Grade 2 calf tear 9 weeks before marathon

So it was all going well with my training for my 1st marathon (Dublin October 29th 2012).  On 28 August I felt a sharp pain in my calf that wouldn't go away.  After taking it easy for a couple of weeks and unsuccessfully trying to get running again too soon, I saw a physio on 12/9 who diagnosed my injury.  I have progressed to stretching and calf exercises thus far with him.

I have now gone 3 weeks without a long run and not done any running for a week.  I was looking for some advice on whether I should forget this race and do another or accept a slower time.  I was looking at 3:10 but I guess just getting round is OK for a 1st marathon?


  • I don't actually know what a 'grade 2' muscle tear means. Bear that in mind!

    October 29th is still a reasonable amount of time away, and you might recover enough to consider running the marathon by then. Question is, if your calf starts to niggle again during the event, are you sensible enough to stop and not run on to the finish and do even more damage? If so, work at your recovery and see how things go. You might also want to try self massage and a foam roller to help break down scar tissue. If not, forget the marathon until you're back to 100% fitness again.

  • You've got 5 ish weeks until the marathon. You've not done a long run for 3 weeks (precisely the time the long runs should be done). You need to build back up to running the long runs and taper all within 5 weeks.............

    How much running have you under your belt? What was your longest run, and how many times did you do it?

    Would you really be happy with 'just getting round'? With a target of 3:10 you clearly are very good at running, so would you really feel happy with not getting near that target?

    It's a really personal decision about pulling out or not.

    I was injured during my 1st marathon training and had more weeks out than you, I got back into running about 8 weeks before the marathon and built up to 17 miles as my longest run.i was woefully undertrained. I had hoped (pre injury) for 4:30, it took me 5:48. Was I glad I did it? Yes. Was I satisfied with my result? No. Should I have done it? No. Did I enjoy it? Yes/no/can't actually remember part of it.

    Having had the experience of doing a marathon undertrained, I would never ever do it again like that. I didn't feel what I thought I would feel after, the sense of achievement wasn't there and I still feel like a 'fraud' because most of it was spent crawling forward rather than sprinting with the ease I spent months visualising!

    Good luck with whatever decision you make.

    It IS only a race, even though we all think it is life or death.
  • Thank you both for good, honest replies. 

    I went to see the physio again today and he is happy with my progress, I should be doing some running by the end of this month.  My contingency plan is Luton marathon which is 3 weeks later on 18/11.  He thinks this is a more sensible option and I think I will be happier getting more miles clocked up too.

    I have done 16.5 miles twice before by the way, these were on 18/8 and 25/8. 

    Not sure how I should taper though, feel I have done enough of that! image

  • Karl.

    I can sympathise with you entirely.

    I had a similar injury (following a ski-ing accident) some 5 years ago. My advice would be to take your recovery very steadily indeed and potentially forget about a marathon for the forseeable future (sorry!).

    Following my injury I 'appeared' to heal fairly quickly after being threatened with surgery!. I did all the right things - physio etc and followed Doctors orders to the letter. After @ 9 - 10 weeks I was able to get back into my running, albeit shorter distances initially (

  • I had a similar injury in the build up to running Berlin last year. I tore my calf muscle in late June, and was running Berlin in late September. I lost all of July, with only a few very short and slow runs towards the end of that month. I was getting physio all through that month and doing strengthing exercises.

    That gave me eight weeks to get in shape and despite the training going ok I had a really hard time in the marathon. I was fit enough to train (managed to get two 20 mile LSR training runs in during that time), but could still feel some niggles from the calf when running. In Berlin I had a nightmare over the second half of the marathon. I had to stop a few times to stretch the calf out and really suffered physically and mentally in the second half of the marathon. I was targeting a sub 4, but came in at 4:28.

    For me it was really late January this year before I was running freely again without any concern about my calf. If you do decide to run your marathon I'd recommend forgetting all about time and just try and coast through it. I payed the price for thinking I could push through it early on in the race and trust me you don't want to experience 13 miles like I did in the second half of that run.

  • Karl, if you decide to give Dublin a miss this time, I am looking for an entry. I know trading race numbers is frowned upon. But would be better than having it going to waste. Let me know.  Cheers  John Kenny.

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