...and tight calves when running

11 messages
Pink    pirate
07/02/2007 at 09:56
In my admittedly limited experience of doing brick sessions and/or triathlons I've faired pretty well on the bike, but really struggled on the run.

I'm aware of the usual jelly legs/concrete legs that you get going bike to run, but my problem is that my calf muscles get really tight and take all the bounce from my step.

I wondered if that was something to do with my bike set-up or technique. I think my seat is the right height, but do I need to adjust my cleats for example, or pedal with flatter feet (I think I may point my toes down a bit)
Bouncing Barlist    pirate
07/02/2007 at 10:01
Not sure Pink? could be either or a combination or just muscle adaption required. Does the calf tightness ease or worsen the longer you run?

When running the bricks always go dead slow, at least till your more acustomed to them.

Im sure someone with better info will be a long soon.

07/02/2007 at 10:05
Pnk - it could be your peddling should use some heel lift as you pull through the stroke rather than keep the foot flat which could lead to some tightness.......
Pink    pirate
07/02/2007 at 10:30
Thanks guys

I would say the tightness worsens as I run to the point where I stop and walk. Although tbh, I've not gone beyond 5k on a brick... I guess it would probably ease up the longer I run.

FB, I can see the heel lift is required to pull through the stroke. What about for the down stroke? My spin instructor was talking about a 'heel toe action' last night and wondered if I should have a flatter foot to push (or is she talking rubbish - I don't think she's a cyclist btw)

I think I need to get this sorted before I consider an oly - I couldn't face 10k of solid calf muscles!
07/02/2007 at 10:39
Think of the heel lift as scrapping mud off your shoe. The first part is the reverse, so if you think back and forward i.e. heel to toe you'll not go wrong.

The downstroke will take care of itself, just think perfect circles rather than an up and down motion.

As for sore calfs, probably going too hard on the bike.
Iron Mike    pirate
07/02/2007 at 10:40
It sounds to me like you are stressing your muscle too much pink. Have you been building the training up to cope with the new stress of doing bricks? Have you always had this problem regardless of how fit you are? I would side against it being anything to do with your cycling as your calves aren't the main muscle group used for this. In my opinion, having a flat foot or not wouldn't cause tightness.

I think that the cause of your problem is either due to your running gait, or its due to you not stretching the muscles after exercise. If you have a bio-mechanical issue with your stride, this will stretch your calves and cause tightness. Also, if you don't stretch after hard sessions, this can lead to poor recovery and leave the muscle unflexible and therefore tight. Have you had your gait analysed and got the correct trainers for your foot strike?
Iron Mike    pirate
07/02/2007 at 10:44
Which is not to say that the calves are not used at all in cycling as they are stressed, but what I am trying to say is that your calves are stressed far more in running and so this is in my view where the injury is likely to be coming from.
07/02/2007 at 10:51
if you are new to bricks then that's just the way they are for a while, until you become a better cyclist.

However, if your saddle is too high it can put additional load on the top of your calf muscles (is this wear the tightness is ?). Ideally your saddle should be at a height that allows your foot to be parallel with the ground when it is at the bottom of the pedal stroke, and you have a slightly bent leg.

another give away of high a saddle that is too high is that when cycling if you have to rock your hips from one side to the other..
Pink    pirate
07/02/2007 at 11:06
ok, more info required I think...

IM, you've probably hit on something with the running gait. I have recurrent shin splints and the *latest* theory is that I curl/claw my toes when I'm running and this means I'm holding some tension in my toe flexors (which run up the inside of the calf by the soleus). I've been given calf and toe flexor stretches by my sports masseur and he's also considering a little wedge under my toes to force them straight. I'm fairly confident I have the right shoes.

Although I don't normally suffer from tight calves when I run, I suspect the effect of these issues may be magnified when I've cycled first?

I was hoping it was something I could easily address on the bike. But it looks like it's the same old problem...
Iron Mike    pirate
07/02/2007 at 11:25
The shin splints problem further points towards the run being the source of your worries as opposed to what you are doing on the bike. You are seeing a sports physio which is going to help you more than anyone here can so carry on with that and make sure you do calf stretching exercises after each session.
Pink    pirate
07/02/2007 at 11:51
Thanks everyone!

I'll keep stretching and practicing those bricks!

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