Marathon Running and Race Support
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I'm getting anxious!

Hi all I'm in desperate need of some TLC from my fellow runners. I am doing my first half marathon on 8th Oct so only two weeks away. My training 'was' going well and I'd managed 18kms about six weeks ago unfortunately I attempted a fast hill sprint having not properly warmed up and I've now torn my calf muscle. I don't think its a very serious tear but it is painful I've rested, iced, and elevated it now for over three weeks and its beginning to feel a little less tender but I'm worried I haven't actually ran for over three weeks, is this going to impact badly on any attempt at the half marathon? (that's provided calf will hold out) Also should I continue putting ice on at this stage? I appreciate all advice thank you x

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That really sucks! Injuries shortly before races are the pits, and it's easy to get far more focused on the race than on healing and being able to run the race after this one.

There are different opinions about icing. My non-medical view is it "works" by reducing swelling and thereby removing pain, to enable the athlete to train/compete sooner than if he let his body complete its healing process. So I'm not a big fan of it. And after 3 weeks I don't think there is anything good coming from it (but I'm not a doctor so don't take my words for it).

Research shows that after a break of a week or more it takes twice as long as the break to get back to the fitness you were at prior to the break. So if you haven't run for over 3 weeks and have a HM in 2 weeks time, it doesn't look good to be honest.

My suggestion would be to completely forget any timing ambitions. If you feel up to it, then run/walk the HM. If there is a cut-off time, then you might want to calculate what run/walk ratios you would need in order to ensure you finish within the cut off.

Good luck whatever you do.

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Thank you tomas for your sound and sensible advise I agree I would be definately cutting it a bit fine to hope for a good time now I've been out of actionfor several weeks. So I think if I continue to rest up and see how it is at the weekend maybe try a short slow run and make a decision from there. Although I would be very disappointed not to run it there will always be another one! :(

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I have a theory, and it's only a theory as I'm no doctor (as if) but I reckon pre race anxiety makes us stiffen up and therefore more prone to injury.

I pulled up on an easy run round the local streets with a shooting pain up my calf like a hot needle being inserted. I tried resting it a week. No joy. Then another week. Ditto. I ended up taking a further 3 weeks off which led me straight into race day. I was fine! The rest worked. I was tatered afterwards mind you as I'd had no training. This was a ten mile race on a hot day.

I was icing, ibufren last thing at night before sleep, and just keeping my calf raised when not using it. Not too raised though! I used a TENS machine as well! We had one lying about (my husband's)

I think 3 weeks is max that you could lay off running and not notice the difference. I did a ten miler which is 16 k. 21 k is a half mara, so quite a bit further. You may have to leave it til the 11th hour before deciding whether to run or not as only you will know how you feel. If you go ahead you can run walk if needs be.

Fingers crossed for you!

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Oh Misswobble you have no idea how much you have encouraged me by your experience and advice. I am a fairly optimistic person and tend to believe it will be alright on the day, I know I could run/walk but it might be more of a hobble and the town the Hm is in reopen the roads after four hours !,

I'm going to heed your suggestion and continue to rest maybe a short jog at weekend then cross everything and hope it will be ok on the day,

I will let you know how it goes, thank you again for your encouragement it is much appreciated x

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4 hours... you might be able to walk 21 km in that time. Good to have that as a backup.

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Tricky - it very much depends on the tear and if it is still tender after three weeks, I would be careful about running on it just yet. (Had a nasty one a coup,e of years ago). I agree that giving it more time to heal sounds the way to go. As for being up to your HM, that's a decision only you can make. If I'm honest, it sounds like a pretty big ask but maybe run/walk is still an option? I guess you also have to ask yourself, is it worth being laid up for many more weeks if things go wrong? At the end of the day, there will be plenty more HMs to train for! So frustrating when things don't go to plan. 🙁 I had planned to run my second HM in November, but a summer of injury means this now won't happen until spring. I am however, loving my runs again at the moment and building that fitness back up. If you decide to go for it, please go slow and steady - good luck.

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Thank you Sandra that is sound advice my heart says just trust in yourself it will be ok and then my heads saying yes but if you injury your calf further you'll be laid up for weeks after being even more miserable!

I only started running about eighteen months ago I never would have believed I find myself staring out of my window like a child jealous of other runners running down the road, grrr!,,

I'll keep you posted on developments .... now I'm goi g to google 'faith healers' !!!!

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I hobbled round my first HM with a knee injury, took full stops at every water station, and occasional extra stretch breaks, walked the one proper downhill bit of the course (was fine to run up). I don't necessarily advise running with injury, and if it's really sore I wouldn't go if I were you (incidentally what does your doctor say?) - but it's hard to face missing that first race!

I'd think that if the swelling has gone down you should ditch the ice. Actually, I have read that a little heat is good for healing, and cuddling up with a hot water bottle is quite the morale-booster :)

Good luck whatever you decide. If you don't run on the 8th, you can always enjoy planning the next attempt - cuddled up with the hot water bottle perhaps!

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Unfortunately I don't have any advice, but wish you all the best.

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Thank you I appreciate your best wishes, I wonder if you know anyone who could lend me a new pair of legs ...preferably 20 years younger than my own?!!

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Ouch that's grim. I suggest having it assessed before you do anything. Your long term running future is more important than the HM, so please get it assessed by a good sports physio or osteopath and they will be able to advise on your training too...

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