 20s. I very rarely took recovery from those sprains seriously, often just tightening up shoelaces or throwing a brace on and going back at it within a day or two, even sprains which had me on crutches for a few days, I’d hasten my comeback. It never seemed to matter too much until I dislocated my foot when I was 27, essentially destroying the soft tissue throughout the ankle joint. I was in a boot and unable to bear weight on my foot for two months, and full recovery of the leg strength took more than a year.

Take your ankle recovery seriously. Spend time in the water, even doing modified no-impact run training in the deep end of the pool. Listen to your body. Do not let the competitive spirit rush your comeback onto the bike and especially not into running simply because you have goal events. IMO, you need to reset your mindset for these events, and I would recommend structuring training around the IM and do your best under the circumstances at London. You have to think about the worst case: you rush back (particularly into road running) and re-injure the ankle in March… now what? You will be far better off allowing for full recovery now.

As the guys have said on the podcast, your “training” right now is to allow your ankle to heal. Do not compromise that by trying to come back too fast or maintain some kind of additional training load to compensate for loss of volume on the bike and road. It’ll be hard to do, but be smart about it and you’ll come out way better off on the back end.


Just wright those two weeks off as lost. The build peak is more important then the bit a base.

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Rainier, thanks for your advice, it is really appreciated and sounds like a sensible approach. It is also dependent on when the physio says I can start to think about being active again.

Nash, wow, thanks so much for such a considered and thorough reply. That reply is packed full of good advice and it’s really interesting to hear your own story. I am lucky enough to have an excellent physio at my disposal through my job who I am hoping to see on Tuesday now that the swelling has largely subsided.

I feel relatively relaxed about the races, I have deferment options for both and will make a call in maybe a month or so time. Getting into London isn’t easy so i want to do it the best I can and am considering deferring that to 2020 and just focusing on Frankfurt this year. I didn’t plan to have two major races so close, but I had already entered FFT when I was told I had got a place in London.

Thanks again for your input, it is very cathartic to be able to share and discuss this. In previous years this would have been a real downer for me, but I am very much looking forward with this one.


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Like Nash has sad focus on recovery you are going to do a freaking iron man.
You have to be healed enough to train let alone compete.
I don’t know what extensive soft tissue damage means for you but I guess some tendons are pulled and muscle are overstretched. These things do not heal quick. I twisted my ankle and got back on the bike 4 days after and did 1300km in two weeks for a vacation. During that vacation I crashed into a car witch wrecked my arm.

Long story short I compensated for those injuries and this messed up my shoulder and knee.
Heal and make sure you can maintain good form before you start training (hard) again.

a brief update to thank you all for your advice and support. 22 days after the injury I’ve been “discharged” by my physio to start running. I’ve not done a single stride in that time and waited 14 days before doing some very gentle turbo and some no-leg swimming. I’ve worked on my rehab and been patient, knowing that it is a small amount of time in the grand scheme of things.

My ankle feels really good and my physio says that after a couple of test runs I can build back into my plan.

Thanks to all for your support and wise words, they helped me rest when otherwise I might have pushed it.

Cheers, TP