I climbed on the treadmill last night and, after a five-minute walking warm-up, jogged a mile at a 4 mph pace. This would’ve been excruciatingly boring had it not been for the intriguing pain gripping both of my calves. Actually, it wasn’t so much a specific pain as it was an annoying cramp. It felt like the muscles back there all decided to hang out together in a little clump of blood and tissue.
This happens to me all the time when I jog (as I believe I have mentioned more than once on these pages) and contributes mightily to my distaste for this particular activity. It’s not like I didn’t warm up or stretch those muscles out or make sure I was properly hydrated — all reasons why the calf clump typically occurs, according to the experts.
Well, there is one other cause: A sudden increase in mileage. And I suppose you could say that my getting on the treadmill at all would constitute a sudden increase in mileage.
What is interesting is that this calf cramp stuff doesn’t usually happen when I’m running faster than a jog. Some experts say that too much pronation (foot roll-over) can cause calf cramps, and maybe I don’t pronate so much when I lengthen my stride. Who knows? I’m not looking down at my pronating feet while I run, because I have a hard enough time just staying vertical on the treadmill. (A couple of times last night, I found myself drifting off to the right and nearly ran right off the thing.)
So, I could start running at a brisker clip to prevent the calf cramp, but that would mean I’d have to run at a brisker clip. . . . This, of course, is a dilemma — or a paradox — because I’d love to keep my calves happier, but I’m not keen on running much faster than a jog — at least not on the evil treadmill.
I suppose I could try going for a run on the soccer field near home and see how well I pronate in that scenario. Any other ideas would be welcomed, obviously.