“I think you’ve been really unlucky”
My physio, Seth, shrugged. It was mid-decemnber, and I’d gone to the clinic because I had done something to my calf. A day later, by back had also seized up. Turns out I had injured a calf muscle – my left soleus.
“You’re soleus starts to get loaded more once you start getting over 10-11kms in distance on your runs,” Seth explained. In my training plan, it was my third run over 10km that I sustained this injury.
I asked if there was anything that I did wrong in my return-to-running programme that I had just laid out in great detail. Not much at all, he concluded. I really think you’ve been unlucky. The only thing you could have done was bent-legged calf raises which specifically targets your soleus, rather than your general calf muscles.
“No-one tells you about that exercise”, I grumbled.
So there I was, some 6 weeks later, yesterday at the clinic, where Seth gave me the once over, looked at my running form, watched me hop on one leg, fall and land on a step, and do single bent-legged calf raises to failure. He also recommended I start adding dead lifts to my strength training regimen.
As far as my back was concerned, he could see anything neural going on. But as time had gone on, my left back extensor muscles were becoming very tight. We deduced this was because I had stopped doing any core, yoga or leg work. I needed to start this up again now my soleus seemed rehabilitated and recovered enough to start taking significant load again.
I also got the all clear to start running again. Gently, starting with a run/walk every other day, and progressing from there. If things go well, I can still probably do the 5.5km at Round the Bays in the middle of next month. The next few days will tell.
But the run today at Newtown track went well. To be sure, it’s a little disappointing to be back at the run/walk stage again: 4 min walk + 1 min run in Zone 3, x6. But those 30 minutes were fun. And my back actually felt looser after focusing on activating my glutes when running. My back was not working so hard as perhaps it had been over the past few weeks.
I’m hoping the ramp up to running again this time will be significantly quicker than last. I’m at least encouraged by today.