Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Injury Recovery Plan

I hurt my left calf on the weekend.  Hard to believe I could strain it on a short (2.5 mile) easy (9-10 minute pace) run on sidewalks in town.  Still not sure exactly what happened, but it got "tweaked" and has caused me problems ever since Saturday night.  I'm calling it a calf strain. I do not plan on letting it bring my running streak to an end.  Today marks 76 days (if I complete my run tonight). Of course, I didn't plan on last year's calf strain ending my running streak at 95 days either.  Shit happens.

Why will this year be different?  I learned a few things.  I'm fairly stubborn, but I do have the capacity to learn. Here's what makes this year different.  I didn't have a major acute episode that triggered the calf strain this year.  Last year it was speed work on the treadmill shortly after running a 28-mile fat ass trail event.  This year it was an innocuous 2.5 mile easy run following a 28-mile fat ass trail event.  Hey, maybe it's that darn fat ass event! Anyway, I believe this year's injury is less severe and I am taking several measures to encourage healing.  No, I'm not stopping my run streak.

In the morning, I put a heating pad on the calf for about 10 minutes.  This warms up the muscle, increases blood flow, and keeps it loose.  Plus, it feels good. After the heating pad, I do very light stretching of the calf and hamstring.  Then I use my foam roller and "tiger tail" stick to work the calf and loosen any tight areas or knots. Afterward, I massage it (or have my wife message it). This routine gets me off to a good start.

...Insert 8-10 hours of fairly sedentary office work...

After work I again use a heating pad to warm the calf up (about 5 minutes), lightly stretch, then go for a total 3-mile road/bike path route that includes a 1 mile walking warm-up, 1 mile easy jog, and 1 mile walking cool-down. After getting home, I ice the calf for 15-20 minutes. Then shower, lightly stretch, foam roll, stick roll, massage. Drink beer.

I plan on repeating this each day this week and then see how the upcoming Saturday trail run goes...it's another 28-mile fat ass event (4 x 7-mile loops).  I was planning on 21 miles, but think one 7-mile loop will be fine! I'll keep you posted on my recovery. From Sunday morning to Tuesday morning, it has improved about 25%. I think tonight's walk-jog-walk will tell me whether I'm on the right track. I've avoided pain medication so far, but if things don't continue to improve, I might need to increase the beer consumption.


Brad Williams said...


Are you willing to experiment on which type of beer might have the most healing power or are you pretty set on one specific brew?

Keep the streak alive!


Chris said...

I prefer Bass Ale, Sam Adams, and Dos Equis...but I'm willing to experiment!