Thursday, February 26, 2009

Q & A (shin splints)


Anywho, I'm having some issues. So I'm getting back into running. I've been back at it for about 4 weeks now. I've surprised myself with how easy it's been but I think I got a little tooooooo ambitious and added mileage/speed too quickly. The infamous "too much, too soon." So now I've got a shin that's hurting a bit. I think I've had "shin splints" once in my life a long time ago. This doesn't feel like my leg is about to crack, rather it feels like a dull throb after a run. During the run I feel great; no pain whatsoever. AFTER the run I start to feel a little achey. Saturday I did a pretty intense four-miler and I was really pushing myself. I felt pretty decent by the end but when I got home I realized my right leg was starting to really hurt! I try to take it easy on my off days (I run M, W, cross-train F and run again Sat). I'm trying to run a 10K in April that I'd like to do in an hour and I'm currently pushing it at sub-11 minute miles. SO, my question: Should I take a week or two off and just cross-train? What should I do? Can I stair master and ellyptical? I've been doing the bike (not recumbent) on Fridays after the stair-master. Additionally, if I do take time off will I have to lower my mileage and build up again when I come back?
Injuries are so dumb. BUT I also don't want to sideline myself by not paying enough attention to this.


Hey there! Aack! I hope it hasn't taken me all week to get back to you! I was just washing my counters when I thought, "these counters are going to be here forever and dirty again in about 2 mins and ANNA has shin splints!" Sounds like you have it about right with the too much too soon theory and the dull ache being shin splints. It is a tricky injury because everyone's body responds differently and some can run through it and others not. Here are some healing/preventing tips you can use while you wait to see what your body will do:

ICE! get a bag of frozen peas and carrots or a little dixie cup with frozen water and ice those puppies! Right after you run and throughout the day whenever possible.

Take Ibuprofen: take after running to reduce swelling and allow the white blood cells to get in there and repair damage...NOT to mask the pain, so don't take it before running.

Speed walk: get those hips a-swingin' and walk as fast as you can. This strengthens the muscles around your bottom'll feel the burn plus get a great workout...I think it's more difficult than running!

Duck walk: walk with toes up, walk with toes pointed in and up, walk with toes pointed out and up...again strengthening the area

Stretch: Shin are often pulled loose because the calf muscle is too tight (causing shin splints). Do some downward doggie and toe flexors (sit on the ground point your toes then flex your feet and Hold)

See how it goes: If the pain gets worse, you might take some time off from running completely. See how the above tips work for you and if your legs feel better.

Follow the golden rule of running: only increase your milage by 10% per week. I know it's slow going, but better safe than sorry when it comes to injury! If you take some time off you don't really have to start at zero again. Just start with 2-3 miles on you running days the first week and move up slowly the following.

Hope you get to feeling better and running happily again soon!

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