runfreeforever

Live. Love. Run. It's what I do.

Shin Splints Suck

It’s the second week of track practice and it seems like EVERYBODY is complaining of shin splints and other ailments. I’ve had my fair share of shin splints and sore feet, arches, Achilles, knees, IT bands, and all that icky stuff. But now the question is, what do you do about it??? Do you just keep running with the pain? Do you sit out for a while? Is there a way to get rid of them or prevent them?

Now I don’t want to take the place of your doctor, physical therapist, or anyone else like that. I don’t claim any medical expertise, but I have gone through it many times, and I’ve done my research and gotten lots of helpful hints from coaches and other runners.

My very first rule of thumb is to make sure you have the right shoes! I cannot stress enough how incredibly important your shoes are!! I’ve talked about the importance of good running shoes in previous posts, and I am a firm believer in the fact that the quality of your shoes will affect you entire body. When you’re running in old, worn out shoes or shoes with the wrong amount of support for your foot type and your style of running, whether it be too much or too little, it can cause all sorts of problems. I don’t want to get into all the things your shoes do for you, but I promise that a quality pair of running shoes that fit the needs of your feet will help you sooooo much! It will help if you frequently suffer from blisters and shin splints, to even knee and back problems! Even though it can get expensive, it’s totally worth it!! I promise!!

If you’re still having problems after you know you have the right shoes, increasing your mileage or intensity too quickly could be another cause. A 10% increase in mileage every week is the recommended amount, but it really just depends on your body. Some people could be easily capable of increasing their mileage faster than that, but 10% could be too much of  an increase for others. If you’re increasing your mileage quickly or adding in more speed work and your body is screaming “NOO!!” sometimes you gotta listen and give yourself a break or risk hurting yourself. I hate listening to my body when it’s telling me “NO!” because it makes be feel so weak. I’ve been running for the past five years and I can tell from the way my body responds when I’m increasing my mileage too quickly and when I should stop. I know that it’s better to take one day easy so I can keep myself from getting hurt rather than being out for a week, but all too often I risk it and keep pushing when I should’ve backed off! Do as I say, not as I do; I don’t want you to get yourself hurt like me!!

As you’re backing off the mileage and intensity, icing your shins can help relieve some pain and help with swelling. Also taking ibuprofen, naproxen, or aspirin will help since they are both pain killers and anti-inflammatory. Compression socks/sleeves can also promote blood flow and speed healing. I like to sleep in my compression socks, a girl on my team runs in hers and wears them all the time, it’s personal preference!

Stretching your calves can help, too. Here’s some stretches to try from tapingshinsplints.com. It’s a blog full of info about shin splints and ways to treat and prevent them!

Another stretch that I like is when you kneel and sit back on your feet like in this picture:

Advanced Shin Stretch
http://www.teachpe.com/stretching/advanced_shin.php

Lastly, regularly doing exercises to strengthen your calves can help prevent shin splints. My coach has us walk only on our toes, only on our heels, with our feet pointed out, and with them pointed inwards for a few minutes after we run sometimes, to help strengthen those lower legs. Several repetitions of heel raises will help calf strength too, either by standing on flat ground or with your toes and forefoot on the edge of a stair, then lifting your heel up to stand on your tip-toes before returning back down.

I hope these tips help!

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The importance of good running shoes

I think a lot of non-runners have the misconception that running is unlike other sports because they think there are no rules and you have no equipment. They think it’s inexpensive because you don’t have to spend the money on the cleats, rackets, balls, nets, etc. A lot of people overlook one of the most important parts of running – your shoes!

YOU NEED GOOD RUNNING SHOES!!!!!

Having proper running shoes is so important! I cannot stress to you enough how incredibly crucial your shoes are to the benefit of your whole entire body. I’m not kidding. I recommend going to a specialty running store where the workers will watch the way you walk or run and help you find the best fit for your feet and your running style. Everyone is different and has different shoe needs. There are shoes that will correct overpronation (when your feet roll inward), and supination (when your feet roll outward). There are minimalist shoes and performance shoes and stability shoes, and the list of possibilities are endless. There’s a perfect pair of shoes out just waiting for you to discover them and make them your new best friend! But not only do you need one really good pair of running shoes, but you need to make sure that you replace them often enough. According to therunnersguide.com, how often your shoes need to be replaced is based mostly on your mileage (about 300 to 500 miles), but also other contributing factors, such as your weight and your running style. To track how many miles you’ve run in your shoes, they suggest keeping a running log, which I will probably write a post on later.

For me, I can usually feel when I need a new pair of running shoes, and I am much more prone to injury, aches, and pains. I get shinsplints, I get ankle problems, knee problems, back problems, you name it. I am in desperate need of a new pair of running shoes right now! The pair I have now are Mizuno Wave Inspire 8 (see below), and I’ve had them since July. They have moderate stability, perfect for my overpronation. The shoe’s arch fits mine perfectly, and they’re considerably lighter than my previous pair of Saucony Progrid Guide 4 shoes, which were about 10.1 oz! My current shoes are only 8.9 oz, over an ounce less than the pair before. I know an ounce doesn’t sound like a lot, but I can feel the difference and I like it. But it’s high time for me to get a new pair of shoes! I ran almost 200 miles in July alone, then my entire cross country season, and all of my winter training so far. I’m sure I have at least 600 miles on those shoes, if not more! And I can tell too; my knees have been killing me like no other! I could hardly walk in to school yesterday because they hurt so badly! I’m afraid I’m just gonna start limping down the hallways of my high school pretty soon and I’ll need a wheelchair or a walker or something, like an old lady with arthritis! It’s pretty bad! But thankfully, I know that this is my fault and it’s easily fixable with some ice and a new pair of shoes! It gets annoying to buy new running shoes (and also pricey, as they often are in the hundred-dollar-range) twice or more per year, but its worth it and will save you so much pain while you run! I went to my local running shoe store yesterday, Running Wild, to get some new shoes for my painful legs. I’m just going to get another pair of the same kind of shoes, but I’m going to have to wait a week until they get my size in. They also updated my shoes, but I don’t think that much has changed other than their color, which is now gray and my favorite shade of blue. It’s never ever ever a good idea to pick running shoes just by their color or how they look! But if you can get some shoes that fit your feet, your arch, and your running perfectly and you can get them in your favorite color, its a bonus!

Mizuno Women's Wave Inspire 8 Running Shoe - Dick's Sporting Goods<—-my current shoes, until I get my new ones!

<—-the new and improved Mizuno Wave Inspire 9 shoes that I should be getting next week! 🙂

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