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Four Tips to avoid calf tears this race season


Race with confidence and avoid calf tears this race season. 

The most common reason muscle tears occur is due to mistimed muscle contraction during speed work or in races.  This usually follows a bout of racing or harder running and while the muscle is more fatigued.  What you end up with is muscle spasm combined with over-stretching of the muscle fibres and ultimately a tear. This is incredibly frustrating and certainly not what you want now.  

Our goal is to keep you UNINJURED and ready to race!

So here are our FOUR top tips to avoid getting a calf or hamstring tear these racing weeks.  

#1  Replace your shoes 

Shoes wear out and they may not even show a mark.  You’ve had nearly six months of training, run hundreds and hundreds of kilometres and you’ve dedicated hours to training for your goal race.  Don’t let an old shoe be the cause of a calf tear that will stop you from racing in your goal event.  Old or aged shoes is one of the most overlooked contributing causes of muscle tears. It’s an easy fix with a new shoe.  Plus, shoes are made so well now that you don’t have to break them in as you did in the past.  

#2  Focus on your running form

Gerard Ryan

Racing is fun but you will fatigue faster especially when you are running close to your maximum effort.  As you become more tired, your running form falters often leading to increased hip flexion, trunk rotation, and overstriding.  It’s good to understand and sense the cues you feel when this happens, but even more important to know what to do to correct this.  Our podiatry and physiotherapy team of runners can take you through this process on our 25 m running track.  

#3  Focus on cadence, not stride length

Overstriding is a very common form of fault.  It occurs when your foot lands too far in front of your body.  Runners do this when trying to lengthen their stride when changing pace or when pushing to run faster while tired at the end of a race.  Overstriding is the one form of strategy you have to always be conscious of not doing.  The best way to NOT overstride is to focus on your leg cadence and your propulsion… when you toe-off and to keep your hips high.   Your leg cadence keeps your momentum and rhythm while the propulsion helps with power.  These are two form strategies we teach our runners and we use in our clinic to help overcome injury, and to minimise the risk of calf and hamstring tears. 

#4. Stop immediately if you feel a tweak

Don’t run any further and walk casually (& calmly!) back to your coach and your car.  The sooner you stop, the less chance of making the spasm or tear worse and the sooner you can return to running.  

Let your coach know what has happened, then head on home to ice and rest it.  If this does not resolve quickly, then come and see our podiatry and physiotherapy team at intraining.  We specialise in running injuries – treating, diagnosing and creating management plans to return you to running sooner.


Your intraining Podiatry and Physiotherapy team.

Steve, Doug and Margot

Don’t let niggles turn into injuries. Come see us early so we can help keep you on track to run your races this year.  

Plus, we have a 25m indoor track that gives you and us a good opportunity to assess your running gait and give your running form tips.  

Book HERE or call 07 3367 3088