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Practice what you preach.


I’ve been a bit stupid.  I’ve been running 6 days a week and not stretching.  I tell a lot of people to stretch, even demonstrating the stretches they should be doing to protect themselves – but aside from the demonstrations I do in store, I hardly stretch at all.  Combine that with a ‘too little-too late’ hydration strategy early one morning (about 30min before setting off for hill reps) and you’ve got a recipe for a pulled calf.

So guess what’s happened to my calf during my hill reps?  Well done everybody, that’s right – ouch!

Having walked backwards down the hill I was supposed to be training on, since it was the only way I could move comfortably – I proceeded to thumb a lift from a passing motorist (not the safest thing).

Upon returning home I put my calf on ice, then went to work (backwards).  I enquired about the likely cause.  Gary Hill from Holywell (not Holywell) informed me that I’d pulled the muscle after dehydration prevented it from firing consistently.  The strange tingling sensation that had radiated from ankle to hamstring during my reps was the result of the muscle failing to react properly.

He congratulated me on having donned the Salomon Calf Tights to speed recovery/protect the muscle from further trauma, and recommended some icing, resting and stretching.  He explained that drinking a 500ml bottle of water immediately before changing into my kit and heading out won’t allow hydration in enough time.

All of this – it seems – could have been avoided if I had simply practiced the techniques I tell every other Tom, Dick and Harry to do day in-day out.  Ahhh well, I only have myself to blame.  I’m stuck resting and recovering, and wishing I could get out and enjoy the sunshine we’ve suddenly been blessed with.

I’ve had a soft tissue massage from Holywell’s Ben Swain, and aside from a few squeaks and squeals as I was poked and prodded, I feel much better for it.  I just have to do my homework and STRETCH.

Incidentally, massages probably don’t hurt quite so much if you’ve taken better care of yourself in advance.

I can’t wait to get back to where I was.  I felt fit and strong.  I’ll have some catching up to do, if I’m to be ready for my ultra distance endurance events, only a couple of months away.


Drink more water along with the usual tea, coffee etc – stay hydrated at all times and think about only setting off when ready.

Stretch (are you getting that this matters enormously?)

Stop the second your muscles tingle and feel like you’re running with someone else’s leg!

Walking backwards everywhere looks weird, but for some reason increases your chances of securing a lift home from strangers (seriously – don’t do this, as the first person you get will be a psycho nut job killer).

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