I'm training for my first marathon since high school. The race is this coming Sunday. I'm 48 now. I was doing cool running's advanced program, and had completed a 28 miler a couple weeks ago. No problems other than running out of gas. One of the days after the 28, I ran 3 with 5 y.o. shoes(poor cushioning). The next Saturday I pole-vaulted, and the next day ran 15 on a woods trail. I can't exactly remember when it started(age), but possibly I noticed before or after the 15 miler that one of my shins was sore. I tried running after that, and it seemed to go away while running, and come back after, which jibes with what I've read. I have noticed a little extra fluid on my right shin. The pain isn't in a horizontal line as I've read stress fractures might be. My left shin doesn't bother me at all. I'm thinking it was the pole-vaulting(one shin only) that caused it, but it may have been the old shoes. Finally, the most pressing question i'm wondering is should i attempt the marathon anyway and just ice, massage etc? Does icing actually help heal or just make it feel better? Should I do strengthening, stretching of that anterior muscle even if it's a little sore when I do it? I just don't want to make it worse, but if it will help, I'm all for it. Some people have suggested getting xray, or MRI, but I hate to incur that expense if it's not even the bone. My insurance pays, but it just seems wasteful.
The pole vaulting, it likely a signficant factor. Determining whether it is a tibial stress fracture or shin splints (Medical Tibial Stress Syndrome) is an appropriate step. Checking with your Primary Care Physician he can determine if a radiograph or bone scan is indicated. The results of diagnostic imaging is a smart step before you decide to continue pole vaulting or not. Take a look at this short article Shin Splints Shock Absorption and Stride Length.
Thanks Damien for that info. Sometimes I wonder about the information I get, but you seem to have a good background/experience in shin splint issues. I'm going to try running the marathon anyway, and keep an eye on my form for that and vaulting.