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pezza160's picture
Joined: Oct 27 2008
Posts: 8
Training through shin splints?

I can feel everyone cringing as they read this however here we go. I finished my first sprint race program in december and decided that i would like to do a 70.3 in Feb. So i got the HIM program of this site and counted back the weeks until race day. I started the program in week 9 of 20 which was ok in terms of training load for my riding and swimming, but not for the running. I did the sessions slow to try and minimise impact but started to get sore shins. I continued the sessions until i had to stop mid-session one day. I had 2 weeks off running and they felt good, but since picking back up again they have progressed to the painful stage previously experienced.

I realise that the cause of the problem was probably increasing to fast to quick so i have to stop running for a period of time.

Do i do aqua jogging to supplement the running sessions or do bike/ or swim sessions instead?

Or, even rest for my programs run sessions??

The 70.3 is in 4.5 weeks.

mtbke15's picture
Joined: Sep 14 2008
Posts: 99
As someone that gets shin

As someone that gets shin splints on a a semi-regular basis and having been sidelined from a marathon. I would recommend to back off the miles and ice after every run no matter how short or easy it may be. Also, look into taping your shin splints. I have found that if I do that it helps during the run and once my legs are warmed up after a few miles I can pull off the tape and continue to run without really any pain.

chekmarks's picture
Joined: Jan 29 2008
Posts: 595
run, walk, run, walk.

run, walk, run, walk. repeat. in my experience (and this could be the complete wrong way to do it) the shin splints went away in time, but i made sure to stay on my feet for the amount of time prescribed. it helps to not let the pain get to your critical point. don't make it so you are forced to walk, try to anticipate it and start walking a few minutes before you think you'll have to walk. no shame in walking during a HIM anyways.

XuD's picture
Joined: Oct 4 2008
Posts: 6
@mtbke15 can you explain how

@mtbke15 can you explain how you tape your shins?

befitrun's picture
Joined: Jan 14 2009
Posts: 7
Aqua jogging is a good

Aqua jogging is a good substitute and also keep up with your biking and swimming per your program. And ice, ice. Tape is also a good idea. Exercises to strengthen the anterior tibialis.
Have you made certain you are wearing the proper shoe for your foot type? As in, are you an over-pronater, high arch, normal? And is the shoe you're wearing designed for that type of foot? roadrunnersports.com has an easy guide on their website to determining that and their shoes are sorted out according to those foot types as well. Just an idea; maybe you've already done that but it can make a HUGE difference in your leg/foot health with running. Good luck!

triath02's picture
Joined: May 4 2006
Posts: 91
I don't know about shin

I don't know about shin splints, but Oxyflex cream worked well on my achilles tendonitis.

I was not smart, and continued to train for a marathon while having achilles pain and ended up having to stop running for about a month. I would say don't run at all if you're having any pain. It's not worth it in the long run.

PJT's picture
Joined: Aug 16 2005
Posts: 1513
1. See a doctor to make

1. See a doctor to make sure you just have shin splints (roughly defined as inflammation in the muscles of the lower leg causing pain--common for people just starting out or coming off of long layoffs from running) and not stress fractures. You can train with shin splints, but not with stress fractures.
2. If it is truly just shin splints, have someone check out your shoes and arch supports, ice after workouts (careful not to get frostbite as there is not a lot of muscle in the shins), and consider cutting your mileage and slowly building back up. Maybe also consider having a coach evaluate your running form. I know none of this is great news for a February HIM but there really aren't any magic substitutes for gradually getting the body acclimated to high mileage.

TriSooner's picture
Joined: Dec 20 2007
Posts: 3376
IMHO, there is nothing you

IMHO, there is nothing you can do for shin splits but stop running. As for the 70.3 in 4 weeks, I'd focus exclusively on the swim and bike and hope that your shins can hold up for a few miles of the run and be resigned to walk much of it.

jnrice's picture
Joined: Sep 5 2008
Posts: 1243
TriSooner wrote:IMHO, there

[quote=TriSooner]IMHO, there is nothing you can do for shin splits but stop running. As for the 70.3 in 4 weeks, I'd focus exclusively on the swim and bike and hope that your shins can hold up for a few miles of the run and be resigned to walk much of it.

+1 yep, abused shin splints become stress fractures and those will put you under for a lot longer.

pezza160's picture
Joined: Oct 27 2008
Posts: 8
Thanks for all the good

Thanks for all the good advice.

I thought I did get properly fitted for shoes when i started the 70.3 program. We have a store chain called Athletes Foot in Australia and you walk over a pad that shows the shape of the foot and where the pressure is distributed when walking over it. The shoes are the selected from this information. Bought good quality asics shoes so i think i am ok here. If i am incorrect please tell me??

I am not sure whether going to a doctor and getting x-rays etc would be beneficial. Would the treatment be the same?? ie no running, aqua jogging instead, ice. I am thinking that i will not run on hard surface for 2 weeks and do aqua jogging during this time. Then try to get back into it starting with short sessions. Any comments on this? Especially on whether complete diagnosis with x-rays should be done?
Thanks in advance

Nobody's picture
Joined: Jan 2 2007
Posts: 397
I dealt with shin splints

I dealt with shin splints for years and tried everything to no avail. As soon as I'd get beyond 10-15 miles a week I'd get 'em....despite my Podiatrist thinking they wouldn't help, I got fitted for orthotic inserts, which solved the problem literally overnight (I had a collapsing arch). You might want to think about it.

brittda's picture
Joined: Jan 25 2005
Posts: 2458
coming from the Queen of

coming from the Queen of stress fractures (as many of you know, I have had 5 now)--continueing to run through pain that is bad enough to make you stop running is a mistake.

1. xrays wont show a stress fracture until it has been about 4 weeks, and even then MAY not show. MRI or Bone scan will be your best bet. MRI takes less time but is more$$, bone scan takes more time, but is cheaper. Depends also on what your dr orders.
2. If it were me, I would do the aqua joging. If you have pain when you return to running, it is time to see the dr. If it IS a stress fracture you will have pain the first time out, and rather quickly. If you stop running, it will be too painful to resume running (at least from my experience). You really wont loose anything by doing this. My last one took 5 months to heal....
3. IF you have pain, then call your local orthopedist/sports medicine specialist he/she will order any tests. The only fix if it IS a stress fracture is rest. Sometimes, depending on where it is they can put you in a boot to take some of the pressure off(common also if the fx is in your foot too) , you can remove it to swim and bike. Mine have all been too high up on my leg for a boot to do any good. I was able to continue swimming and cycling and even the eliptical because of the non impact.

Triguy98's picture
Joined: Apr 10 2005
Posts: 3108
Rest is the only cure. Shin

Rest is the only cure. Shin splints pretty much destroyed my season a few years ago. It was my first go round with them. I would get off the pavement asap and stay off. Aqua jogging is a great substitute, even though it sucks. I have a friend who swears by the elliptical. He was an outstanding runner in high school, but is now injury prone. He does all his "run" training on the elliptical. He only runs on the pavement on race day. Might be worth a shot for you.

mtbke15's picture
Joined: Sep 14 2008
Posts: 99
Xud, I have found this first

Xud, I have found this first method work best for me.

Here is another way from Runners World using Kinseo tape. http://www.runnersworld.com/article/0,7120,s6-241-286--13019-0,00.html

I tried a few different ways until I found the first link worked best for me. My physical therapist at the time also showed me the first way. I would also recommend either shaving your legs or get the body wrap stuff that goes under the tape otherwise it will be VERY painful to take off and the tape sticks better with no hair.

pezza160's picture
Joined: Oct 27 2008
Posts: 8
Thanks everyone for the

Thanks everyone for the great comments. i thought i would give an update on my progress.

I went and saw two physiotherapists, the first was hopeless and a waste of money, i think i knew more about shin splints than he did. The second was recommended by a training partner and I could not be happier. He is a sports injury specialist (very important over traditional physio's), had dealt with loads of similar injuries and was very receptive to being able to continue training whilst receiving treatment. He treats most of the triathletes in the area and is one himself, which i think is a major contributor to his successful treatment.

Anyway, the diagnosis for me was with the jump in running workload had caused the muscles at the back of the tibia bone to become super tight which put additional stress onto the sheath around the tibia bone (please excuse any inaccuracies here). When i began running this became irritated and inflammed and caused the 'shin splints' pain. Time off would have let the inflammation settle down but would not have treated the cause of the problem and have lead to repeated symptoms once running resumed.

So the treatment was as everyone presumed, do not run. Then the best part of the visit.....massaging out the muscles behind the shin bone. Holy Mother!!!! Pain!!! Once the first leg was finished i had to line up for another go on the other leg. Haha. I think physio's must have to have a sick sense of humour to inflict that much pain on someone, they watch you whilst its happening to see your response. I am joking about this part....it was all worthwhile. i felt like i had done 10000000 calf raises that night but the next day they felt better. So on a program of stretching, ice, massage and water running i am on the road to recovery.

I will have my first short actual run tomorrow which i have been looing forward to ever since the beginning of my water running experiences and if everything goes according to plan, will be running without pain in the race, even if it will be slow.

What have i learnt from this and my advice to others: 1) dont increase workload too fast too quick (i thought i could even though i have read 1000 times not too); 2) Stretch, stretch and more stretch, oh and ice; 3) dont self diagnose injuries, go to the people who know. I may have only been out for 2 weeks instead of over 2 months now.

Cheers for listening

mschole's picture
Joined: Jan 25 2008
Posts: 3
Yep, the massage/stretching

Yep, the massage/stretching of the muscles at the back of your lower leg is the way to go. I'm a sufferer of shin splints myself (was off running 2 months in 2007 because I ignored them until it was too late) and I recommend buying The Stick or at the very least a few tennis balls to help massage them.

You can use The Stick yourself but I find it more torturous to get your friend/spouse/partner to do it for you, rolling the h*** out of your calves while you lie on your front. Alternately, you can lie on your back with knees bent and use the top of one knee to massage the calf of the other leg. Or sit on the floor with your legs in front of you and roll your calf around on a tennis ball.

After a while, you'll learn where your little tight spots are and be able to roll them out before they get worse. I try to use The Stick in the morning before I get up just for general maintenance on my calves, but I also do a few minutes of rolling before every run so that my calves start nice and loose to minimize shin strain.

Finally, I recommend finding someone who owns Jacuzzi :-) where you can put your calves in front of some strong jets to try and loosen them up a bit once in a while.

Hope this helps.

pezza160's picture
Joined: Oct 27 2008
Posts: 8
Nice tips thanks!

Nice tips thanks!

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