On Monday evening I learnt something new about my body, apparently I have a muscle in my leg called the Gastrocnemius. For those who don’t have a medical background it is basically the muscle at the back of your calf. The story of how I ended up learning about this muscle began on Sunday afternoon. As part of my training schedule to get me fit for the Birmingham Half Marathon I was due to complete a recovery run on Sunday afternoon. Half a mile into the run I was feeling great, better than I have done at any point in my training so far. Unfortunately that happy feeling wasn’t to last.
As my left foot landed on the pavement I felt a sharp, stabbing pain in my calf that stopped me in my tracks. It felt like a small dog had sunk it’s teeth into the back of my leg but looking down it was clear that I wasn’t being attacked by a vicious Jack Russell. Whatever I had done was muscular. I tried to take a couple of steps, hoping it was just really bad cramp but after two it was clear that this something more serious. I walked home feeling pretty pissed off, especially as I had been feeling so good. As soon as I got home I started trying to limit the damage by applying ice to my calf and taking painkillers.
The following day I went to the minor injuries department at my local hospital and had a rather bizarre check up. Fair play to the doctor, he was very thorough and put my through a series of tests to determine the extent of the damage. One of these tests involved me kneeling on a chair facing the wall while he tested my Achilles tendons. After he had made some notes he sat me down and told me that I had torn my Gastrocnemius. To which I replied “I’ve torn what?” He explained the two muscles in the calf (Soleus and Gastrocnemius) and the extent of the injury I had. His diagnosis was that it wasn’t too bad and I should be able to run again in a few of weeks. However when I did start running again I would have to take it slow and ease myself back into.
Having kick-started my half marathon training a few weeks ago I am now facing a short injury break whilst my Gastrocnemius heals. In the past I would’ve sulked for a few weeks and moaned about the running gods picking on me.
However I have decided to use this time proactively and work on my upper body and core strength. I am using the LDN Muscle Leaner Fitter Stronger book as a guide and will be following the Intermediate programme (minus the leg exercises obviously). It is frustrating to have picked up an injury but it nothing too serious and I just need to focus my energies on something else for a while.
The next few weeks will be a test but I will be stronger for it.