Wednesday, April 10, 2013


This month's challenge was spurred by my recent calf strain.  This past winter was a full running season.  I trained for the Goofy Challenge, a marathon PR, and 5k PR, and added in a couple other road races along the way.  Throughout that time, I was well aware that my calves were tight most of the time.  And by calves, I mean the soleus, the inner calf muscle.  My gastroc, the muscle you see as two heads on the calf, is rarely tight on me.  I had spent time trying to stretch it out, but in the end defaulted to accepting that this was simply how my body was going to be.

Then I pulled the muscle.

Lesson learned.  If you know you're consistently tight, address it before it becomes an injury.  Therefore, this is my challenge for the month of March...


Am I taking the month of March off?  Haha.  Heck no!  I've got races to prepare for.  But I'm going to prepare for them in a smarter way.  I'm going to streamline my training and make sure to maintain a few recovery measures in order to keep my body from being so consistently tight.  So here it goes; what are the details of this month's challenge?

The goal is to be relaxed and not tight prior to every workout. 
  • Any muscle tightness must be addressed and alleviated prior to working out.  If I'm unable to do so, then a recovery session is my workout for the day.  
  • Any muscle tightness post-workout must be addressed by stretching and noted prior to the next workout.
  • Every post-workout shower has to be a contrast shower
  • Every major workout (typically on weekends) must be followed by yoga. 
  • Yoga (50-75m session) must be included three times in the weekly regime.  
  • A hot bath must be included once a week (most likely on recovery days).   
  • Foam rolling must happen twice a week.
  • The magic stick has to get used at least twice a week.  
  • The computer is now off limits after 9pm in order to allow for more sleep. 

Beyond those, I've debated adding in regular massages though that starts hacking into my finances.  While it may help immensely, I may stick more to my 2-3 visits a year for now.

Since I saw the doctor for my calf, I've been very diligent about my workouts and recovery.  Prior to the injury, I had done 3 yoga sessions for the year.  I did 5 last week alone.  I haven't felt this relaxed and...  "even" in awhile and I rather enjoy it.  The focus on recovery has also helped me step back from my 24/7 approach to training.  I slowly added cycling back into the workout, but attached yoga to any long rides to make sure I was staying relaxed.  So far, so good.  I rode 40 miles this past weekend without an issue (and on the trainer to boot!). 

Here goes nothing!


1.  How do you recover?

2.  Do you have any muscles that are consistently tight?
My calves are always tight. 

3.  What's the farthest distance you've made it on the trainer and/or treadmill?
For me, either is an exercise in mental toughness!!  I've made it 40 miles on the trainer and 4 on the treadmill.

Dream.  Believe.  Achieve. 


Alyssa Duhe said...

Sorry to hear about your calf. I've been dealing with a lot of muscle strains (not tears whew) and I've come to the conclusion I need to stretch a hell of a lot more than I do now. My left hamstring is always aching. This hot/cold shower thing sounds interesting. I'm a big fan of massage, heat and ice.

ajh said...

The treadmill is my friend as I recover from my injury. It has no potholes. It keeps my speed consistent. The surface is runner friendly. The farthest I have ever been on the treadmill is 7 miles I think. I can't imagine doing a really long distance on it as some people can.