Bad leg Diary #1: Driving on the Right

I crept silently into the night and gathered with me all the bathwater and toys from the street below. As I emptied the bathwater back into the pram, and put toys in bath. I went to bed and dreamt only of loud laughter, and the sound of neighbours knocking on the walls, as I knew that come the morning nobody could tell that I had lost my cool.


This post has gone on a little long and a little too much into some numbers that aren’t very interesting. Be warned. !!!!!!!!

I had a lovely training run of easy pace for 130-150min on Sunday, this is the kind of run that while training for the half marathon last year, well and truly hooked me to running. I had signed up to the Manchester HM after finishing the great Manchester 10K in May, I realised that for a few weeks I was just doing 5k 3 times a week on the treadmill at the gym. I wonder if I can pinpoint the exact run… Anyway, I’m getting sidetracked and will hopefully come back to this subject.

I only made 90 minutes of this long run on Sunday, instead of 150 minutes. After about 4 miles my left calf was in major pain and I was finding it hard to keep up the pace. I knew it wasn’t an injury kind of pain so I could push on but at the same time I was aware that my form had gone out of the window due to pain, and therefore could have brought on a popper injury.

I was a bit down about it and feeling like my training wasn’t working etc etc. I knew I should have felt good and done the run succesfully as my resting heart rate was extremely low after having 3 rest days and kind of a “rest week”. In fact here is a graph of my resting heart rate with the low on Sunday.

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So even after taking into account the (shortened) long run it was way down at 45bpm, that’s as low as its been since I started heavy training almost every day.

After feeling sorry for myself on facebook for a bit, the next day I felt around where the pain was coming from and there was what felt like a golf ball in my calf, and it hurt. So it was a knot in my muscle, because I haven’t been stretching and foam rolling.

Actually I am pretty happy with that. I have done more running in the last few weeks than ever and no skeletal or joint injuries is really really good. I put that down to changing how I run with a physiotherapist during November and December which has taken a lot of impact off my knees.

Recently I have started to use a heart rate monitor, this one measures all sorts of running dynamics also. I started to take a look through the last few runs to see if I could see this injury coming, or tell when it started.

Here’s my long run from Wednesday last week (14/02/18), the metric I am looking at is called ground contact time balance. It is a measure of how long each foot is in contact with the ground whilst running. This was a long run again but with intervals after 8 miles.


My average GCT is as “good” (or even) as I have measured since having the chest strap. Average was 49.2%L/50.8R.

Then I did a short recover run on (16/02/18) GCT16_02

Wow, now I am seriously favouring one side, looks like I am using my right side more and taking it easy on the left. This was by far the “worst” (or least balanced) GCT balance I had measured at 47.4%L/52.6%R. I didn’t read this graph until today however. When I did this run I remember feeling a little pain from the calf but not serious, I imagined it would go away after a rest day. Garmin is marking it red so it must be bad!

Then the shortened long run this Sunday (18/02/18)


Even redder, and even more painful. Even more on the Right 47.2%L/52.8%R.

So here’s what I think happened.. I didn’t stretch after Wednesdays long run, and that was a difficult run. Then my legs just seized up as I didn’t even walk much on Thursday. When I went out on the recovery run on Friday I wore me less spongy trainers (with over 1000k in them) this made things a bit worse but I figured it would go away and forgot about the slight niggle. Then after a couple miles on Sunday I could no longer ignore it.

Lessons for me are to keep the stretching and foam rolling etc. Also to not complain as much about stuff. Worse things have happened at sea. Also I will keep an eye on my GCTbalance more, I remember feeling a little sore on the recovery run but the GCT balance was well off what I would normally expect.

In general however GCTbalance is something I have been looking at every now and then, I have noticed it is balancing out more and I think this is a mental thing from when my left knee was injured last year, the knee has been fine for months but I am still careful with it when I stretch the leg out, expecting it to go. That is probably a unconscious factor when I run and why I still slightly prefer the right side.

Anyway, if you made it this far well done, if there’s anything specific you think I should talk about let me know.



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