Ouch my calf!!!
As i am sure you are aware, and have probably experienced yourself, runners get injured. Unfortunately I am no exception to the rule, despite lots of strength and conditioning training, and last weekend whilst on my long run I pulled up at mile 11 with a calf strain and a problem behind my right knee.
Obviously at that moment my initial reactions where something along the lines of the following:
Bugger that hurt
I have a race in 8 weeks, why now?
I am 11 miles from home in the middle of the countryside, it's freezing cold, how do I get home?
After the inital panic though you begin to rationalise and take stock of the situation and the thought process turns to:
OK so how bad is this injury, can I walk?
It's cold but it's not so cold I'll catch hyperthermia
Where actually am I, and what is the shortest route home
Anyway I figured I should walk a bit to see if the injury calms down, which it did after 2 miles of walking. I managed to get myself going a bit adopting a run/walk strategy for a mile or two and then eventually managing to get a steady jog on which got me through 10 miles back to home.
So a bit of a laboured second half of the run but fortunately I managed to get home.
I iced the calf as soon as I got home but with any injury you have to wait until the next day to really see whats going on.
It turns out that the injury is pretty bad, suspected 3-4 weeks out from running, which is not good prep for a 100k race.
The calf is made up of 2 main muscles, the gastroc (the big meaty chunk) and the soleus (the small muscle at the bottom of the calf), both attached to the achillies tendon.
My issue is a tear in the gastroc, which is also pulling behind the knee, quite uncomfortable.
So how do you fix a calf injury as quickly as possible? Well there is no simple answer unfortunately but it consists of doing a few things:
Ice the injury (btw I use disposable koolpak's for this, link below)
Elevate the leg
Massage the leg
Light non-impact exercise, such as swimming, walking or gentle cycling
The problem with injuries is that they tend to feel a lot better after a few days, so much so that you think you are ready to go for a small run, however this is a big error as the muscle fibres are not yet strong enough to be able to cope with the pressures of running.
What ends up happening is that you quickly reverse all the good work you have done and you have to start over, potentially putting you back another week.
So I am just starting week 2 of my rehab for the calf injury and it's a slow road but one I am determined to stick at so that I can get back running as soon as possible.
There are obviously lots of guides, tips and videos on the internet for fixing calf injuries, I have embedded a video below of one that I have found useful. This is from Kinetic Revolution.
Additionally once your calf is fixed, you need to steadily work yourself back into running, this is not something that can be taken lightly and there are a lot of plans, like the one below that can help you along with this.
Injuries are part of sport and we just have to deal with them when they come along, but by being sensible and following a structure plan we can get through them and come out the other side stronger.
Koolpak Disposable Ice Packs - Link