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Severe calf pain after last two marathons, what would be best to prevent it for next one? (Read 128 times)

mab411


Proboscis Colossus

    After the last two marathons that I've raced, I've had severe calf pains right afterward.  Top part of the calf, just under the back of the knees, sends me to the ice tent.  Only hurts after I stop, never while I'm actually running.  After long training runs, I get it too, but much milder.  I have run two marathons in which I paced relatives who were running much slower than even my long run pace - no pain at all after those.

     

    So, OKC is coming up in a month (actually the first race this happened, now that I think about it), and I'd like to be able to walk around the finish area without crying for mommy this time.  What do you figure might help prevent that pain?

     

    Does it sound like a strength issue, as I suspect?  I have been a little more diligent with my strength training this time, including calf raises.  I can step those up this month, so to speak.  I could probably also add some hill repeats in there, though about half of my routes are pretty hilly, so I haven't been worrying about it.

     

    Should I look into compression sleeves?  I've never been entirely clear on exactly why and what those are supposed to help.

     

    It doesn't feel like cramping...by which I mean the pain isn't instantaneous, and stretching seems to do no good at all.  Just a blossoming pain that starts as soon as I stop and ends...oh, maybe a half an hour later.

     

    Anyway, thanks for looking!

    "God guides us on our journey, but careful with those feet." - David Lee Roth, of all people

    mab411


    Proboscis Colossus

      Ooookay, good discussion, thanks! Wink

       

      Guess there just wasn't anyone reading with anything to offer, and that's fine.  Came back to say, I was a little inaccurate in my original post...had some pain in that area after my last marathon pace tempo run (10 miles), and I've decided to give compression calf sleeves a try, though I'm asking for them for my birthday, the gifts for which I would receive the day before the race, so I won't be using them for that one.

       

      Now I'm looking for suggestions on which kind to ask for.  What brands/models are good?  If it matters, I'd prefer to get sleeves instead of full socks, though if the socks work better, I might be swayed.

      "God guides us on our journey, but careful with those feet." - David Lee Roth, of all people

        Can you make your log public? In my experience, most of the time that I get some sort of pain associated with running a marathon it was because of something I did or didn't do while training.

         

        I've worn compression occasionally, but only as part of a cycle with ice to treat an injury and never to try to prevent one so I don't have any good recommendations on that front.

          How much pain are we talking about and how long does it last?

           

          Racing a marathon hurts. If you figure out a way to prevent that let us know.

          Runners run.


          paranoid weirdo

            I  I have CEP compression sleeves and wear them after running - not during.  I don't know how much they help but they feel good.  Be sure to measure your calf and get the right size.

            Ooookay, good discussion, thanks! Wink

             

            Guess there just wasn't anyone reading with anything to offer, and that's fine.  Came back to say, I was a little inaccurate in my original post...had some pain in that area after my last marathon pace tempo run (10 miles), and I've decided to give compression calf sleeves a try, though I'm asking for them for my birthday, the gifts for which I would receive the day before the race, so I won't be using them for that one.

             

            Now I'm looking for suggestions on which kind to ask for.  What brands/models are good?  If it matters, I'd prefer to get sleeves instead of full socks, though if the socks work better, I might be swayed.

            mab411


            Proboscis Colossus

              Oops, sorry, I thought my log was public!  Fixed.

               

              Delucj - yeah, that's what I'm worried about, something I am or am not doing.  Only about - yikes! - 2.5 weeks until race day at this point, though, so probably too late for any big corrections to be effective.

               

              mikeymike - I've run marathons that didn't hurt, those were the ones that I wasn't pushing for a time goal.  When I'm racing a marathon, though - and apparently, when I'm running MP for 10 miles or more - it's a pretty severe pain up at the top of my calves, just under the backs of my knees.  I feel it's more severe than normal because I have difficulty conversing with people while it's going on, and I see other people walking around that don't seem to have that problem.  I've ended up in the medical tent after both of these races, and I usually have a decent tolerance for pain.  Usually starts about five minutes after I finish and lasts about...oh, I'd say 20-30 mins..

               

              Like I say, my suspicion is that it's just severe muscle soreness after a hard effort, and I think this time I'll make an effort to walk a little more right after I cross the finish line.  I wondered if there was some kind of cramping that is common in that area after a hard effort, and if so, if there are any nutritional helps for it (last time it happened, the medical personnel opined that it was cramping due to low electrolytes.  And indeed, sitting and drinking alternating cups of water and Gatorade seemed to help...but it could have just been the soreness going away on its own, too).

              "God guides us on our journey, but careful with those feet." - David Lee Roth, of all people

                I can't see muscle soreness going away in 20-30 minutes. My guess is it is severe cramping and probably not due to low electrolytes (although that may be a trigger) but just due to the effort. Your gait is probably just different enough at marathon pace that you are fatiguing a certain muscle or group of muscles way beyond normal. Short term, I would say stretching your calf muscles, getting a massage and keeping moving is probably wise. Longer term, you'll probably need to address it with fitness--spending more time running at marathon pace.

                 

                My hamstrings are the place that usually cramps up on me after marathons--and the pain is debilitating.

                 

                My .02

                Runners run.

                  +1 to mikeymike

                   

                  DO NOT cram in extra miles at MP or otherwise between now any your race in 2.5 weeks. Before your last marathon you had your longest long run, your fastest set of intervals and a serious tempo run (longest of the month, only 5 seconds slower than your fastest intervals) all within 8 days of the marathon...that's a recipe to show up on race day ready to get hurt!

                   

                  For your next race after that, more MP mileage (try either to race a HM at HMP or get a MP run at >15 miles 3-6 weeks before the marathon) and longer long runs (a 17 mile long run once per month for 3 months before the race is a little light) that peak in mileage 3-4 weeks before the race might be a good place to start getting ready to race a marathon with less pain.

                    +1 to mikeymike

                     

                    DO NOT cram in extra miles at MP or otherwise between now any your race in 2.5 weeks. Before your last marathon you had your longest long run, your fastest set of intervals and a serious tempo run (longest of the month, only 5 seconds slower than your fastest intervals) all within 8 days of the marathon...that's a recipe to show up on race day ready to get hurt!

                     

                    For your next race after that, more MP mileage (try either to race a HM at HMP or get a MP run at >15 miles 3-6 weeks before the marathon) and longer long runs (a 17 mile long run once per month for 3 months before the race is a little light) that peak in mileage 3-4 weeks before the race might be a good place to start getting ready to race a marathon with less pain.

                     

                    I think that was one of the races that he was just pacing slower folks at.  He's following the Hanson plan and it does have a large volume of MP runs so maybe this will help him out on this one.  They also suggest limiting your long runs to 16 miles but running them a little faster than easy pace so that may be why you are seeing a lack of 20+ milers in his log.

                     

                    I wear compression sleeves, but I always have, so no idea if it makes any difference or not.  I'll let you know after my first marathon coming up in a month if I end up with any cramping issues or not! Wink

                    Age: 46 Weight: 200 Height: 6'2" (Goal weight 195)

                    Current PR's:  Mara 3:48:09; HM 1:43:26; 10K 43:59; 5K 21:27

                    zonykel


                      I suggest going to a medical professional experienced in running injuries. Top of calf pain may be related to hamstrings (I'm not an expert, so take it with a grain of salt).

                      mab411


                      Proboscis Colossus

                        Thanks, mikeymike, that's a good point about "muscle soreness" going away after 20-30 mins..  Your suggestions seem good; I may give those a try this time around.  Already running quite a bit at marathon pace, though.

                         

                        ...and delucj, I'm really sorry, my log could have used some explanation!  npaden is exactly right...the "marathon" on there was me pacing my brother-and-sister-in-law (and losing them at a port-o-let stop, looking up and down the course for them, then chasing them down - hence the 27.5 distance).  No pain at all after that one, and even though it was the longest run I've ever been on, the pace was very easy for me and I didn't need more than a day of recovery.  The other "races" you see there weren't planned, but I was able to modify the training plan a bit to accommodate.  I am indeed using Hansons, which emphasizes shorter "long runs," but at a little quicker pace.  Loving it so far!

                         

                        Thanks for the suggestions so far!

                        "God guides us on our journey, but careful with those feet." - David Lee Roth, of all people

                          My bad, I thought that was one of the marathons you were refering to. Building up that MP distance run should help with your next race, cheers!

                            Just a thought: are your legs tight? Maybe doing some yoga help. When I got my Achilles injury, I later realized my left calf was actually sore for several days but I didn't take care of it. I also noticed my muscles were very tight, bending down, my hands couldn't reach the floor. After doing some yoga, I now can reach it. I think it helps my flexibility. On YouTube, you can search yoga for runner.

                            5k - 20:56 (09/12), 7k - 28:40 (11/12), 10k trial - 43:08  (03/13), 42:05 (05/13), FM - 3:09:28 (05/13), HM - 1:28:20 (05/14), Failed 10K trial - 6:10/mi for 4mi (08/14), FM - 3:03 (09/14)