Marathon Training Week 8: Trying Not to Freak Out

Weekly Summary 2/9-2/15/15

Like most of my training weeks, this was a mixed bag.

Had a great long run. Whereas the first time I ran 16 a month ago, I really struggled to finish, this time around it went pretty quickly. Except for the last two miles, where I was just like “Can this be over already,” but that’s understandable. Even better, I was able to put in four miles at marathon pace, and I hit those paces easily and felt strong throughout the run.

Legs

My cross-training was mostly for shit this week. I only had two days where I did anything besides run. Not good. However, one of those days was yesterday, when I finally made it back to Pilates class after like a four month hiatus. I took an easy class…yeah, my abs are a wee bit sore this morning. I have my work cut out for me in trying to get my core back up to form.

However, the thing that’s on my mind is this wonky right calf of mine. My calves are monstrous.

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They’ve also given me trouble over the years. Low-grade strains that would halt my running for a week or two. One year it developed into a full blown Achilles problem where I had to take a couple months off. But since 2013, I’ve had pretty good luck with them. I use The Stick, stretch, ice, and stay away from speed intervals, and that seems to keep them in good shape. So healthy, in fact, that I was able to ditch the compression socks after wearing them for half a race season because I felt so uneasy about running without them.

So I’ve had this tightish right calf since I started marathon training eight weeks ago. It’s hardly noticeable, but I’m super sensitive to it because of my history. It comes and goes; some runs it’s present, some not. It always loosens up a couple miles into a run. And up until after Saturday’s long run, I’ve never felt it when I’m not running.

But yeah, after Saturday’s run, it definitely tightened up. I’ve treated it accordingly: ice, compression socks, ibuprofen, and massage. It’s better, but I’m wary. This calf thing has always been such a weird thing to figure out in terms of when to run and when to not.

For instance, with an IT band issue, it’s pretty clear. I can’t run as soon as the pain starts. But I’ve run through a calf problem. One time I just kept running, and it eventually went away. I’ve also made a calf problem worse by continuing to run (see Achilles problem above). I’ve kicked myself one time when after straining my calf a month before a marathon, I decided not to run the race. The damn thing cleared up a couple weeks later, and from all the hard training I’d put in the weeks prior, I totally could have had a good race. Regret being so conservative in that instance.

So I am just playing it by ear and trying not to freak out. My body will tell me soon enough if I need to take a break. And even then, my experience has shown me that if I take a couple weeks off, which is not that big a deal in the grand scheme of things and considering my conditioning, then it won’t be the end of the world.

It’s the not knowing that’s really uncomfortable. Way more uncomfortable than a 16-mile run.

Hope everyone has a great running week.

Total weekly mileage: 36
Long run: 16 miles; 4 miles at MP
Cross-training:
Abs (1x); Upper Body (1x); Leg Strengthening (10 min.) Push-Ups: 53; Pilates (1x)

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