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I'm a 5'7" female, 230 lbs, have not exercised in a long time. I just started the Coach Potato program today and I'm excited to be on the road. Here's my question...
I noticed that the muscles on either side of my shin bone are very tight, on both legs. This makes even just walking kind of uncomfortable, and I'm worried that running will be even more uncomfortable. I know that it's not shin splints - I had those 20+ years ago and this is a different sensation...not pain but tightness. Will this sensation go away as I progress through the program? How do you stretch the muscles at the front of the calf?
I have this same issue. What you are probably experiencing is calf muscle tightness pulling on your tendons near your shins. You can either get massages on your calves to loosen them up or you can buy a foam roller (you can find them for $8-$12 in outlets, more at other places). I use a foam roller for myofascial release before and sometimes after a run, and it has eliminated this pulling altogether. Stretching by putting your foot against something propped up against a wall diagonally and leaning in towards the wall can help too, as it stretches your calves and tendons. Women have a lot of trouble with calf tightness due to the shoes that we wear. I never wear high heels personally, but even normal shoes have some lift to them, and walking like that will cause your muscles to do weird things.
Another good thing to do is if you have a gym membership, so up to a trainer and just ask them about it, they usually have no problem giving some free advice, and they can quickly show you some things that might help.
Tight shins for me usually signals overuse. Does it feel better after a day off> If not, try taking 2 back-to-back days off and stretch a lot. See if that helps. Also, be careful, running with tight muscles can lead to injury. Good luck!!
"you can buy a foam roller (you can find them for $8-$12 in outlets, more at other places" Does this kind of roller have a brand name or could you describe it? I went to my local Dunham's Sporting Goods and they didn't know what I meant. "I use a foam roller for myofascial release before and sometimes after a run, and it has eliminated this pulling altogether"
Is there a particular technique to this or do you just roll it over the muscle? Thanks so much for the help!
I use the 6" around by 12"-18" long rollers because you do one leg at a time. Sit down with your ankle on the roller, leg straight out in front of you. cross your other leg onto your ankle that it on the roller. Lift your rear end up, where presure is put on your leg by the foam roller/gravity. Roll along the calf using the weight of your body, stopping on places where it's tight, and relaxing into the pressure. Roll your leg kinda side to side to see if anything that way is tight on the sides of your calf. Repeat with other leg.
I was having a great deal of tightness as well, so I read up on stretching exercises. One that works well for the shins is the oppostie of the stretch you would do for your calves. The calf stretch is where you hang your heels over the edge of a curb. The shin stretch is where you hang your toes over the edge instead and then pull your toes up, with your heel remaining on the ground. I now do this before and after my runs and, while my shins aren't perfectly comfortable, they are much better than they were before I started doing this stretch.
I experienced the same thing when I started C25K (I'm now in Week 7). During every walk break I would stretch my calves by handing my heels out over the side of the treadmill, then kind of hook my toes under the bottom of the TM and pull my leg up to stretch out the muslces along my shins, then I'd do a few ankle circles. That seemed to get me through the sessions. If I was sore afterwards I'd ice. After a few weeks the pain went away and now I rarely get muscle tightness there. Good luck!
I think I had what you're talking about, except I only got it on the lateral (outside) sides of my shins (whereas shinsplints tend to be medial side).
That same pain is what kept me from running the past several years. I probably tried 7-8 times to "start running" although not quite C2K style. In my case what would happen is the outside of my shin would get quite literally "rock hard". I thought I had compartment syndrome but the test was inconclusive (higher pressure than "normal" but lower than a clear cut indicator). what would happen is I'd go out and jog a few minutes and my leg would quickly get like that, and I'd havno strength left to dorsiflex - basically I would have "foot drop" - heel would touch and my foot would flop dead on the road. Couldn't run any further and couldn't even walk until I would wait a few minutes for the worst of it to subside. 10 minutes after I'd get home and sit down, I'd feel fine.
Not sure what the difference was this year, but for whatever reason it didn't come back when I tried running this spring...although for the first 3 weeks my leg would build up like that until I was just about to give up...but then I'd manage to push through and hit the ol' second wind and then it would fade while I was still running. After that 3-4 weeks I get only the most minor shin soreness when in the warmup mile. Never have the pain/stiffness when I'm done anymore - and unless something forces me to quit early, I go 4-5 mi every time I step out the door now.
Since the last time I'd tried running (last spring) I'd done some more stationary biking...done some weightlifting...and tried the sport of skeleton (which I would describe as the most fun I've ever had getting my *** kicked) and whatever has happened, something "shook loose" on me and now I can run.