|Stylish, and good form too.|
Anyway, here's some of what I've learned so far:
1. If it hurts, don't run on it. Finally, I get it. If I had taken a week off after my calf first popped, way back in February, I wouldn't be in the position YET AGAIN of starting from scratch. And to demonstrate my understanding of this concept, I didn't run today, having stressed the back of my knee at the gym yesterday. (I don't think it was the running on Wednesday that did it; it was the leg extension machine on Thursday, because I was too lazy to change the seat position. I'm sure there's a lesson in that, too.) The back of my knee is still a bit achey today, so better a couple of days off now than a couple of months off later.
2. Learn to distinguish between discomfort and pain. Discomfort (according to Jan the Physio, anything 3 or less on a 0-10 scale) is okay to run on, as long as it doesn't get worse during the run. If it's lower level pain, stop. Immediately. Stretch, walk, try again. If it still hurts, or if it gets worse during the run, or if it's BIG pain, give it up and walk home. Or phone your husband.
3. It's okay to ask for help. As in, phone your husband if your calf packs it in. See a physio. See an osteopath. Go for a sports massage. Sign up for a running workshop. Listen to what people say, don't just nod your head and then do what you want. And don't wait until you are in agony before you seek help; prevention is the way to go.
4. Stretch, stretch, and stretch again. Some runners are flexible. You are not one of them. Stretching helps. Really. Do not forget this.
5. Stretch some more. Because you ALWAYS forget that stretching helps, especially when you start to feel better and therefore think that you don't need to do it anymore. You are better BECAUSE you are stretching, not in spite of it, so make it part of your routine. Even though it's so boring that you have to resort to watching daytime telly to get you through it.
6. Listen to your body. Don't be so focused on your training plan and on the race that you push yourself too far, too soon. Losing a day (or even a week), dropping your mileage, or repeating a week will NOT send you back to square one. Overtraining might. And, even though it may not feel like it, there will always be another race. (Unless it's the 2013 London Marathon, which might be your last chance EVER...)
That's enough self-improvement for today. Future posts will cover other things I've learned, including issues pertaining to motivation, determination, and the importance of cookies in a proper training programme.