I started running just over 12 months since using the the couch to 5k plan. In the beginning I really struggled with shin splints and my legs were sore after each run. After a while I managed to work my way up to running 2mile 3-5 times a week with ease. Due to personal circumstances I couldn't run as often as I liked and had a few months where I only ran "now and then" I have recently started running on a regular basis again (3-4 times a week) but I'm finding it difficult to run even one mile without stopping due to having tight pains down the side of my lower legs. I've had different advise on warming up and stretching before you start and others say not to stretch cold muscles. Could any one give advise on this as I really want to be able to get back to where I was before. Thanks in advance :-)
Hi Nockers- the good news is that starting the second (or third or fourth) time is always easier than the first time. With regard to warming up (and I'm not a dr, just an injury prone 40 year old) I always take a walk, starting casually and then up to a brisk pace for about a mile before I start running. If at that time I feel like a part of my body needs a bit of help then I do a little bit of stretching then, but most of the time the warm up is enough for me to go. They key for me has been to spend 15 minutes or so stretching after every run. If you want to try stretching before your run look up "dynamic stretching" for some good options that will warm up your muscles. Here is one video from Runners world - http://www.runnersworld.com/stretching/dynamic-routine
I would also recommend you look at foam rolling your calves as good option too.
Good luck and happy running!
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I agree with Stephanie, but I'd add a few things. Also, did you switch shoes? Sometimes if you switch to new shoes, and they're not as suited to you, or you haven't adjusted to them, they can cause pain. And if you're doing any cross training, boot camps, personal training, that might be the culprit. Other than that, here are my suggestions:
1. You need to strengthen your muscles. Stretching and strengthening go hand in hand. I'm not a doctor or healthcare professional, either, but if it is a form of shin splints, you do need to stretch and strengthen. The easiest, and one you can do anywhere, is toe-tappers. Whether sitting or standing, tap your toes until the muscles start to burn. You'll be surprised how fast that will happen. Just do a search for "exercises prevent shin splints."
2. I advise taking a week or so off from running to give them time to recover and to let the stretching and strengthening take place.
3. Any time I hear a runner use the word 'tight,' I wonder if they've had a good deep tissue massage. Sometimes loosening up the right muscles will fix the issue. It might not be shin splints at all, but make sure you go to a massage therapist recommended by other runners. If you don't know who to go to, check with your local running specialty store. They should be able to recommend someone.
4. Get a massage stick and use it twice a day on the back of your calves. Work through any knots with your hands.
4. Wear compression sleeves on your calves. That seems to help with shin splints, if that is the issue.
A huge percentage of new runners - or people returning to running after time off - get shin splints. Your legs simply may not yet be ready for the work you're asking them to do.
When you return to running, go back to just two runs per week for a couple of weeks and work up gradually. Good luck, and don't get discouraged. Just give it time.
Hope that helps.
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I would suggest going to a local shoe store that specializes in running shoes and get yourself properly fitted.
Eating a banana a day can help because low potassium can cause shin splints.
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