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Tight calves

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Kenny B.
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Tight calves Empty Tight calves

Post  Seth Harrison Mon Oct 03, 2011 7:31 am

This is a new one for me, and fortunately it's not causing any problems....yet, but it is causing some minor concern.
I'm seven weeks out until Philly, and for the last couple of weeks, both calves have been pretty tight. It's especially bad when I first wake up. I've been using an electric heating pad before my runs, and that seems to help, but it always comes back. It hasn't gotten worse during runs, but being how tight they feel, my fear is that they'll all of a sudden go "pop" in the middle of a run. I wore a calf sleeve on the left side (which seems to be a little worse than the right), during this weekends HM, and I didn't have any issues. With my peak mileage weeks approaching though, I would really like to put an end to the tightness, perhaps more to allay my fears, but I do want to make sure this doesn't get worse.
One note...I did have a mild strain to the right calf two weeks ago which caused me to miss one long run and a day or two of easy runs. It cleared up pretty quickly, and like I said, it's the left calf that seems to be tighter now.
Any suggestions?
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Post  Nick Morris Mon Oct 03, 2011 7:36 am

My right calf tightened up a few weeks ago. had Active Release Technique (ART) completed on it and only missed one training run. The calf was good as new in two days.
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Post  Admin Mon Oct 03, 2011 9:09 am

Did you recently change shoes? Or, do you need to?

Shoes with more heel build up take pressure off of the calf muscles. If you recently switched to a shoe with less heel build up, or if your shoes are getting too worn... sore calf muscles. The only other reasonable possibility would be if you recently ramped up training.

Hope you get it sorted out quickly.

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Post  ounce Mon Oct 03, 2011 11:47 am

Maybe a massage would help? Or a couple of them?
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Post  Kenny B. Mon Oct 03, 2011 12:25 pm

1. ART
2. Check shoes
3. Massage

I think that is sound advice.
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Post  Seth Harrison Mon Oct 03, 2011 12:38 pm

@Kenny B. wrote:1. ART
2. Check shoes
3. Massage

I think that is sound advice.

The two pair of shoes that I'm rotating each have plenty of miles left, so I don't that's the issue. It could be the increase in weekly mileage, since I've pretty consistently been up into the 40's, which for me is an unusual, both in the amount and the consistency. Paying for a massage is probably not an option, but I will talk to my physical therapist to see if there's anything he thinks would helpful.
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Post  Michele "1L" Keane Mon Oct 03, 2011 12:40 pm

I have notoriously tight calves which has me stretch them (wall and soleus stretch) every 2-3 hrs for 1 min on each side all day long. Mine get tighter as I increase the mileage, and if I let them go, I tend to get PF and achilles issues. If I cannot keep things "loose" with the stretching, I see my ART person (get Graston) and/or my massage therapist. I also wear a night splint if it persists and these things seem to take care of it.
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Post  Seth Harrison Mon Oct 03, 2011 12:53 pm

@Michele "1L" Keane wrote:I have notoriously tight calves which has me stretch them (wall and soleus stretch) every 2-3 hrs for 1 min on each side all day long. Mine get tighter as I increase the mileage, and if I let them go, I tend to get PF and achilles issues. If I cannot keep things "loose" with the stretching, I see my ART person (get Graston) and/or my massage therapist. I also wear a night splint if it persists and these things seem to take care of it.

I also find myself stretching both the soleus and gastroc throughout the day, and that does seem to help. The problem is that they seem to tighten back up. I hadn't thought about Graston, but I know one of the women at my PT's office does do it. I'll call him and see what he says.
Like you, I also seem to have a chronically tight periformis that I've been able to run through. I wonder if that could in some way be a contributing factor. Another question for my physical therapist.
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Post  Jeff F Mon Oct 03, 2011 2:36 pm

The only other suggestion I haven't seen yet would be to use a foam roller or the stick on your calves.
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Post  Seth Harrison Mon Oct 03, 2011 4:38 pm

@Jeff F wrote:The only other suggestion I haven't seen yet would be to use a foam roller or the stick on your calves.

Thanks Jeff, I have a foam roller and will try it on the calves.
It turns out my PT works with someone who does massage, so I decided to give it a try. It looks like I'll get an appt. for Thursday morning, which works perfectly since I'll be doing a 20 on Friday.
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Post  carleenp Mon Oct 03, 2011 9:31 pm

Tight calves are the norm for me. I have had all sorts of problems with that. I find that hot packs, followed by stretching and foam rolling or the stick (I prefer the foam roller though) work best in terms of general relief for me. So does massage. However, I always tighten back up again fairly quickly. when I get into fairly long runs, I try to use heat on my calves before I go (a hot bath with Epsom salts is especially good, although a bit time consuming) and I stop and stretch the calves pretty good both after mile one and after mile two. I wear compression socks and sleeves sometimes too, but I don't feel like they make a huge difference in tightness. They do help, however, if my calves have gone beyond just extra tight and are actually sore.
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Post  dot520 Tue Oct 04, 2011 3:14 pm

@Michele "1L" Keane wrote:I have notoriously tight calves which has me stretch them (wall and soleus stretch) every 2-3 hrs for 1 min on each side all day long. Mine get tighter as I increase the mileage, and if I let them go, I tend to get PF and achilles issues. If I cannot keep things "loose" with the stretching, (snipped).

The more research I do, the more I see Michele's point about the dang calves being a central point to my heel issue. Looked up a few of those soleus and related stretches.

I know there have been debates of whether to stretch or not, static vs dynamic etc...but I think this is best left up to the individual. For me, stretching works wonders when I remember to do it...that and the stick, foam roller and foot log.
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