Marathon Lv. 1 Injury Question

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    Hi all- I’m a half-distance triathlete currently in the middle of Week 9 of this plan. I have not been cross-training other sports during the plan, deciding to focus just on running for the winter. I likely sustained a calf strain at the end of last week during an interval run and then aggravated it during my long run.

    I’ve taken an extra rest day and done two foundation runs this week, with noticeable intermittent pain in my right calf, so I’m pretty sure I need to rest it for at least a few days to a week for recovery. I’ve had a couple of calf strains in the past but nothing recent.

    My questions are first, what can I do in the meantime to mitigate fitness loss? Would it be ok to do some endurance rides (no interval or hard training obv)?

    Second, how should I adjust my marathon plan weeks when my calf is recovered enough to resume training?

    Btw big thank you to the 80/20 team I’ve been loving the marathon plan. I came later in life to running as its own thing and def never thought I’d enjoy it this much.


    Hi Josh,

    here’s a good read for x-training from the 80/20 site:
    “There are two basic approaches to replacing runs with cross-training: the programmatic approach and the as-needed approach. In the programmatic approach, you replace certain runs with cross-training sessions routinely. For example, you might replace your first Foundation Run of each week with an elliptical workout. In the as-needed approach, you replace runs with cross-training only when soreness or fatigue from prior running makes running again seem inadvisable. Note that these two approaches are not mutually exclusive, and indeed you should cross-train instead of running anytime it seems risky to run, regardless of whether you also practice the programmatic approach. Finding the right balance for you may require some trial and error (See the section The Importance of Listening to Your Body below).”

    You find much more under resources.

    As for returning to training: I would say that you can jump back in if is only a week or so. Maybe you want to avoid the high intensity stuff at the beginning and do those on the bike instead. I would try very slowly to increase intensity to avoid a setback.
    If it is more than 2 weeks I would probably re-do 1 or 2 weeks of the plan.

    That’s just my 2 cents.


    David Warden

    Winoria is right on. I’d only add that the elliptical does an amazing job of simulating running and maintaining/improving run fitness. Most injuries can manage elliptical training long before running. If you can stomach the challenge of a 2-hour run on the elliptical for 1-2 weeks, you’ll re-enter your run plan in fine shape.

    Strength training is essential as well. Even if you maintain the volume of the plan on bike/elliptical, you are losing load-bearing strength. Check out our free strength plans at



    Wanted to say a belated thank you to both of you, Winoria & David. I ended up getting sick (not COVID probably) right after and ended up taking almost three weeks off. On the plus side, my calf feels a lot better!

    Doing some easy foundation runs this week to ease back in. Going to roll back and redo my last 3-week cycle starting Monday. Again thanks to both of you for the help!

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