Skip navigation
Community: Exchange advice in the forums and read running commentary Resources: Personal running log, calculators, links and other tools for runners News: Running news from around the world Training: Articles and advice about fitness, race training and injury prevention Races/Results: Find upcoming races and past results Home: The Cool Running homepage
Cool Running homepage  Search Cool Running Community

2037 Views 9 Replies Latest reply: Sep 16, 2014 10:01 AM by modernhamlet RSS
Tonboko Rookie 3 posts since
Jul 23, 2014
Currently Being Moderated

Jul 23, 2014 6:57 PM

Shin Splits, or normal new muscle pain?

I just comepleted day two of week four. My shins have been hurting a bit on and off for the last week or so. It feels sometimes like someone has kicked me, other times kinda like rug burn.


I really do not want to have to stop running! Three weeks ago, I struggled to make 60 seconds at a time, now I am able to do the five minutes without too much of an issue. I find I am not dreading the coming weeks, but looking forward to the challage. I am fearful that if I take time off, I will never get back on course.


How can one tell if this is just normal adjustment aches, or shin splints?



I am very much a 160lb marshmallow... so it might just be my body building muscle, or my shins not keeping up with my calves... which are hulking out a bit.. I think I have gained a good quarter of an inch on them.


I just do not know what to do!

  • shipo Legend 455 posts since
    Aug 9, 2013
    Currently Being Moderated
    1. Jul 23, 2014 7:50 PM (in response to Tonboko)
    Shin Splits, or normal new muscle pain?

    Well, "normal" is a relative term.  Yes, it is "normal" for new runners who engage in TFFFS (Too Fast, too Fast, too Frequently, too Soon) to get shin splints, however, shin splints are a bad thing and should never be considered "normal".


    Of the folks I've coached who've had them and then gotten past them, it is pretty much a 50-50 split between those who've had to quit running for a time and those who've been able to slow down until they heal.


    The advice I offered in this post is something which might help you:

  • shipo Legend 455 posts since
    Aug 9, 2013
    Currently Being Moderated
    3. Jul 26, 2014 9:19 PM (in response to Tonboko)
    Shin Splits, or normal new muscle pain?

    Stopping running for between two and six weeks, depending on how bad the shin splints are, always works.  As for what helps stretgthen the muscles in the shin area; the *only* exercise I've ever seen work is running, and by that I mean, running very-very slowly until the shin splints are healed, and then *gradually* increasing the distance of the workouts.

  • lenzlaw Community Moderator 10,387 posts since
    Jan 18, 2008
    Currently Being Moderated
    4. Jul 27, 2014 6:58 AM (in response to Tonboko)
    Re: Shin Splits, or normal new muscle pain?

    Waiting an extra day won't get rid of shin splints, unfortunately.  You may get to the point that you have to stop completely for a couple weeks but it doesn't sound like you're there yet.  Here is an article with exercises.

    Also, stretch and strengthen your calf muscles (toe raises for instance).  Front and back have to work together.


  • ToddNelson22 Rookie 2 posts since
    Oct 19, 2013
    Currently Being Moderated
    5. Jul 30, 2014 8:09 AM (in response to Tonboko)
    Re: Shin Splits, or normal new muscle pain?

    I'm 55, and just started running about 18 months ago; I still am not all that fast, but I completed my first half marathon last December, and I can go double-digit miles on trails for my long weekend runs.

    I, too, suffered over what may have been shin splints, or just may have been out-of-shape muscles.

    I would share these observations with you:

    1. No on can tell you the difference in just an e-mail; seeing a qualified trainer or sports therapist or sports doctor who can evaluate your "gait" will provide a more reasonable diagnosis.

    2. My shin splints have mostly gone away....I think the biggest change I made was in my "gait" and "stride" and focusing a lot more, while running, on a mid-foot to fore-foot strike, with a gentle leaning  of my body forward. Striking the ground heel first jolts the shins a LOT .

    3. There are exercises you can do to strengthen the shins. The best I have found was a simple one, where you sit on a chair or bench, thighs parallel to floor and just lift your toes up and down up and down up and down, etc. (keeping heels on ground) until you feel the burn. Repeat a few times. Also, gym work to strengthen the muscles in your legs will make a huge difference.

    4. Interestingly enough, I found that often (not always, but often) I run slower and with more discomfort the first three miles of any given run. Sometime after mile 3, the discomfort disappears and I feel like I can go on for miles, pain-free. Apparently, this is not uncommon.

    5. I strongly urge you to run on trails or dirt roads, paths, or graded gravel/dirt roads. Running on sidewalks (even roadways) is much harder on the shins than the "comparative softness" of trails and dirt roads. 95% of my running is now on dirt roads or trails.

    6. There is more, I have learned, to running than just running. There is getting and staying in shape to run, and learning "how" to run most effectively.

    Good luck!

  • Julie Ann Hackett Legend 228 posts since
    Nov 20, 2007
    Currently Being Moderated
    6. Jul 30, 2014 10:19 AM (in response to Tonboko)
    Re: Shin Splits, or normal new muscle pain?

    I struggled with shin splints when I started running.  I think it was from training at too high of an intensity.  I saw a podiatrist and got orthotics and neoprine braces that helped.  Eventually after some research I found some great exercises that have strengthened my muscles and I haven't had shin splints in years, even after taking a break from running.  There are lots of exercises on the internet.  I've done the one where you pick up golf balls with your feet.  I also really like the one where you sit on a bench or chair with ankle weights around your feet and you do toe raises with your feet in a neutral position, with your toes pointed in, and with your toes pointed out.  I usually do about 30 reps for each position.  That one seems to really do the trick for me, I do it twice a week and haven't had problems in years.

  • JulieLowe0 Rookie 1 posts since
    Oct 4, 2011
    Currently Being Moderated
    7. Jul 30, 2014 4:43 PM (in response to Tonboko)
    Shin Splits, or normal new muscle pain?

    When my shin splints flare up it often manifests as knee pain.  The three things that work best, other than rest, is foam rolling my shins, using a TP therapy ball (or a golf, tennis or raquet ball) on my feet, and standing on one leg and writing  the alphabet with my foot lifted before and after a run.


    Good luck.

  • modernhamlet Rookie 6 posts since
    Dec 14, 2008
    Currently Being Moderated
    9. Sep 16, 2014 10:01 AM (in response to Tonboko)
    Shin Splits, or normal new muscle pain?

    I'm a new runner as well. As soon as I started training frequently (3-4 days/week), I started getting shin splints.


    I know the general consensus is to take a long break. But I did NOT stop running. I very well may not have started back up again! While I'm not 100% pain free every day/workout, over the last month or so, I feel I've gotten out ahead of the shin pain through a combination of the following:

    1. Slow down and run less far, especially if you have any soreness.

    2. Write the alphabet with each foot every day. Weird, but totally helpful.

    3. Ibubrofen. Fights the swelling that causes shin splints.

    4. Ice packs on the shins after runs and in the evenings while lying on the couch. Same theory, fights swelling.

    5. Improve your running form. If you're heel striking, fix it. If you're landing way out in front of your body instead of below it, fix it. Run efficiently and the beating on your legs will decrease dramatically.


    6. While I haven't done it, due to a lack of local trails, I suspect switching to a softer surface may be as helpful as any of the above things I did as well...


    Good luck, take it easy, and eventually you'll get past them!

More Like This

  • Retrieving data ...


  • Correct Answers - 10 points
  • Helpful Answers - 7 points