Thursday, 27 January 2011


I have a couple of potential blog subjects brewing up (which makes me sound constipated. I'm never constipated...) but for now I'll just blog a little concerning yesterday's run.

Part of this concerns the calf pain I mentioned yesterday, and which prompted some useful comments. Its a very specific spot that's sore and its distinct from the more general fatigue/stiffness/pain that (re) shortening my stride cured straight away last week.

I didn't mention yesterday that my fear is/was that it is either a stress fracture or it has the makings of one. It ticks most of the boxes for that, which is a worry.

However, the position is higher than where stress fractures typically occur and the pain lessens over time spent running, which instinctively seems more muscular to me even though the pain is on the bone, and one of the several symptom lists for a stress fracture described the pain as 'crescendo' i.e. it builds during a run.

Another Paris marathon runner has said she had something very similar/same last year and it was due to a specific point in the calves where lactic acid was building up and not draining. Fingers crossed.

Tuesday's run actually lessened the pain so, after a brief moment of indecision, I decided to head out yesterday and do the short intervals speed session as planned.

I felt slightly fatigued and stiff still. Actually, it might be best to think of it as a absence of feeling loose and easy rather than a feeling of stiffness - if that makes sense - and to some extent that persisted throughout. I'm sure that's just training.

I jogged the first 1.66 miles as warm up. All downhill and a deliberately sedate 9.12 pace. That took me to a relatively flat section of main road to do the intervals on. None of it is actually flat but it only rises and falls gently which is as good as I can get away from the canal.

The plan called for 1k intervals at a pace of 6:53 per mile and I managed:

  1. 6:50
  2. 6:57
  3. 6:46
  4. 6:42

Though I didn't realise it at the time (as I'd forgotten exactly what the target was) that's an average of 4s a mile faster than target so I'm pleased with that.

Its an interesting comparison with last week's session, which only consisted of 3 intervals and was completed on a completely flat route:

  1. 7:01
  2. 6:58
  3. 6:45

Round about 6s a mile faster this week and with 33% more work.

The jog back was 1.5 miles all steadilly uphill (62m of climb across the 1.5) and that was done at a strict recovery pace of 9.37

We'll see how the rest of this week and next go, but after that its recovery week, and if I seem to be consistently hitting or going under target I'll consider changing Target Pace Level to the next one up for the week after recovery. According to the plan its not uncommon to change levels 3-6 times across 24 weeks. I've only moved up one since starting and I'm doing week 13 so it feels about right.

Nothing worse calf wise post run, and today is core and cross training day. Probably no more than 30 minutes on the cross trainer, just for the calorie burn and getting a bit more blood flowing through the muscles. Should be good.


~Jessica~ said...

While I am unfamiliar with physiology in detail, it doesn't sound like a stress fracture to me. I also was on the phone to my physio this morning and I ran your symptoms past him (on the pretext that I was suffering them lol...he'll be going nuts on my calves later this morning I am sure!) and he said it sounded more like general fatigue and overuse. He recommended calf raises and extensive stretching ~ the exercise he wanted me (as 'you') to do was this one:

Hope it clears up soon and try not to panic...easy for me to say I know!

Alison said...

God, google is our worst nightmare when it comes to injuries and pain. Get thee to a physio for god's sake, if anything just to put your mind at rest! There's enough second-guessing goes on in marathon training with pace and fatigue and so on, without having to worry whether you've got a stress fracture!

Really great interval times though -- and interesting that you ran better on undulating terrain. There could be something in the different muscle usage and glycogen stores / lactic build up..

Laura said...

Hope you find out what's wrong with your calf and get it sorted.. I've not got much knowledge about injuries but it sounds like it's muscular, I hope it is! Have you tried drinking cranberry juice, or eating cranberries, I'm sure cranberries are supposed to help with lactic acid... They have some fruit sweetened cranberries in the Tesco wholefoods section..