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I am slowly training for my first half marathon which is on 10/10, but have just now started getting signs of shin splits in my left shin. They are not at the "unbearable" point yet, but I know how quickly they can get there- I was a long time soccer player and perpetually out of shape at the start of pre-season. Oh for the days of bouncing back quickly... I have a long ways to go with my training and I'm worried time off completely will destroy my chances at finishing my half, but I also know if I allow my shins to get worse I will definitely not be able to finish! If I had more time, I would easily take a week or 2 off, but with only 7 weeks left to train, I'm torn, and in search of advice.
A little about my training/background:
I had a base of 16-18 miles per week for about a year; pain free, mostly just jogging 3-4 miles 5x week at a comfortable (slow) pace for weight/health management. Then I decided to try for the half marathon and get serious.
My typical training week now looks like this:
Monday: Recovery run (I should say prep / loosen up run... my joints are too stiff and achy after the weekend to work out effectively) - 3 miles, easy.
Tuesday: Long run. I've been adding a 1/2 mile to this almost each week.
Wednesday: Hills - either 3-4 mile foothill workout, or hill repeats, never more than 4 miles total.
Thursday: 4 mile jog / 10K pace run
Friday: Speed work - mile or 1/2 mile repeats, total of 4 miles max.
Saturday I usually swim or hike (or fall asleep on the beach).
Sunday = rest.
Sometimes I will take Thursday off as well, but get in an easy 3-4 mile jog on saturday or sunday morning instead, but that's the general idea of my plan. I do strength training 3x/week as well, along with plenty of stretching, and some plyo's from soccer days.
I've been more or less following this increased routine for the last 9-10 weeks now, putting me at an 8.5 mile long run. I was comletely pain free and loving the increased work until about 2 weeks ago, when my left shin began showing signs of shin splints, mostly in the lower interior. I've begun icing after runs, and making sure I really do all my shin excersizes and IT band stretches and foam roller for the duration, so I was disappointed to feel the first twinge, but not too concerned.
I dropped my long run back to 5 miles and skipped all speed work, and scaled back to a total of 12 miles last week. Thursday it was moderately painful, but again, nothing horrible. I took Friday, Saturday, and
Sunday completely off, and then did a slow, easy "prep" run yesterday for 3 miles, only to have my shin pain present even worse than last week. Today it is officially in real *pain*.
I'm not sure how much to back off, and for how long, in order to let my shin recover, without losing the progress I have made, and without missing my half on 10/10. 7 weeks is such an awkward time out to have to deal with an injury, and clearly cutting back last week wasn't much help!
Any advice would be helpful!
Sounds like it might be time for a new pair of shoes. If that isn't the problem you're better off taking a complete rest than trying to run through it. Even if you take 2 weeks off you can still do the half with 5 weeks left. Start where you left off (8.5 mi long run) and bump it up 1 mile per week.
What is your goal with respect to the 1/2? A fast time goal or finishing?
If finishing, the choice is easy -- take time off from running and cross train.
If finishing fast -- don't run this week and consider dropping your running to 3 times per week, and substitute elliptical for the other two days.
I'm not a training coach, but your running plan looks awfully busy. You've got 3 back-to-back speed/tempo sessions: hills, tempo and speed. Many runners substitute hills FOR speedwork. It seems to me that you should cut back on all that. Since you are new to the half marathon, you may get the biggest bang for your training buck with the tempo session or the hill session. Also, pure speedwork is the workout most likely to aggravate the shinsplints.
You don't mention it, but are you using RICE to treat the shinsplints? And have you tried compression sleeves or socks? I love my Zensah sleeves.
Finally, is the pain really localized? Does it hurt when you touch the spot where you have pain? If the answer to either question is yes, you may have a stress fracture, but that seems unlikely with the mileage. However, you need to have a doctor look at that.
"Victory through attrition!"
Charleston Half-Marathon 1/15/2011 -- 1:52:03
The Scream! Half-Marathon 7/16/2011 -- 1:56:00