Runner Down. Boo.

Ugh. The post I’d hoped not to make.

After 16 weeks of marathon training — including two half marathons — and not missing one mile of training due to injury, I’ve now skipped two scheduled runs. Unfortunately, there are a few more to be missed. Le sigh.

As I mentioned in my race recap of the Hollywood Half Marathon, I cramped up with two miles left in the race. I kept going as it didn’t get too bad until the very end when my legs seized up anytime I tried to accelerate or elongate my stride. It’s most likely then that I strained my left calf. (Ironic as it had been my right calf that had been giving me pause earlier in the training cycle.) I ran four miles the day after the race, and while my left calf was super tight, my quads were also pretty sore, so I figured it was just all-over post-race soreness and no big deal. I was able to hold a decent pace even though it was a somewhat uncomfortable run.

However, as the day wore on, I started to get more worried about it. It felt bruised – not just sore. This week’s schedule called for 45 miles, including a 9-mile tempo run and a 20-mile long run with 13 run at MP. So, pretty intense. After touching base with my FMC, she suggested just doing an easy run in lieu of the tempo run if my calf wasn’t close to 100%. Well, yesterday, while my quads were almost 100%, my calf was still jacked the eff up. I could have slapped on compression socks and done an easy run as it actually feels mostly OK once it’s warmed up a little, but I’ve had calf strains before, and if I dick around with it and try to run on it when it’s in this state, then I just prolong the healing process and risk re-injuring it. What should be a 1-2 week running break can turn into a 4-week nagging injury.

This morning it feels significantly better, perhaps 80%, but I’m needing this calf to be 100% to take the beating it’s going to take in the last three weeks of training, so again, I’m just exercising patience and holding off. The payoff to risk ratio of doing a three-mile run just because I’m itching to run is not worth the possibility of slowing down my recovery.

This is perhaps the biggest difference in running at my age as compared to when I ran twenty years ago. The benefit of resting far outweighs the benefit of pushing. It’s a difficult idea to wrap my brain around when my instinct is to TRY HARDER, but injuries are humbling, and experience, if paid attention to, is a wise teacher.

So a few more days off of running, and a whole lot of this. Oh, yeah, I learned my lesson. A banana a day, keeps the cramps away.

Do I rub these on my calf with or without the skin? Oh, I eat them? Damn.
Do I rub these on my calf with or without the skin? Oh, I eat them? Oops.

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