I only trained for half of the week. Last Saturday and Sunday i was sick with a cold and allergies at the same time. I was too congested to breathe properly. So even though i really wanted to train the entire week i just wasn’t up to it physically. I complete three workouts this week.
Wednesday Brick – I wanted to go before work but the Daylight Savings change made sure that i couldn’t fall asleep at a decent hour. I went after work instead of using a real bike like i wanted to. The ride felt odd to me, probably because i was on the stationary bike instead of the spinner. Afterward i ran without music at what turned out to be a faster pace than usual. At the end of my first interval my calf tightened. More on that in a minute.
Thursday Swim – I crawled and breaststroked 500 using the wall a lot less than usual. Turning around was awkward, not because it took me long to do, but because i would then be swimming against my wake for a few strokes, effectively getting nowhere, and all of the kicks i tried to transition with were awkward. This felt really weird and tired me in unexpected ways. My arms felt the burn more than usual but my abs weren’t affected at all. I can’t practice with a current in most swimming pools and here i was swimming against a current i had created. It made me feel as if i had swam farther than had i gone to the wall and turned around, too. But overall i think this will be a good thing to have in my workouts all of the time.
Friday – work and an attempt at going to bed early.
Saturday Run – I woke up at 5:25 and we left the house at 6:10. Around 7:00 i did three planks for a hold of 20 seconds. After watching a couple (three?) basketball games i headed out to the track for my run (about 11:00). It had been raining and was a little windy and it was definitely cooler than running indoors (which meant i was coughing for about an hour after my workout. My lungs don’t like cold air when i’m working out). My calf felt fine except a slight twinge one of the multiple times i stepped up (high) onto the bleachers.
Unlike my last (short) run, this run was on a dirt (clay?) track around a football field. It wasn’t muddy despite the rain. After my warmup i had been running two minutes when my calf seized up again. I tried to stretch and massage it out, but the pain persisted. I finished my run at a slower than usual pace.
It doesn’t feel like a cramp, and it doesn’t happen gradually (which is what is described as Tight Calf Muscles). I don’t really know how to describe it. My calf will suddenly tighten and then not ease for hours. The discomfort verging on pain is near the bottom of my calf, still about 6-7″ inches above my heel. Maybe where my calf joins with the Achilles Tendon? It gradually stops hurting constantly, then gradually stops hurting when i use the muscle to stand or walk or take steps, but it hasn’t relaxed completely over twelve hours later. I have a couple of theories and i’m not sure which one to believe.
- I haven’t been stretching it out well enough. I am a pretty limber person and the calf stretches that i was taught in high school simply do not stretch the muscle where the pain is occurring. I did find this advice online and have now tried it:
The solution is a deep pin point stretch, go stand on the first step of your staircase facing upstairs, stabalise your upper body by holding onto a rail or wall. now edge your feet back so that you are ballancing on your mid foot or arch. one foot at a time allow your heel to drop as far back as is comfortable to gain a deep stretch in the lower calf and achiles. use the other foot to help raise the active foot back up into a tip toe position and repeat 20 times each foot twice per day for one week. Do this after every run the problem will disapear after about a week but will return as soon as you forget to do it.
- I might have a grade-one strain/rupture and set back my recovery today. If this is the case it is not a severe one as there is no swelling, tenderness, or bruising.
A lot of the pages i found discuss increasing distance too quickly.I haven’t been increasing distance really. In fact, this week i decreased distance.
- My calves aren’t ready for so much barefoot running. This one article says that your toes shouldn’t be gripping while you run (?!?) and not to wear flipflops (i must admit that i am wearing more and more flipflops as it gets warmer). I’m going to look in Barefoot Running Step by Step for solutions.
Advice seems to be all over the place: Ice and Elevate, stretch it, don’t stretch it, don’t train at all, train conservatively, Deep Tissue Massage, massage doesn’t help, etc. I think that if i stopped working out for two weeks right now i would go over the edge. Exercise seems to be the only thing that is improving my health and my moods. I could pull out my too narrow running shoes but really don’t like that idea. That feels like going backwards and is only going to cause me foot problems (as in horrific cramping). My transition to “barefoot” running has been relatively painless overall, and gradual up to the point where i started running twice a week again. Right now i’m remembering how in Born to Run the author was told that running the right way would feel awkward (and painful?) before it felt natural. So my research this evening hasn’t really told me anything substantial. I am probably going to try to get into the Merillac Clinic this week and reduce my student loan payments since i am so strapped for cash (my hours were cut at work and are going to stay that way indefinitely). I’m going to have to tighten my belt over the next couple of months…hopefully in more ways than one.