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I am relatively new to running, just 1.5 years. I trained for 14 weeks for a half marathon and it went great!!! The Monday prior to the race, I used an elliptical for cross training for 45 minutes. Hadnt been on an elliptical for awhile, but felt good. The next day my calf muscles were very sore and the course of a few days got so tender I could barely walk or touch them. The half was on Saturday, it went very well, i felt strong and very happy with my time. My right knee started to hurt after the race and I have figured it out to be the lateral collateral ligament (not the it band). I can only figure it has something to do with the tight calves,
Fast forward, i have a half this weekend and my knee is bugging again. I have been off it, icing, and using electo stim on it for the past 3 days. Now for the true question :-) i haven't run nor done additional exercise and the right calf is becoming very tight again. I am confused why. Any ideas? I enjoy running now and want to keep it up. This is the first of hurts for me. I use rhythmic breathing and read about techniques to improve. I also use strenght training in my training, full body Les Mills body pump.
Greatly appreciate any insights
Being relatively new to running should mean a conservative racing schedule. To be blunt, I think it's a bit too early in your running career to be concentrating on half-marathons. Sure, they are a lot easier than full marathons, but much more wear-and-tear than 5k and 10k races, which might be a better match for your current conditioning.
Regarding your injury, tight muscles can produce enough knee pain to mimic joint problems, making a diagnosis of actual joint or ligament damage premature at this time. The tightness also applies unequal pressure to the joint, predisposing you to real joint damage in the future. This is why people should not run through pain, even though it would appear you can get away with it for a while. It is my hope the warning signs came in time to prevent mechanical injury.
So, if you really enjoy running, the only thing you need to keep up at this time is a very disciplined approach to managing the ebb and flow of your training between challenge and recovery. Don't let goals and schedules take precedence over what your body is telling you. The excitement of a race has a tendency to overwhelm your body's messages until it is too late to avoid an injury that has already happened. Learn to see them coming in advance, so you can keep your training and competition within a sustainable threshold.
You know the phrase, "it's all good." It's not all good if it's all at once. Strength training is useful as preparation early in your training, but you must be careful when using it in conjunction with recovery from competition. If you are wondering why a rested muscle might get "tight," it is because complete inactivity is usually not the best way to heal muscle. Moderate non-impact activity stimulates circulation, which in turn stimulates healing. Pure rest can lead to something more like rigor mortis, and often leads to spasms the way overtraining can. The elliptical is non-impact, but it can be hard to find one machine that is ideal for all runners' legs. They can have you working outside the normal orbit of your legs in the gait cycle, leading to the kind of soreness you described.