I pulled a calf muscle while on my first post-graduation run, four weeks and two days ago (doing the Stepping Stone podcast, trying to alter my stride to match 150bpm, possibly won't be doing that one again!). It feels like it's been forever, but I finally managed a 30 minute run yesterday with no discomfort, in fact everything seems to be back to normal, and I have no residual ache today either. Hooray! At last!
I made the mistake of trying to run too soon after the initial strain and had to abandon two runs early on - very demoralising, and also quite painful. In fact I was a bit worried about how the soreness in the calf lingered for days. So I gave it two weeks off. Then 10 days ago I went out to see how far I could go. I managed 25 minutes before I was aware of a slight ache in the calf again. It was a little sore the next day, and the day after that I woke up with a stinking cold, so another week of no running!
Yesterday I took the run what I felt was a slowish pace (using the week 9 podcast). It wasn't at all easy - I had that little voice of doubt in my head every five minutes or so telling me I couldn't possibly keep going after such a long break, I should really have gone back to week 6 intervals, why not just stop for a quick recovery walk, yadda, yadda. But I listened to Laura, kept going, didn't push, and found my breathing was much more controlled than it has been before. Then, towards the end of the run I realised I hadn't been going as slowly as I thought, and in fact I beat (albeit only by about 20 metres) the distance for my Week 9 graduation run - a personal best for that route!
Now, I'm not sure how one can not run for a month and actually improve slightly, but that's what seems to have happened and I'm not arguing with it! It's a lovely boost, but the most important thing is my leg - I was really beginning to worry I'd done something quite nasty to it and would have to go to a physio etc, but time heals!
Onwards and upwards...