I started running about 2 months ago. I started fine, then 2 weeks in I started getting BAD shin splints. I ended up getting new shoes that took care of the shin splints BUT I started having awful throbbing pain in my achilles tendon. I went and exchanged my new shoes and ran for the second time in them last night and now have pain in my feet. The arch and really just all over. It started at half a mile and just got worse and worse. I'm beginning to think I'm just not made to be a runner What can I do?
Starting out running takes time to get everything accustomed to the demands. There's a few things that you can do which will help with these specific issues. The primary thing to remember is that a slow and steady approach will build you up over time and this isn't going to happen overnight.
- shin splints are frequently a result of those muscles not being up to the task. There are some good exercises you can do which will strengthen those muscles, my favorite is bike riding. I rode bikes a lot before taking up running and I've never had splints.
- flexibility is crucial for preventing injuries. If you're already experiencing tendonitis in your arches and achilles then back off on the miles and just do some short intervals like 30/30 seconds walking/jogging for 5 minutes to get everything warmed up then do some serious stretching. The tendons in the leg get smaller as they go down so tight hamstrings will dominate and pull on the smaller ones down the line in a domino effect. The end result is tendonitis, usually in the arches (planar facitis) or the achilles. This is the same info I got from my physical therapist after not being flexible enough for my own running ambitions so take it to the bank.
- ambition usually outweighs ability, or at it does in my case. Be patient and give lots of time to build into this. Good shoes will definitely help but in the end if you start running longer and longer distances it will come back to if you're conditioned to handle the strain. Keep it short to start with, under a mile if that's what it takes, and everything will build up to where you can do whatever you want in time.
Hopefully this is what you're after for advice. Check around for articles on flexibility for running, there's a lot of info available.
I can echo what NzAbdy noted. I have experienced similiar situations as yours and for me it boiled down to 2 things: 1) making sure that I was adequately "warmed up" before I started my run, and 2) starting out slow and easy.
By "warmed up" I mean doing some stretching and waking up the various muscles, tendons, and ligaments - kind of like letting them know that I'm about to use them a little harder than I was before.
And by slow, I do mean slow: starting at a slow jog, walking a bit, then jogging, and so on until I felt good enough to sustain a run for a bit.
Good luck and don't give up. It is so worth the effort!
You've gotten good advice so far. I would add that maybe a visit to a podiatrist would help. If you can find a podiatrist who either is a runner or commonly treats runners even better. A podiatrist will watch you walk and run and evaluate the mechanics of your feet and legs. You may be helped by orthotics that correct those mechanics. Some running shoe stores offer a similar service, but IMO it's difficult to know if the salesperson is really capable of correctly evaluating your form.
Also, your running shoes may need additional orthotic support. I suffered with shin splints and pain in the achilles area, arches, etc also. My foot dr told me I have tarsal tunnel from over-pronating. Just a little extra support under the inside of my foot helped a lot! Now I also have a metataral pad just behind the ball of my foot to aleviate pain there. Right after a run and stretching it helps to ice right away too.
You may want to wear the shoes a couple of hours per day adding about 2 hours every other day to allow your feet to get used to them before attempting a more impactful activity like running. This is also true if you use a shoe insert for shin splints. Once you start to run as you have already been told warm-up well first. I would also consider using a foam roller on the calves, shins, even upper thighs. Ice post exercise as a preventative. Don't add more than 10% of distance per week.