Ruth Astle admits she faces a race against time to be ready for Challenge Roth at the end of this month as she battles a calf injury.
It’s been a frustrating start to the season for the Briton, who rounded off 2022 in perfect style by winning IRONMAN Israel.
That day saw her dip under three hours in the marathon for the first time in a race but her running training has been severely hampered recently by the calf problem.
She clocked the fastest bike split and was closest at that point to leader and eventual winner Marjolaine Pierre last time out at the World Triathlon Long Distance Championships in Ibiza.
But she pulled out of the race soon after, explaining “Gave the run a little go, calf not playing ball.”
Pinpointing the problem
And in her latest YouTube update, embedded below, she explains what has happened since then: “So when I got back from Ibiza, I went and got an MRI scan on my calf just because I wanted to know exactly what was going on.
“That came back with it basically being like a muscle edema in my soleus with a bit of central tendon involvement, which basically explains why it was kind of getting a bit better and then getting bad again.
“Basically with tendon involvement, you have to be pretty careful because if you irritate it too much, you can kind of rip the whole muscle off the tendon and do some pretty serious damage.
“It’s not worst-case scenario, but it’s kind of definitely not best case of it just being like a little tear.”
In the video she also gives more detail on potential contributing factors and already it sounds like progress has been made, which has seen her adapt her strength and conditioning work at the gym to hopefully prevent future issues.
Patience the key
Looking forward she will adopt a patient approach and a late-season campaign currently sounds more realistic than something like Roth: “So definitely a bit of a longer road to recovery in terms of really letting the tendon settle down, really trying to look at everything else around it, strengthening other bits up.
“I’m going to spend probably the next month trying to do maybe three sessions a week of mainly some of this rehab stuff, along with the more normal stuff, because, again, I don’t want to let the glutes and the upper body stuff go out the window.
“I think generally I’m having to be quite cautious at this point because the risk of overdoing it a bit early and then actually just writing myself off for the rest of the season is quite high.
This first phase is all about settling it down and then getting to a point where I can reintroduce a bit of running.
“Hopefully I’ll be at a point where actually it all progresses well and I can be on that Roth start line. But we’ll see because four and a half weeks doesn’t seem like that long.
“There’s lots of things to kind of weigh up [and it’s] not the end of the world. It gives me more time to focus on swimming, biking, rehab stuff, which hopefully then gives me a really solid base for end-of-the-year races.”
Astle has also been able to take in some different events to maintain her fitness levels, most recently the Gralloch Gravel off-road bike race in Scotland.