You know that sinking feeling when you suddenly are aware of a niggle, a sore spot, or a pain that wasn’t there 5 minutes ago. Oh well it’ll go away, you say. Then it doesn’t go away. You only become more aware of it. Is it getting worse, or am I only noticing it more? Then 5 minutes later and you are quite sure it is getting worse. That blister is growing, that muscle is stretched too far, that knee is overused. Do you turn back? Do you push through it? Do you slow down for a bit? Do you take off your sock mid-run to analyze the situation?
My lunch run on Tuesday started out very well. The sun was shining. I was aiming for 10 km along the beautiful river. But at just over 1 km in, I started feeling a tightening of one calf. “What, my calf? Since when do I have calf problems? I never have calf problems.” Within 200m the tightening turned to pain, and the pain caused me to slow down. 500m later I turned around. I knew I would never make 10 km. In fact I walked part of the way back.
Panic set in. How did I get into this? How is this going to affect my training plan?
Well I was smart enough not to run the next day. And the day after, I only did 3 km. I essentially took the whole week off. It helped that the week was super busy anyway and I wasn’t in a critical phase of my training plan.
That was two weeks ago. So I took the one week off because I was injured. Then I got “lucky” enough to get the flu and a deep chest cold for a week. So I essentially took 2 weeks off, almost completely without running.
So my calves seem much better. I haven’t even noticed them on my two inaugural runs since then.
So the lesson learned is that if you are going to get injured, do it well before an event so that you can easily convince yourself to take it easy, and not have to worry about training. And then after you think you are injury free, take another week off, just to be sure.
Unfortunately, this is WAY easier said than done. No one ever does this of their own volition. Do they?