Suffering an injury is a pain in the bum. isn't it? Or in my case a pain in the left calf. Bad enough at any time. If we suffer an injury during a training run the natural immediate reaction is to slow down at least to a slow jog or worse still a walk to get back to start point. Easier at the track as we can simply stop straight away.
But in a race situation it's completely different , isn't it? As competitors our natural inclination is to finish the event. Except perhaps if pain comes in the first mile of a marathon in which case the runner is in real trouble.
Sunday, when I felt pain in the calf at the half mile point I really felt (and hoped) it would go almost straight away. How many times have we felt a tweek in a race only for it to amount to nothing?
However it just got worse and I was then faced the decision of carrying on or not. Not really in my nature.
I was lucky in that it was only a calf strain. I would say a "grade 1" and just 7/10 days should see it healed.
I have to agree with a comment from anonymous "runner" about choosing the right race. Whilst the wind speed was forecast to reduce it was still likely to trigger negative astmatic response and make a decent run difficult. But what I didn't factor in was the leg problem.
24 hours later, however, my thoughts are not so much as whether I was right to carry on, but as to WHY the calf injury occurred in the first place. It's not as if I am a chronic calf pain sufferer.
Looking at my training summary sheet on excel , the last calf injury I had was back in JUNE 2009. I attempted a track session of 800s on the Thursday after a Sunday half marathon. OK for young guns but
proved detrimental for me.
But talking through injuries with shop customers, calf problems are very commonly referred to. Recently "minimalist" shoes would appear to have been a factor but more often when questioned the customer admits to day after day of hill running or just one too many speed session. Overuse or lack of variety.
In my case I looked back to last week's training for any clues to factors contributing to the calf problem. Tuesday was not overly fast or hilly. Just my weekly tour of the "2Res". Wednesday again was just a steady joint along the canal with Sally M. No hills there.
No, the calf was probably weakened by an effort session done on the grass on Thursday. I didn't go to the track as there were traffic problems on the way. I wore a low profile trail shoe and the legs generally were calves tad sore but I wasn't overly concerned and didin't do anything about it.
Lesson being, stick to routines that work.
That was the first grass session I'd done all year and I must have been "clawing" more on grass in a shallow shoe and that action plus lack of cushioning would appear to have made the calf vulnerable for the next bout of speed which was at 11.00 on Sunday.
So that plus inadequate warm up would appear to have been the detrimental factors.
Essentially, the whole warm up routine needs to be looked at. Starting with allowing more time before race start, whichever warm up routine is chosen.
Yesterday I managed just 2 miles for the warm up at no faster than 9.15 pace. Within minutes I was heading down that first half mile straight at 6.50 pace. Clearly a recipe for disaster.
It's all a matter of time allowed. For track sessions at race pace I now tend to cover 3 miles before, I always take time to stretch, I always take time to do some strides. I take time because I have time.
Yet race day it always seems to be a panic. Not enough time before the gun goes for all that is needed to
race to the max! There are several pages referring to "warm up" in the Jack Daniels book Daniels' RUNNING Formula. Various ways are covered. I shall have to perhaps experiment with one or two to establish the best for me. 699 RACES AND I'M STILL LEARNING!