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.
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.