Q15. I'm due to run Paris Marathon this Sunday, but my right calf muscle has been extremely tight and causing me pain when I run. I've run 2 marathons, and numerous half marathons over the past 18 months and never had any trouble. My training had been going well, with gradual progression up to 20 miles, until about three weeks ago when my calf muscle gave out about 5 miles into a run on a treadmill (I'm normally an outdoor runner). I think the likely cause was a stupidly-high pair of stilettos I'd worn for a few days (including the night before the run) which probably shortened the muscle slightly, and then didn't cope so well with being stretched out on a flat treadmill. It hadn't even crossed my mind at the time that heels would impede my training.
I've spoken to a physio, had a sports massage, taken anti-inflammatories, done strengthening exercises, and tried to rest as much as I can (thankfully, being the taper weeks, i was winding down the mileage anyway). I managed one 16 mile run just after the injury, but i've not done anything further than 3-4 miles for the past few weeks in case I exacerbate it any further....it has improved, but there is still a niggle of pain - sometimes minor, other times quite sharp.
The problem is, now I don't know whether I am capable enough to do the 26.2 miles in less than 2 days time. I know the run is challenging enough at 100% fitness, and I'll be lacking in confidence, for fear of it all going wrong part way through and having to pull out or hobble home. My head says maybe just forget it and wait for an autumn marathon...my heart (it is the city of love, afterall!) wants to do it, regardless of the time, as I've spent months training through a bitter winter, and I'm heading on the train to Paris tonight anyway, with roam roller tucked in my bag!
What are your thoughts, and what's your advice for the next 40 hours, if I do want to run? – Angela Muddle
A15. It all depends on your shoes….I think they may have lost control and your calf is tight because it’s been over stretched due to the lack of control over a long period. The high heels may have been an accelerant rather than a direct cause.
I think I’d be on the start line – after all it’s paid for and I’d enjoy a “fun” run. Whether you finish or not (and the not is important) is not the question, it’s how the injury feels. It’s better to duck out at mile 10 and have enjoyed Le Paris vibe rather than finish in tears with a big hole in your calf….or you can sip a café au lait and eat an extra croissant because you can!