Virgin London Marathon Part 3


So my calf swelled up and froze….I left my calf to recover for a week, I even did a bit of RICE (Rest Ice Compression Elevation) treatment.  Nothing particularly improved, it was quite painful for a few days but I could still walk on it, just not run, let alone 26.2 miles.

All I noticed around me was the frustrating sight of people running.  My colleague nipping out for a 7 mile run, and then meeting up with my brother for lunch only to go to the marathon store and look at trainers (for HIM!).   Later in the evenings I would be driving somewhere and just notice hoards of people running in the dark with their reflective gear.  Its annoying, that should be me out there.

So I google the symptoms in my leg until google has nothing further to give, on the subject. Its clear, its not a major issue, its a muscle strain but not a major one.  I have learned when this happens I MUST STOP IMMEDIATELY, its no good running on an injury, should that happen in the marathon thats a different thing, but I need time to heal and recover.

So I went to the physio

Who told me that although its good to have a never say die attitude to training, you should definitely stop if something is up.  That’s something that I pretty much learned the hard way, especially as I realised it took me out for over a week.  He located the pain point and identified the minor strain. The good news is that for this kind of injury you can start doing light exercise to help stretch everything out while it heals.  Tomorrow I will hopefully get back on track with a light 1-2 mile run.

Is RICE nice or is it unnecessary

So most of the traditional information points to RICE being the key thing, but not according to my Physio, this leaves me confused and it seems that despite the advances in modern science, there are still conflicting views on how to look after yourself:

  • Rest – allows the body to heal, but total rest isn’t always encouraged, this is the least disputed one
  • Ice – As a painkiller is a good idea, it reduces swelling and blood flow, but incidentally blood flow and a body response is what is required for healing….
  • Compression – Yeah holds things together and reduces swelling again, a tiny bit controversial in that you need the blood flow around the muscle to help heal
  • Elevation – again stops blood pooling around the area, actually fewer arguments against this, as you dont want too much bruising as that can take a while to clear

RICE is advised to be done immediately after an injury. Your body starts laying down fibrin and collagen and scar tissue to knit it all together, but its random so you need to guide it somwhat, therefore after a few days movement is really encouraged, if you stick frozen peas on a muscle a few weeks after the incident then you are likely making the “fibrin/collagen based” tissue less flexible and more brittle.

From the conflicting evidence I do side a bit on the RICE treatment, purely because they lob injured professional footballers in ice baths, and they are a huge investment so they probably picked the right thing.  The problem with these ideas is they all sound plausible.

Whats next

Ok so assuming my leg is on the good mend, I am increasing the instances of my runs to 4 times a week but keeping the distance short.  This is because running is a traumatic exercise and I want to allow my body to catch up and get used to the healing, training and conditioning that I am about to put it through

Fun facts about the London Marathon

  • A lot of people wee themselves, while running, I hear its true and its because if they stopped they wouldn’t be able to start.  I cringe at that,.. thats not me …. surely.
  • You can get splattered by peoples running gels that they drop
  • You can get accidentally spat on, (nice)
  • There are allegedly showers that you can run through, the wee-wee people must run through these (and linger I’d imagine).
  • There are lots of random people handing stuff out, from jelly babies and gels to occasional pints of beer, so keep your eyes peeled.
  • Tower Bridge gets packed apparently 8 people deep!


I just completed my first 15 min recovery run.  Its a run purely to get the calf into the swing of things and train the healing in the right direction.  So far so good!!!!

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