I am training for the LA marathon March 20th. Four weeks ago, during a long run, I pulled a muscle in my calf right below my knee. I've done yoga which helps, but every time I do a long run I'm limping by the end. I got a massage Sunday and haven't run since last Monday, in hopes it would heal a bit. Should I stay off of it a little longer? Or should I just do my long training runs in pain and realize it's just going to hurt until I can really give it a break (after the marathon)? Thanks for any advice.
|Calves R Us|
I'm not sure how long your long runs are but if they're shorter than 26.2 you're probably not going to finish a marathon on it. Limping or otherwise. Injuries like this need only one thing and that's rest. Good news (from my experience) is your calf strain is the quickest one to heal. Here's what you can do.
No running for another 7 days.
Get on Aleve. 2 tablets in the AM with food. 2 tablets at night with food.
Keep the calf wrapped.
When possible keep it elevated above your heart.
I'll call this ICE (ice, compress, elevate)
Ice it 3 times a day. 20 minutes on ice. 5 minutes off ice. 20 minutes back on ice.
After 3 days of this you need to do some deep hard massage. You need to find exactly where the injury is located and take both your thumbs and press deep and hard at that location and surrounding areas. A golf ball works well also. I usually massage until my hands can't take any more. Ice immediately after using usual ice routine. The next day your calf should be sore as hell. Time to add stretching. Search the web for good calf stretches. There are a ton.
Keep the ICE routing going.
After a week of ICE head to your local track. With your calf wrapped tightly walk a lap. If it feels good jog the straight and walk the curves. When jogging if you feel anything in the calf discontinue the workout and ice and stretch. If you can jog w/o discomfort continue the jog/walk until you feel the slightest discomfort or 8 laps. Ice and stretch when done and keep up with the wrap, elevation and ice.
Rest the next next doing the same ICE and stretch routine.
Back to the track after the rest day. Same routine and conditions. If no discomfort continue for 12 laps. Ice and stretch when done.
Rest the next day. You should be around March 7th at this point. All running going forward should be w/o the calf wrap. If you feel anything in the calf you need to stop running and head home. After every workout you need to stretch and ice.
Here is how I would recommend you run until your marathon.
3/7 Run 5 minutes, walk 2 minutes for 4 miles
3/9 Run 8 minutes, walk 2 minutes for 4 miles
3/11 Run 4 miles
3/12 Run 4 miles
3/14 Run 6 miles
3/17 Run 10 miles
If you can finish the 10 miler w/o any problem you may make it. I would run the marathon with the calf wrapped. Good luck.
Elisabeth - not sure how badly you strained your calf, but I think staying off it (with the rest/massage/Aleve combo) until it doesn't hurt is the way to go. If you're limping in training runs, that marathon will not be fun. I disagree on the "it's soft tissue, you can run through the injury" thing on this one -- based on the experience of turning a minor calf strain into something that led essentially to a 6 week layoff (with multiple occurrences of starting off for an easy run, and having to walk home because it would feel fine for 2ish miles, and then go to extremely painful within about a half mile). Take care of it!
I just did the San Diego and strained a calf muscle during that race. The route was narrow for a block or so and all the runners funneled together. I was trying to pass someone and jumped off the road into a slight ditch. I pushed off with left leg to get back up and strained it at mile 10. Calf was soar but not a serious strain. Could just tell it was strained while moving it. Stayed off for two weeks with constant treatment listed in previous posts and it went back to normal. Did you end up running the marathon? I prob would have done the half and picked another full for later.
|the unlogged Uncle Pervy|
I've been dealing with this on and off for 5 years... stabbing pain and done for weeks. It's usually when I try to do speed work. Anything over 100 meter strides I need to be careful.
What is working at the moment. SLOW build of time spent running. Super slow pace. Then Wed and Sat 100 on/100 off. I started at 4 laps. I'm up to 10. Planning on 200s for 6 laps in a week. LOTS of stretching, especially hamstrings. They think I'm tight there which is causing the calf (and knee) problems.
I've gone from "jogging" long runs at sub 7:00 pace to racing at 9:00. Strides are at 5:30 pace.