Shin Splints 101

Lately I’ve been receiving a lot of questions from friends and family looking for advice on how to handle some of the not-so-fun aspects of running: burning chafing, aching cramps, lengthy training schedules, sweltering temperatures, sore legs etc… 

I should provide this disclaimer before I move on: while I work in the healthcare industry and have convinced myself I’m just one degree of Kevin Bacon away from ending my name with MD, I am in no way a professional (or licensed) healthcare provider.  I’m a consultant.  I talk.  I do not heal.  And most the time I don’t even know what I’m talking about.  But people believe me.  I’m not sure why.  Maybe I should have been a lawyer?  I digress.  Therefore, this post, and any others you might find on Balanced Footsteps, reflects solely my personal opinion and what I have found works well for me.  I encourage you to get a second opinion.  On everything!

The increased volume of inquiries got me thinking.  Bethtober, why don’t you share any of these secrets on the bloggy?  You’re not very good at keeping secrets to begin with and I bet people who visit a running-inspired blog would rather read about boob-lube instead of what you did Saturday night.  It never gets old.  Boob-lube!  Ha!  It’s sort of like hearing a fart.  Always hilarious.  And/or I have the maturity level of a teenage boy.  Man I’m focused today!  Back to the story Ms. Vaughn…

My personal opinion is that running doesn’t have to be painful if done correctly.  AND even if done incorrectly, I’ve learned some tricks to help prevent soreness, dehydration and unsightly abrasions.  Pencils down, eyes up; today we’re going to learn how to prevent shin splints. 

I don’t really have a running routine.  I like to get out in the mornings, but that doesn’t always happen.  I prefer running outside, but odd hours or unsafe conditions can make the treadmill more appealing.  Long or difficult runs fly by with music, whereas easier runs are sometimes most enjoyable in silence.  However, following every run I do the same four exercises I learned just before I got my running grove back in 2009 and I haven’t had shin splints or soreness at all in the last two years.  The prescription is as follows…

Exercise 1:  walk 25 steps ONLY on your tip-toes.

Exercise 2: walk 25 steps ONLY on your heels.

Exercise 3: walk 25 steps with heel kicks.

Exercise 4: walk 25 steps with high knees.

I may do a little bit more or less than 25, depending on the length of my run and how tight my legs feel.  Your homework: run then take these four exercises and call me in the morning.

PS – I learned this little trick from The Chef’s cousin, a marathoner who’s also worked for New Balance.  If it doesn’t work for you, blame him.  😉

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