Training through shin splints?

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This topic contains 16 replies, has 13 voices, and was last updated by Profile photo of pezza160 pezza160 8 years, 8 months ago.

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    Profile photo of pezza160

    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.

    Profile photo of mtbke15

    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.

    Profile photo of chekmarks

    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.

    Profile photo of XuD

    @mtbke15 can you explain how you tape your shins?

    Profile photo of befitrun

    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? 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!

    Profile photo of triath02

    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.

    Profile photo of PJT

    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.

    Profile photo of 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.

    Profile photo of jnrice
    TriSooner wrote:
    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.

    Profile photo of pezza160

    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

    Profile photo of Nobody

    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.

    Profile photo of brittda

    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.

    Profile photo of Triguy98

    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.

    Profile photo of mtbke15

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

    Here is another way from Runners World using Kinseo tape.,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.

    Profile photo of pezza160

    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

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