Sunday, November 09, 2014

Calf Trouble

I woke at about 2 am on Thursday morning with my right calf muscle about to go into a rather painful cramp. I used to get these nightly episodes rather regularly but they have stopped for a year or two. I'm not sure what brought it on again - well, nobody seems to know what causes them in the first place. I know a lack of magnesium sometimes gets mentioned but I don't want to go back on supplements just because someone on the internet says so.

Subsequently my calf felt very tight during that morning's run, but I have been there plenty of times before and I know that it doesn't affect my run. However, I was a bit surprised to still be feeling the same tightness on Friday morning as well as on Saturday. I finally started digging out the Stick again before going to bed last night and got to work, which seems to have made a difference. I could still feel some tightness early on but for once it loosened up after a mile or two, so I think that episode is behind me now. There may well be further repeats to come, of course.

Thursday's 10 mile run was easy and I felt really good. The HR was at a rather low level for once, which was good to see. I'm under no illusion that recovery from Dublin is complete, but it was good to see a more familiar pace/HR ratio for once.

That was encouraging enough to run a bit faster on Saturday again. While I am still in base training, it's always good to move the legs a bit faster once a week, though that still has to be a relaxed and controlled run. I didn't get that right, the effort and the HR that goes with it was too high during the middle miles. I dialled it back once I became aware of it, but by then I already knew that I would feel the effort on Sunday's run.

That proved to be the case, alright. There was no real zip in the legs for all of 16 miles on Sunday, though all in all it was a perfectly reasonable run. I started to feel a bit tired towards the end, but the fact that I had to run the final 5 miles right into a headwind had undoubtedly something to do with that. Mind I was still moving well enough at the end and could have gone further.

I got a new toy to play around with on Thursday, and on Friday I took my new Suunto Ambit 2 out for a spin for the first time. Just to make sure, I brought my old Garmin along as well, but it worked well enough to bring only the Suunto on Sunday. It looks like a great piece of kit overall but there is one significant drawback, namely complex workouts aren't very well supported. I had a look on the web how to program an evaluation workout into the thing (w/u, 4x1 miles, pause, c/d) and while I might eventually be able to create my own app, I think my Garmin will still have its uses, certainly for this week. It seems strange that Suunto are providing all kinds of advanced functionality but lack the ability for users to create their own bespoke workouts in a straightforward manner.

7 Nov
10 miles, 1:17:11, 7:43 pace, HR 139
8 Nov
10 miles, 1:13:31, 7:21 pace, HR 151
   incl. 8 miles @ 7:07 pace (HR 155)
9 Nov
16 miles, 2:01:24, 7:35 pace, HR 145
Weekly Mileage: 79 miles


  1. I don't trust the supplements either, it's better to eat the leafy greens... Nice new toy, the belt of my Garmin is broken on multiple spots and presently held together by tape, this might be the replacement!

  2. Night terrors!!!! Calf cramps at night are horrible to experience and have the capacity to introduce injuries out of the blue. I have a couple this year. I've supplemented with Magnesum but still got cramps at night and during races. They may help a bit but aren't all cure.

    Fatigue seems to be the main culprit for me. The night cramps seem to be when my body is repairing damage done during hard training or racing, it's almost like that during the rebuilding process just occasionally the body gets the wiring wrong or the sequence of repair isn't quite balanced yet.


    On the tech side, I've got my eye on the new wave of smart watches. I'd love to be able to dispense with my phone and heart rate monitor strap - just stick a smart watch on and still be able to go out , record GPS, HR and still keep in touch with home.

    1. Robert, are these smart watches/phones accurate enough? 2 years ago when I used phone apps for tracking my runs, the data was all over the place. But 2 years is a long time in tech world, so might be good now.

    2. I haven't tried a smart watch yet so can't comment on how accurate they will be.

      I've used my phones for GPS recording for the past few years and they have worked reasonably well but don't have another GPS device to compare to. The accuracy of the trace looks to be as much related to the software being used as the GPS sensor.

      Battery life of phones is getting pretty good now - my simple little Moto G lasted for 18hrs recording my route when I ran West Highland Way Race this year. I suspect the watches won't have the battery life to compete with this for a while though.

  3. What convinced you to go for the Suunto rather than a Garmin 920xt?

    1. The price - €300 for the Ambit vs. €530 for the 920xt vs. €400 for the 910xt