Here's what I think: Darn Shin Splints!

This spring I volunteered to be a part of the planning committee for the American Cancer Society 5K for Life Walk/Run that is to be held this upcoming weekend on August 22nd. I figured that since I was on the planning committee it would be a good idea for me to participate in the walk/run, and since I'm highly competitive and needed a challenge I decided I would run as opposed to walk.

Let me first say that I am not a runner, I have never been a runner. In elementary school P.E. when they make you run the mile I always walked it. It's not that I'm not a decent runner I've just never done it. So for the first few months of being on this committee I had good intentions of starting to run and actually "training" to run this 5K.

I wasn't terribly motivated to get started though so it wasn't until June that I actually started to worry that I would be embarrassingly out of shape come August. I started out very slowly. I ran about a 1 mile loop around a local lake a couple times a week. At first I struggled with my breathing. I always got sinus head aches and felt like I needed to blow my nose. But I'm a lady and do not farmers blow on the sidewalk so I just endured the sinus pain until I could find a tissue.

As I continued to run the mile loop I started to feel more comfortable, though I had minor shin pain it never lasted long. I decided to try the two mile loop and made it about 1.8 miles before I got really uncomfortable and walked the rest of the way. I decided that I really can run two miles but I hadn't prepared by drinking enough water or stretching ahead of time.

My new routine involved drinking half my water bottle prior to running, stretching my hamstrings and thighs and walking a little less than .1 mile before taking off on the run. I also decided to vary the route by doing street runs instead of the loop around the lake. I did this about every three days for a week or two. But as I gradually increased the distance my shins started hurting more and more.

The day that I ran 2.2 miles I felt like I really hurt something. I felt great on the run but afterward my shins on both legs throbbed. I iced them and laid off the running for a few days. I didn't want to loose progress though so on the advice of my boyfriend (who is a triathlete and also a trainer of triathletes) I walked and tried to jog lightly intermittently. That didn't seem to help the pain in my shins and I had to keep my shoes really loose or the tops of my feet hurt.

We have decided that the likely source of my shin splint problem is my shoes. I bought running shoes about 2 or 3 years ago, thinking then that I might take up running. It never happened so I've only worn the shoes to the gym where I mostly lift weights or use a bike or elliptical. So I figured the shoes were probably still good enough to run in. Turns out- not so much. But now I have to figure out what kind of shoe is right for my foot. So in the meantime I'm still wearing my old shoes.

I also really didn't want to invest too much in this running thing, I didn't feel like I would be very serious about it so I figured whatever I have for shoes would be good enough. But as it happens I kind of enjoy running and would like to be able to run more than a measly 2 miles (or even 5K). So I better give in and buy some good shoes.

The race is a week away and I have yet to run the actual distance. I'm confident that I'll be able to run it, just not sure how I'll feel afterward and I'm pretty sure I'll have to endure at least a weeks worth of shin pain. Hopefully, the next time I run a 5K I'll be better equipped and trained up!

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