Oddly enough, I didn't feel any shin splints during my half marathon last Sunday (April 1) but now that I'm back up and running again they've seemed to come back. This is so discouraging to me because now, more than ever, I love running.
The old me would have laughed at the thought of ever running a half marathon much less more than a mile!
Now I just thrive off of races. The energy. The people. And most importantly, the cute running outfits.
Since I'm a *gasp* runner now, I need to change my game plan for preventing injury and improving. This is my latest plan:
- Hydrate constantly - My muscles are majority good ol' H2O! Because of this, I need to keep them fueled with water. Also a rule of thumb I feel like I've learned from my two races: drink a ton of water, then when you think you've had enough, drink some more.
- Stretch daily - I need to discipline myself to sit down and stretch, especially my calves, every day. I'm in the middle of researching all of the "must-do" stretches for runners in general. When I figure out my exact game plan, I will share it with you.
- Ice post run - I never took this concept seriously for the longest time. I figured stretching was good enough but now I know that I need to ice my joints and achey muscles post run. Icing my knees must be a post run staple in order for me to increase miles like I want to. I am no longer striving to be a fit girl, I am striving to be an ice queen.
- Record my miles - It's not enough for me to guess my weekly miles, I need to keep them accounted for to make sure I'm accurately and smartly adding the right amount of miles per week. I also need to try and keep track of how many miles I have on my shoes. (Luckily I just switched my shoes this week to newer Nike Frees so these should last me a while.)
- Eat to train - I need to keep my muscles and joints healthy. Best way to do that? Control what I put in my mouth! If I want my body to successfully adapt to high mileage I need to equipped it with healthy foods. Sidenote: Cherries have been my latest addition to my "eat to train" plan. They're great for joints! This is another post that I will share with you guys once I figure out my game plan.
- Train outside the box - There are more ways to train that just to simply run. I need to incorporate strength training, range of motion improvement, VO2 max improvement, etc. to improve my overall performance. I plan on incorporating jumping rope (shin splints willing, of course), stair climbing, weighted squats/lunges, inclines, sprints, Yasso's, tabata intervals, etc.
Here are some great tips I found from a website:
" Key mistakes Runners make
The following advice is provided to help you avoid some of the key mistakes athletes make when training for a marathon.
- To minimise the risk of injury, muscle aches and ‘niggles’ build your mileage up gradually!
- Never increase your mileage by more than 10% in a week.
- Never increase both speed and distance in the same week.
- If the increasing mileage proves too tough, take an easy day/rest, this allows your body to refuel & recover.
- Vary your running surface and direction of your runs.
- Do at least 50% of your running on soft surfaces (trails, park, grass, forest) and the rest on the road/track.
- Include cross training into your programme with cycling, swimming or rowing, this allows the ‘running’ muscles to rest while maintaining/progressing your fitness.
- Include resistance & core training into your programme, this will aid in preventing low back and lower limb injuries.
- Replace your running shoes regularly; look under the soles for wear and the mid-sole for over compression. It is a good idea to vary between two pairs of shoes during marathon preparation.
- Go to a specialist sports shoe shop for advice on the best running shoe for your foot type, it’s an essential expense.
- Always warm up adequately to prepare your muscles, and joints for your training/race.
- Always perform static stretches after running to minimise muscle soreness and joint stiffness. This also prepares your body for your next running session.
- Keep a training diary. If you do sustain an injury it will allow you to review your training prior to the injury and help you prevent the same pitfalls in your next programme.
- Never run if you feel unwell; and do not attempt to catch-up on lost mileage after an illness/injury. This can cause further damage and result in a longer period off running. Better 3-4 days rest than 3-4 weeks of frustration.
- Listen to your body, it’s usually right! "
What strategies have you found most beneficial to prevent injury?