Couch to 5K
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As y'all probably remember, at the end of the w6r3 podcast, Laura proclaims that we are "officially" runners. I fondly recall passing that milestone back in late September!

I think I actually became an "official" running this evening. Why? Because I sustained my first injury whilst running.

After doing "Speed" and "Stamina" in alternation for the past three runs, I embarked on my first timed 5K in a week and a half. Last time was an Oxford Parkrun, where I set a new PB at 28:36. Of course, I left home today hoping to beat that record.

About ten minutes in, my right calf started to hurt. Hurt quite a bit, in fact. Right in the back of the calf muscle, there was a very prominent "ouch" factor. I slowed down and considered aborting the run. I've not yet failed a run, however, so I was reluctant to do so. As it turns out, the pain eased -- and eventually subsided -- with the slower pace. So on I went! Wahoo!

In the last five minutes, I started to speed up again. After all, I had been pain-free for awhile... and the finish line was nearly upon me! Bad move -- the "ouch" came back. I slowed down, but was determined to complete the run. Couldn't really call it off this close to the end, now could I?

The good news is that I crossed my finish line in 28:49 -- not quite a personal best... but only thirteen seconds longer than my current PB. Whilst doing my five minute cool-down limp, I popped into a running shop. Yes, there just happens to be one on my route. The bad news is that, after hearing my description, they think I have a small muscle tear. I am writing this blog while icing my leg and elevating it.

My best guess is that I was pushing just a wee bit too hard; going just a wee bit too fast for myself. If I achieved my second best time ever -- only 13 seconds behind my best -- despite a deliberate prolonged slow-down period mid-run, then I must have been pushing pretty hard the rest of the time.

I'm told that this isn't serious and will heal on its own. Here's hoping this goes away quickly. Tomorrow is the usual rest day, of course... but I'd like to get out there again on Thursday. Friday at the absolute latest. Hopefully, my right leg will cooperate with this plan.

Any of you fellow grads have muscle tear experience? How bad was it? How long did it take to heal?

8 Replies

You're rather speedy !

I don't know if I suffered a muscle tear but after weeks of a niggling muscle pain, I got out of bed the Sunday before last and my calf was so painful I couldn't walk properly for two days. I iced regularly and elevated. It was too tender to apply any pressure so couldn't massage but I tried to gently build up my stretches. I tried to gently stretch while I was icing, easing off as soon as it went beyond slight discomfort.

In all, I had a week of rest from running. My first run afterwards was on Sunday - I ran a 10k and achieved a PB (much slower than your speed though !). I approached the run with the plan that I would stop if it started to hurt so I didn't put myself under any pressure at all.

I think you would be wise to rest until it is a niggle at most. You won't lose fitness over a week and sometimes the rest can be beneficial.

I hope you heal soon.


Thanks! I'm trying! I broke the magic "5K in 30 min" barrier a couple of weeks ago, and have been gradually improving my time ever since.

That said, let me return the compliment with some admiration of my own! I'm rather impressed that you can run a 10K. So far, the most I've done is 5.6km (using the "Stamina" podcast). After New Years, I'm planning to start the Bridge-to-10K plan. I'd really like to run my first 10K by Easter! *fingers crossed*

Thanks for the advice and opinions. I think you're right, and I'm going to have to accept that I may not be running in the next few days. I was hoping to do one more ParkRun this year, on Saturday, but I won't count on it unless this fades quickly. I've iced and elevated tonight... but I'm still achy and limping a bit.

Thanks again, and have a great night! :-D


I walked some bits......


This injury lark catches us all out at some point doesn't it? Usually when we are trying to improve too quickly :p.

That was my problem so I am now taking it easier. No more parkruns for me at the moment until I can get back up to the 30 minutes, my last 2 runs have been W5R1, just to ensure that I have no more problems, and I will take it slowly to get back to the W9 stage.

For once I'm listening to my body and what it can/can't do, as I hated not being able to get out there.

Hope your calf recovers well and enjoy parkrun this Saturday if you can do it, and have a great Christmas and New Year. :)


It really does! Like I said above, I think I'm _now_ an official runner, having suffered my first running injury.

We are now on "the day after", and it still hurts. Not like yesterday, but I've still got a slight limp. Going to take it one day at a time and see when it heals up. If I can't do the ParkRun this weekend, I may volunteer to help run it. That will get one of my volunteering slots out of the way.

I'm looking forward to seeing you back at the ParkRuns -- and finally meeting you properly -- once you are ready for them again. Sounds like your recovery is progressing nicely. Good luck!!


Hi Ironmatt, hope you are healing well now. Maybe take the pressure off yourself. I think greater speed will come naturally when you build up your stamina by doing longer runs. I was previously undecided, but I think I will do the B210K podcasts in the new year - I'm still not quite at the 30 min 5K mark (on 31 mins), but trying to cut myself some slack. It's good advice :)


Hi, RT! Long time, no hear! Was wondering what you had been up to since the Santa run! Hope you're having a spectacular holiday season!

I am naturally recovering from Tuesday's injury -- thanks! I didn't run on Wednesday, as it was a "rest day". Indeed, I actually rested -- no exercise at all. Thursday (yesterday), I decided to run again but I wanted to take it easy. My leg wasn't in nearly as much pain, but I could still feel the spot where the supposed tear was.

Can you guess what I did?

I dragged out the old "Stepping Stone" podcast! You know, the one that we both agreed was too easy. :-D I figured this would give me a thirty minute run and, at the same time, keep me from pushing too hard. Looks like I was right! I made it without exacerbating the pain.

I'm going to stick with Stepping Stone a bit longer, until I feel fully recovered. Unfortunately, that means missing tomorrow's ParkRun. I'm sure that would be a bad idea -- in each ParkRun, I try to go as fast as possible and get a new personal best. And I've succeeded each time, thus far. So I don't think I could stop myself -- I would be trying hard to get in under my 28:36 time from a fortnight ago... and I'd likely make the injury worse in the process.

That's the plan, then: Stepping Stone a few more times... then hopefully one last ParkRun (for now) _next_ week, on December 29th. Then, come the New Year, it's the Bridge-to-10K. I've already got the first run in my 2013 diary for January 1st, and I'm really excited about this new challenge. I'm glad to hear that you've decided to give them a go, too! Yay! :-D


Yeah, I've been a bit off the radar for a while, as it's been so busy, but still lurking here! Running wise, I've found it harder getting out in these dark wet times, but somehow (mostly) managing to persuade myself!

Well done, you seem to be being very sensible about your injury and not pushing yourself harder than you should and I'm sure you'll be back on top form soon enough.

Yeah I'm looking forward to the new challenge too. I may only do a B210K podcast on my longer weekend run, and mix it up with a 5K and the speed podcast in the week, so it will take longer to complete, but I'll see how it goes.


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