Thursday, 24 January 2013

Say your prayers...

to whichever god or goddess you subscribe to that my calf was struck down by a cramp at the gym and not by another strain/pull/tear.

Today's Janathon activity was my lower body workout at the gym.  My legs felt fine - and have felt fine for weeks - and there were no issues at all on the stationary bike or with the side lunges, leg presses, leg extensions, or hamstring curls.  However, at the end of my first set of calf raises, there was a sudden and very painful something at the top of the gastrocnemius.  It wasn't the popping feeling that I've felt too many times in the past.  This was more like my calf seized up, and it hurt - a lot more than any muscle strain/pull/tear ever has!

I immediately stopped and tried to stretch, which has always helped with the strains/pulls/tears, but this stretching hurt.  I had to walk around a bit and massage the back of my calf before I could stretch it.  And then it felt fine.  I gave the calf raises another go - very gently, mind you - and things were fine.  And then I did the rowing machine, where I set a new personal record of 10:18 for 2000m, and the cross-trainer for 10 minutes of cool-down, with no pain on either one.  My stretching routine was fine too, although I couldn't do quite as deep a calf stretch as usual - it just felt...tight.

I spent the rest of the day sitting down at work and, when I got home, put on my compression socks and iced the offending area.  It doesn't hurt when I walk or when I go up and down the stairs (unlike when there's a strain/pull/tear).  There's a bit of residual tightness but that could be because I'm expecting it to hurt and so am holding that leg a bit stiffly.  I'll foam roller it before bed, put some more arnica gel on it, and hope that it's all a bad dream by tomorrow, when I'm supposed to be running 5 easy miles. 

If it was just a cramp, then I should be good to go.  But if it wasn't a cramp, and I try to run, I risk doing more serious damage.  This is a step-back week in my training programme anyway - three 5-mile easy runs, the first of which I've already reduced to 3 miles due to lack of time - so does it really matter if I miss out one of those runs altogether?  Or even miss out them both?  I could go to the gym and do cardio things there and then resume running next week.  I could work myself into a tizz of obsessive internet researching, trying to find the answer that I want (oh wait, I've already done that one).  Aaarrrggghhh!  I DON'T KNOW WHAT TO DO!!!

I'm open to suggestions, peeps, as long as you tell me what I want to hear.


  1. Poor you!
    My initial instinct was that it sounds remarkably like cramp... the residual feelings from the cramp I have sometimes lasts for a long time and I can feel it as a tightness. If, as you say, you could continue to exercise after stretching it doesn't sound too serious, but then what do I know?
    I'd be inclined to go on a gentle run to stretch it out a bit and see how you go. Focus on the form of your running and being prepared to start s-l-o-w and (horror of horrors) turn back if need be and do more stretching.
    Take care xx

  2. Yes, that's what I wanted to hear! My calf is a bit stiff this morning but no pain. I've texted Adam to get his advice too & to see if he can squeeze me in at his clinic today. I've mismanaged my calf issues so badly in the past that I don't trust myself on this one...xx

    1. Phew! I was worried in case that wasn't what you wanted to hear! Good thinking re Adam. Fyi... when I get cramp in my calf I can feel it for a good 48 hrs after. But of course this could just be me and my weird and wonderful leg. Fingers crossed for you xx

    2. I've never really had cramps in my legs, so it's reassuring to hear that the soreness can last for a while (not that I wish either of us sore & crampy legs, but it's better than torn muscles!).

    3. I agree with Vee's advice. Sounds crampish, as you say, but if there is any residual stiffness you don't want to then cause a tear. In the greater scheme of things, missing one of these runs if you have to won't do any harm. Good luck! x

    4. You've both been very reassuring, thanks! I'll only start panicking about the training if I still can't run after a week or so. And I should give some thought to why I've suddenly started cramping up - my hamstring cramped on the last long run and now my calf. Dehydration is a likely culprit!