Well folks, after weeks of intense training, and foolishly thinking I could get away the my (prescribed) training volume and intensity; I’m calling it. I’m injured. And to say I’m pissed off about it is an understatement. I was feeling strong in my training, and pleasantly surprised at how well my body was responding, aside from the inevitable fatigue. I’d been taking care of myself just like I was supposed to- endless rounds of foam rolling, yoga, and compression, along with alternating ice baths and Epsom salt baths, depending on the gripe. But alas. Shit happens.
The annoying thing is, I think I can pin it to an exact moment- the end of my tempo run last week. I wrote about it already– it was one of those runs where everything aligned and it all came together perfectly- and that’s what makes it all the more frustrating.
It was a great run; I’d settled into my target pace and stayed there until the penultimate mile. But then I got cocky. I was running along the Embankment when two guys passed me; both tall and lean with long legs, I was clearly never going to match their pace. But I watching one of them, and how he ran; kicking his feet back, almost up to his butt, powering up the rest of his legs. My physio had actually recommended I try making a similar adjustment to my gait, and so I mimicked him. The power in my legs was immediately evident, and I hit a 7:30 mile. My tempo pace was supposed to be 8:30- my bad. As I finished, I felt my right calf seize up badly. Despite stretching it out, it was still very painful as I ran very slowly to the station as a cool down.
I knew something was wrong straight away; my calf never completely seized up in that agonizing cramp you get, but it was definitely threatening to. Every time I stood up or sat down, it felt as though it was popping. Having sent panicked messages to my Sports Massage Therapist Prim, he managed to fit me in late on the Friday evening. Sports massage done, I felt immeasurably better, and even managed to fit in my 15 mile run on the Sunday. Panic over, right?!
The following Tuesday as I ran recovery miles, I knew something wasn’t quite right. And so I made it my mission to get to the bottom of this knotty, stiff calf. Having done yoga and taken a hot bath, I massaged ibuprofen gel into my legs and, fatally, used a spikey massage roller- the kind that wouldn’t look out of place in a medieval torture chamber. Fast forward to the following morning and I had bright red bruising on my calf, directly above the spasmed muscle. Oops. I actually found it hilarious and showed everyone in the office, with the precursor “wanna see something really gross?!” – it was weirdly satisfying to have a visible, undeniable evidence of the work I’d been putting in and the pain I’d been experiencing.
Stupidly, I ran that same night. It was supposed to be 7.5 tempo miles, but I decided to be “sensible”, and by “sensible”, I mean still run 6 miles at a slow pace. It was horrific. My calves hurt and more importantly my plantar fasciitis was back, making me wince with every step. I reeled in the pace and flattened my gait and was able to complete 6 miles before giving up. I then went home and consulted doctor Google, as well as my poor Sports Massage Therapist, who both confirmed that this was in fact no laughing matter. Prim has put me on good old RICE for the next three days at least; he won’t even go near my calves.
I’ll be missing my 18 miler this Sunday, which I’m pretty pissed about. I knew that with any training schedule adjustments would have to be made, and especially for me with my history of injury. But I thought as long as I can get up to 18 miles. I thought, and I still think, that I need to reach at least that distance before the marathon, just for a mental boost, and to keep me calm and confident on race day. But you know what they say: the best made plans of mice and men!
I’m going to skip my 18 miler and substitute for swimming and cross training. I might be able to do it next week, either choosing to peak at 18 miles, or managing a 20-miler the following week, and cutting my taper short by a few days.
So this is a general grumble from me; a tale of sadly knowing my limits and just pushing them a little too far, naively believing I could get a way with it. I guess this is all part of the process, but it’s frustrating nonetheless.
Any tips for me? And how do you gauge your own personal limits?
Lots of love,