It's been a while between posts. Sorry about that! I'm back running and racing, with the dodgy calf staying respectfully quiet. Touch wood. I ended up having 4 weeks off running, using cycling and small amounts of racewalking for cross-training during that time. I used to racewalk for Interclub points back in the '90s and have found it to be an excellent low impact alternative to running. I can walk at 6:40 per km pace at heart rates similar to when running a 5k race.
Weekly mileage has progressed from 8k and 32k in the first two weeks of April to 45k and 58k for the first two weeks of May. Generally I've been alternating racewalking days and running days with the latter usually Verheul interval sessions (light and reactive 250m runs with 250m walk recoveries). Research suggested that massage is vital during the recovery phase for this type of muscle injury. I've been using a foam roller, spiked ball and 'roller stick' to find the knots and sore spots then massaging them for a good 20 minutes every day.
I raced the hilly Mount Ainslie trail Parkrun 5k on 28 April in 26:06 and didn't notice the calf at all. Yea! I did notice a fading last 2k and general aerobic weakness at race pace. This morning in cool, blustery conditions I ran 27:31 for the Tuggeranong Parkrun 5k — my legs felt tired but the calf was fine. Average heart rate was 133 (about 84%) so if I raced hard at 142 HR I'd probably run around 25:40 for 5k. The journey back from injury is one of gaining confidence, ever so gradually. I know I'm a long way from running 23:00 for 5k but am excited to see improvements to my times over the coming weeks.
My cousin Don also ran the Mt Ainslie Parkrun. He has finished six 6 Foot Track 45k races and run a marathon in every state and territory of Australia