Ah Fridays. Recovering from appendix op. Normally I would like to do a longer run, 10k, maybe 16k just to shake things up, leaving Saturday for a shorter run and some speedwork.
Keyhole appendix wound and stitches floating about somewhere inside the abdomen told me that might not be a great idea so 5k it was. Steady as she goes. And right nice it was too. Just trundling around minding my own business, although my left calf was getting a bit tweaky. So resisting the urge to get all Marine Corps and “run it off” I pulled up and did about five minutes of calf/soleus/gastrocnemus stretching. You know the one, where it looks like you are trying to push a tree over. There are variations of course but mostly you are trying to stretch and release the layers of muscles in the calf and lengthen the achilles.
As with all stretches, gently does it. There should be a “pull” (kind of obvious I guess) but if you are feeling pain that’s a “very bad thing”. Steady breathing throughout the stretch which should last for at least 30 seconds. The breathing gets the oxygen and nutrients in the bloodstream through to the muscle or joint being worked.
Wee bit of tree pushing and the calf calmed down and the trundle resumed. Now I can’t know if I would have triggered the calf into some sort of spasm or tear if I had “toughed it out” (it’s happened to me in the past) but I do know that I finished my run in good shape. So if you’ve ever pinged a calf, achilles or hamstring because you ignored the warning light on the dashboard, it doesn’t have to be that way. Don’t push it. There’s always tomorrow.