Saturday, May 21, 2016

I feel like Bill Murray in Groundhog Day

Waking up each morning to the same predictable and annoying routine. I can't run! My calf injury refuses to give up. Persistent bastard! The gradual comeback to running that I mentioned previously lasted eight days. I noticed a soreness developing after 2k of the BBQ Stakes run on 4 May so walked to the finish. After two days off I ran in the Batemans Bay Parkrun, starting out feeling hopeful. I ran smoothly with kilometres of 5:20 and 5:19 (no pain at all), then suddenly, a sharp pain in the left calf! I stopped running and walked gingerly to the finish.

I've now had fourteen days off running (the calf feels totally normal on waking and when walking). My cycling training continues to go well. So thankful for that! I rode in my 4th cyclo-cross race last Saturday and had a heap of fun. This time I was pleased the course didn't require any running at all (I walked my bike up the one set of steps). The Youtube video below shows my race. Started last in the field of 19 and maybe finished 15th (the results aren't up yet).

The only running race I've entered is the Sydney City to Surf on 14 August. That gives me ten weeks to resume running and be fit enough to cover 14k. My plan is for a further 3 weeks off running (making 5 in total) then 3 weeks to build up to continuous runs of 10k. That should be enough. Marathoners rarely run the race distance in training, do they? And I don't have a wall to hit during a 14k race, do I? So all good!

Heart rate graph from my cyclocross race mirrors the hill on the course. Interestingly, average heart rate is similar to my 5k races yet my cycling training is typically between heart rates of 100 and 120.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am so sorry about this persistent calf-injury, Ewen! You have a good comeback plan and you should do well at that 14k race in August, best of luck!

9:21 am  
Blogger TokyoRacer said...

I think for a calf injury, rest is the key. You're smart to back off at the first sign of soreness.

10:04 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ewen, it is a calf injury. They can be serious and can take a long time to heal. Rest is so important. If it was me (and I am not a doctor) I would take many months off running. Do cycling only which will maintain (and probably improve) your fitness. I would even be limiting walking in the short term.

1:43 pm  
Blogger Ewen said...

Thanks Anna.

Bob, you're totally correct about rest being key to recovery. I should have fully rested it in the first place instead of being in a rush to get running again.

Anonymous, thanks. You're correct about cycling being great for maintaining or improving aerobic fitness. And that fitness will help my running when I eventually get back to it.

7:36 pm  
Blogger Mark Watson said...

Thanks for the update Ewen.

Mate ... I don't know what to say other than to hang in there. I've always used Arnica Cream. A generous dollop rubbed in for 2 to 3 minutes morning and night seems to help a lot whenever I'm in a spot of bother. I reckon there's something in this herb. A quick look in your neck of the woods showed that Martin & Pleasance do a 100g tube. Make sure to get the herbal one.

Loved the video. I'm buying a bike shortly so your timing was perfect.

12:11 am  
Blogger Thomas said...

I do feel for you! Dealing with a persistent injury is tough, really tough. Thank God you found an alternative way to get some exercise done - hang in there mate, things will get better again.

1:37 am  
Blogger Ewen said...

Mark, thanks for the heads-up about the Arnica Cream - just had a look on eBay and see that our local Chemist Warehouse stock it. I'll pick up a tube on Wednesday. Enjoy the bike - don't get hooked on racing ;-)

Thanks Thomas. Yeah, think I'd end up on the couch watching old marathon videos if I didn't have an alternate exercise outlet.

10:50 am  
Blogger Rachel said...

Sorry to read about this, Ewen. Very frustrating I'm sure. If it doesn't settle soon I'd think about seeing a physic or perhaps a sports doc - just my 2 cents. Hope things are on the improve very soon!

9:37 pm  
Blogger Ewen said...

Thanks Rachel. Good advice. That will be the next step (even though Joel has warned me about doctors).

2:36 pm  
Blogger Janene said...

Gee ET, that is not good news re your calf. Yes a physio would be good. Do you include nerve flossing or stretches in your routine? Sometimes pain can be neural in origin. At least you have the bike to keep you out of trouble.

9:38 am  
Blogger Ewen said...

Thanks J. Physio is on the cards if my self-doctoring doesn't work. I'll have to google nerve flossing! I've found some good stretches (and strengthening) to do, but I'm waiting until it fully settles down before commencing those... which will be later this week :-)

5:28 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am sorry to hear that the calf problem is so persistent.

I consider that in general it is crucial to ensure that during healing of an injury that collagen fibres are laid down predominantly the line of tension in the tissue. This is especially important with the calf muscle which must withstand an eccentric contraction at each footfall. If cross fibres are allowed to consolidate they are likely to tear in a damaging way when you start to run again. Therefore, soon after any acute inflammation has settled, I consider it is best to begin gradual increase of mild contraction of the muscle for a minute or two several times per day (starting with no weight bearing, then easy concentric two-leg calf raises, followed by one leg; then two -leg eccentric and finally one leg eccentric). This gradual building of applied tension should ensure that cross fibres do not become consolidated.

I enjoyed the cyclo-cross video

3:26 am  
Blogger Ewen said...

Thanks Canute. I didn't know about cross fibres. I'll follow your advice in my strengthening rehabilitation. The calf is feeling fine when walking now so I'm commencing the gradual strengthening/stretching routine.

8:27 am  
Anonymous Raina said...

Sorry about your calf still, Ewen! That's frustrating. I'd be doing epsom salts and self massage..
Hopefully all will right itself and you will be good before your race!

1:48 am  
Blogger Ewen said...

Yes, very frustrating Raina! I'm doing self massage and the stretching/strengthening routine is coming along well. Feels like I could run, but just being super conservative this time.

11:01 am  
Blogger Scott Brown said...

I'm no doctor but that calf injury could be a late response to that fall on your head you had. Try a neck massage. ;)

9:53 am  
Blogger Mark Watson said...

What he (Scott) said ...

5:35 pm  
Blogger Ewen said...

You two! That chuckle also made my calf feel better, so maybe there is a connection there. Thanks fellas.

6:44 pm  

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