Racing and whatnot:
"I want you to pray as if everything depends on it, but I want you to prepare yourself as if everything depends on you."
-- Dick LeBeau
On the road back
Hey guys. I need some advice (which is awful to get via the internet, but oh, well).
I'm following a plan that incorporated hill workouts and wouldn't you know it, on the last uphill of the last hill workout in the plan (last Friday) I felt some pain in my right calf. Hard to describe, but something like a deep charley horse in my upper calf (the thicket part of the calf). It was bad enough at the time that I called my wife for a ride home, and I couldn't stand on the foot and do a calf raise. I immediately put ice on it, cancelled my long run on Saturday. Over the weekend it has gotten better, although I can still tell I've hurt it. I also did a lot of work on that calf with a roller over the weekend.
Now, the question: My training has been awesome until the flu a couple weeks ago and now this. I'm about 8 weeks out from the marathon, and this week starts the anaerobic portion of the plan, so I'm supposed to do interval speed work today. Am I crazy to think that sounds like a recipe for disaster? Would I be better to take this week and fill it with nothing but slow, easy runs? Do I need to take the whole week off (that option scares the crap out of me)?
Very open to some ideas. Thanks.
I have a love/hate relationship with running. I do it, but sometimes I love to hate it.
is the area of pain in the middle of your calf or to the side of your calf (which leg and which side if to the side)?
in your plan, what is the goal distance for a sprint (in your log your going about 33 seconds which is not really a sprint)? And what is the goal in terms of speed (5k pace, 1 mile pace, 1/2 mi pace, 90% of top speed?)?
How steep was this hill (do you normally run up the same hill when you do hill repeats)?
Pain is upper part of the right calf, more back part of the calf than the outside. The 33 second intervals you're seeing were more like striders done in the middle of the hill workout. In the speed work I'll be doing, I run intervals of any length I choose as long as it totals around 7k (so 7x1k or 14x400 and so on). The hill I ran is pretty steep, but I run it a lot. I think I just landed funny and put pressure on the calf. Now just trying to determine the best way to proceed.
I don't know your marathon training plan, but the intervals usually are VO2Max-oriented. Daniels advises reps of 5min (no longer) as optimal, with your VO2Max pace dictating the rep distance (e.g., McMillan calculates mine as 1200m reps to get in 5min of work). Recoveries can be HR-focused (drop to 70% MHR/60% HRR) or time-focused (50-90% of the rep duration).
As for your CALF -- hopefully, it's just a mild strain. I'd take a day or two off, then just run easy and avoid steep hills for the remainder of the week. If you want to rest it well and have the wherewithal, you should be able to cycle or swim without stressing your calf too much. GENTLE stretching is good, but don't force the issue. And ice it after you run/lift/whatever (or do 5min cycles of ice and heat). Last, I found massage therapy very helpful. That's not the "Massage Envy" kind of thing, but a licensed massage therapist who works the muscle (and perhaps associated muscles and tissues) in the proper way to promote proper healing. (Here are some licensed massage therapists in Albemarle.)
you may want to verify Cliff's list of massage therapists from Albemarle because he has been known to source using Craigslist.
I looked thru your log and have some thoughts.
I wanted to understand better what the plan your using was directing you in terms of the goal of this hill work -- was it "sprints", did they give a distance range and goal pace. If these are "sprints", then toss out whatever distance range is being given as a sprint is generally something 15 seconds or less, with the goal to recruit your fast twitch muscle fibers. In addition, there are also bio-mechanical improvements/adaptations that occur when running fast (you learn to torque your body & get into a "stronger" position). It appears that the duration of your "sprint" is 33 seconds which is too long (your not going to be recruiting your fast-twitch muscle fibers like you would if you sprinted for 10-15 seconds). More importantly, since your doing 6x or 8x or more, this becomes a "workout" where you would need 1-3 days recovery time prior and 1-3 days post. And, since this is essentially a speed workout, your generating much higher impact forces and thus will be more prone to injury.
So I looked at your log, and after a down week, then two weeks ago you ran a Fartlek workout, a hill workout, and then a long run. That is three workouts over three consecutive days, plus the hill workout you did was the first hill workout in weeks (so you stressed your calves during the hill workout, then did a long run the following day which probably stressed them even more given no recovery day). You rested on Sunday, then ran an easy run on Monday but with the Newtons (which to your calves would be another stressing experience). And then last week again ran a Fartlek workout and then a hill workout on consecutive days (and that hill workout where your calf finally protested).
I would decrease the duration of these hill sprints to 10 - 14 seconds in length (where you can measure off a distance on a familiar road) so that these are true sprints and not "workouts", and then move this segment to another day (for example, you can try doing this after your long run where you always take the following day off and then you run easy on Mondays and thus the recovery is "baked in", or to when you run one of your workouts during the week where the day prior and after are either days off or recovery days). Or if your going to run a hill workout which includes these sprints, then schedule it to ensure you have recovery day(s) built in so that your avoiding running workouts on consecutive days.
Paul, Looks like you are doing Nobby's plan, If I understand it correctly I don't think that plan wants you to do hill sprints(I may be wrong as I got that 3 years ago from Nobby and he may have adjusted the plan now), but long hill repeats of 60-90 seconds to build strength. The sprints would be advisable for someone with a higher weekly mileage, and have to be short as Rob points out, or we can do form drills as a substitute. Actually form drills give us the range of motion, what Nobby calls 'supple muscles' required to do the sprints correctly. Now that you have tweaked something I'd forget sprints altogether. I'd take the next week real easy until there is no pain. Run only when there is no pain walking, and keep the run real short under 30 min. You won't lose fitness in a week or two, will just be a setback to the plan.
Your mileage is probably minimal to support a marathon anyway, no point in attempting it injured as well. prioritize getting healed up over the workouts scheduled. What you do over the next 8 weeks will not make a big difference in your marathon time, being injured will be a huge setback.
never runs the tangents
sorry about the calf pain, that does not sound fun at all
“Do what I do. Hold tight and pretend it’s a plan!” Doctor Who
Sorry to have asked for advice and then been so scarce about following up with more info.
Sash is right, I am following Nobby's training plan, but to clarify my log, I was not running hill sprints. The plan calls for 3-4 150 meter stride-outs in the middle of the hill repeats. These are done on flats, which is what I did. They are not all out sprints. The hill I was using was about 200-300 meters in length and I was doing slow uphills with high knee lifts and strong arm swings. Nothing too strenuous at all. It was taking me about 2 minutes to go uphill one time.
As I started the last uphill, I thought I might try bounding, and I think I simply landed on my right forefront awkwardly and it stressed my calf. As the days have gone on, it feels much improved. The plan is to take it easy as I work my way back into the plan. I'm not going to stress the speed work. Maybe I'll try it, maybe I won't. I'll let me body decide.
As far as my weekly mileage not being very high for a marathon, all I can say is I've run the plan Nobby gave me to a T until recently when I missed 2 long runs (one to the flu and one to this calf). I guess we'll find out on marathon day how well it will all work out.
apologize for being dense about the striders (you ran on flat ground). My suggestion about the duration of these being too long (> 30 seconds) and this being a stress workout would still be the same (for example, from a time standpoint if an elite runner ran these they probably cover 200m - 220m over 33 seconds, but they would never run striders for this duration as to them this is a workout). Only thing I would add is if possible, you should try to run your striders on grass/dirt field as that will minimize the higher impact ground forces.
So how is everyone enjoying these cooler temperatures??
I just had a wonderful 6-miler in the 41* mist!
So how is everyone enjoying these cooler temperatures??
We had about 15 runners last night at the Gaston County Runners speed work session. I can't believe people run in that kind of weather! Of course I feel more comfortable running inside on the treadmill but I like running with the GCR group so I figure if they wanna get out there I will too. I was happy to see Shashi at the speed work session last night. First time he's been around in a while.
Richard HefnerMy Blog (TheOldRunner.com) Past Race Results (Athlinks)
Last nite I was wearing a shirt and was sweating like crazy (although some of that could be the mist) at two miles in and actually thought of Richard (saying to myself, how can I be this hot if it is only 47 degrees out, would Richard be comfortable out here). Tonite, 51 degrees, almost the same scenario but this time went shirtless after two miles and it felt 65 out vs. 51?
Is everyone planning to run in the snow either late Thur or early Fri (or avoid it)?
under a rock
I think the weather lately, except for this past weekend, has been perfect for running! I've actually really liked the drizzly days for running. This morning's rain might be a bit heavy to call running it it pleasant but I'll go anyway. As for snow, we aren't supposed to get anything during the hours that I run. It will be melted by morning but, if it isn't melted, I'd love to go for a run in it. Running in the snow is so peaceful.
Run Long, and Prosper!
Paul - Hope the calf is feeling better. Thanks for asking the question, though. I learned some things from Clive and Rob's responses.
This past fall I had been doing two speed workouts per week and was wondering if that was too much. Looking at Rob's response, I think perhaps it was too much and in the future will keep it to one speed session per week.
Have run in the rain the last two days as well with temps in the mid 40s. Just warm enough that the rain didn't bother me.
"Leave all the afternoon for exercise and recreation, which are as necessary as reading. I will rather say more necessary because health is worth more than learning."
- Thomas Jefferson