Monday, February 13, 2012

New Plan for Calf Healing

Below is my Garmin Connect summary of this morning's 3-mile treadmill run/walk (fairly vanilla until you click "view details" to get the graphs). Nothing spectacular about it, but it's part of my new plan for getting this darn calf to behave. One surprising positive note is that during the middle running section, my cadence is right around 90 per foot (180 turn-over per minute). That's where I want it!  During the walking sections, it drops to about 60-65 per foot. That's OK.

Based on this run, and how I felt over the last few days, I have a new plan for healing my calf.  Last week I was on the right track, but the weekend threw me off and basically "re-injured" my calf.  I think it was a combination of not warming up (or cooling down) plus doing more miles than I was ready to complete with the injured left calf.  All last week I was doing very short runs with long warm-up and cool-down periods.  On the weekend, without warming up, I went out and did a 5-mile trail run on Saturday and an intended 5-mile trail run on Sunday.  Sunday's run was cut short to 3 miles because of calf pain. At least I was smart enough not to try and limp through that last 2 miles.  What did I learn from this weekend's poor runs?  Here are my lessons for running while injured:
  • Warm-up thoroughly before the actual run
  • Cool-down thoroughly after the run
  • Go easy during the run and try to keep the running surface smooth and level
  • Avoid extreme temperatures (cold, snow, ice, etc)
  • Continue a stretching, massage, ice, heat, elevation, compression routine even a few days after the injury seems healed
I was getting a little cocky that I had conquered this calf strain.  I was wrong. Today was back to the original plan with a new twist...stay indoors on a treadmill for the short runs (with long walking warm-up and cool-down).  Last week I ran on roads/sidewalks.  This week will be the same plan indoors on a treadmill. No uneven terrain. No cold. No wind. No snow or ice. Easy, predictable running in a warm environment. This plan will get boring very quickly, but I hope 5-7 days of this will get me back to "almost normal" in regards to the sore calf muscle. I have 4 weeks until the Land Between the Lakes trail marathon on March 10. I figure one week of pure short (3 mile) easy run/walks will then transition into one week of easy short (4 mile) run/walks, then one week of easy 5 mile runs, then a final week of 3-7 mile easy runs leading up to the 26.2 mile trail run.  No long runs...hopefully my 28-mile trail run on January 28 will suffice for the March 10 marathon. Time will tell.  I'm confident I will at least start and try to finish the marathon.  Last year, with a similar calf injury, I didn't even travel to the race.

NOTE:  Today marked 82 continuous days of running (at least one uninterrupted mile each day). The streak is on life-support, but it's still going.  I'll reach my planned 100 days on March 2. I could take a few days off to heal up before the marathon...or continue the streak indefinitely!


Jess said...

82 days is seriously impressive. Hope the calf feels better soon!

Chris said...

Thanks Jess. I'm now at 96 days and counting. Calf is healing well.