Risk Management

Maybe it’s the influence of the Caveboy’s new finance job, but I’ve been contemplating the role of risk management in running a lot this week. There are the obvious examples: Should I pick up the pace early in a race if I’m feeling good, or save it for later? Do I really need to strap on an extra water bottle for the long run, or  can I find a water fountain? Then there is the one dreaded question that comes to haunt everyone sooner or later: Something hurts. Should I run on it anyway?   

This week I find myself with just such a dilemma.  The collateral damage from last weekend’s escapades, the Very Sore Left Calf, has continued to nag.  On Monday just walking on it was somewhat painful. Thankfully, it was a rest day, and I slept with a heat wrap under the compression socks that night. By Tuesday morning it was feeling much better. I decided to swap out the scheduled interval run for Thursday’s pace run just to be safe, as I’ve found that intervals seem to aggravate my calves more than anything else.  The pace run went well, although I did feel the soreness returning as I ran.  Wednesday it was still hurting a bit, but I just had 5 easy miles to do, so I wasn’t worried.  I got through the easy run without incident, although I was a little concerned that the soreness didn’t seem to ease once I was warmed up. I iced my calf last night, but woke up this morning with it still twinging a bit when I walk on it.  It’s much duller than it was on Monday, which is encouraging, I guess.  I’m keeping a heat wrap on it all day at work, but I am now trying to gameplan the rest of the week. 

I should be doing the interval run tonight, but I’m pretty certain that will leave my calf in even worse shape tomorrow.  Normally I wouldn’t be too concerned about that, since Friday is a rest day and Saturday is an easy run. I just checked the weather for the weekend, though, and Sunday is supposed to be clear and hot all day.  Saturday looks better, so I’m considering moving the 20-miler up a day to take advantage of the cooler temps.  That leaves me with a gamble.  If I run tonight, I’ll have to sub a tempo for the interval and will still probably prolong the calf issue. I can rest tomorrow, hope it feels better, and run the 20 on Saturday.  I could take today off and end up 6 miles down on the week, which I don’t feel great about. Option 3 is to take tonight off and run tomorrow evening instead.  That seems like a good idea at first glance, but the problem there is that if the calf isn’t better tomorrow, I’m still looking at 32 miles over 3 consecutive days. 

Right now, I’m leaning toward Option 1.  I’ll do the tempo, take some advil, RICE it, and hope that by Saturday it’s either feeling better, or a cold front is moving in.  I booked a massage for tomorrow at lunch, so that may be of some help, too. The pain really isn’t bad and I’ve definitely run on worse.  My concern is that I don’t have enough experience with really long runs to know what to expect after a 20-miler.  What seems totally manageable now may not be after 3+ hours of running. In the mean time, I think I’m going to pray for an unexpected Arctic blast on Sunday.

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