Some ugly aches from my past have started to surface, noticeably pains in my calves or more specifically knots. I’ve had this in the past and had to stop running to rest and let it heal. But with more research and self remedies I think I can continue running through it as I seem to have gotten it under control. I do have large calves by the way!! Interestingly enough, this issue is referred to as “Calf Heart Attacks”. Here is a link to a very good article from Runners World that explains the problem;
Basically what it is, is scar tissue from previous micro tears in the calf muscles. They show up in the form of knots which are very noticeable. In the past, while running, it just feels like someone has whacked you in the back of the leg with a baseball bat. That sudden!! I have found that a combination of ice, heat and a bit of common sense seem to make the problem better. As some tools help, like a tennis ball to really isolate the area while rolling the calves over the ball. A foam roller for general maintenance really helps as well. I like the roller over stretching as I feel you really work the entire muscle without putting as much strain on it as you would through stretching. And while I’m experiencing the calf pain, I try not to stretch very hard. I really like my “Stick” as well;
One of the problems that has contributed to the calf issue I believe is that we have had a bit of snow in the last few days and many of the sidewalks/trails haven’t been cleared yet so the running surface is rough and uneven. This tends to add stress to the outside of the shin area just above the ankles as the lower leg adapts to the uneven surface. They are calling for some warmer temperatures that may lead to some melting over the next few days. I don’t necessarily like that as it leads to what I call “sandy” snow that makes it difficult to get traction leading to more effort used to propel yourself. I like it a bit more hard packed for better footing. I have also adjusted my stride, going back to more of a heel strike as opposed to a mid-foot strike which seems to aggravate the calves.
Oh well, this is just all part of the fun and joys of running in an extreme winter climate like we have here in Edmonton.