As you may know I am raising money for the Ironman Foundation.
I love racing for a cause because I love giving back to something that has given me so much. I am really excited to work with the IronMan Foundation and all the good work they have done and will continue to do.
Each year, a select group of athletes from around the world race on TEAM IMF to support the mission of the IRONMAN Foundation. Together, we share a passion to create positive tangible change in our race communities and prove that “Anything Is Possible.”
Since 2003, over $50 million has been provided through IRONMAN charitable giveback programs including the IRONMAN Foundation to more than 8,300 local, regional, national and global nonprofit initiatives. Through these partnerships, IRONMAN athletes are powerfully linked to the community and together we leave the IRONMAN legacy behind in our race communities long after race day. We #RaceForMore.
In order to raise money for the foundation I am hosting a 5k virtual run.
I knew after I started running again I needed new shoes. I hadn’t bought running shoes in years, I mean lots of years. I had kept them for running only, but it was still so long ago. But you know running shoes are expensive, so I kept putting it off.
After running for a while and after my first race I noticed I had bruised my big toenails, on booth feet. It wasn’t that bad, but I knew my shoes were too tight. I then looked at them and they were a half-size smaller than I wear! What was I thinking? I have never really worn that sized shoe as an adult.
I kept putting off buying new shoes. I ran my second race, the big toe on my left foot got bruised again. So bad I ended up losing my toe nail. And I got shin splints, as you have all read about.
I finally bit the bullet and went to buy some new shoes. Do you have any idea how many running shoes are out there? It is ridiculous and daunting. However, there are now oodles of wonderful running stores with experts to help you decided what kind of shoes you need.
I went to a local store here in Oregon, Foot Traffic. The salesperson puts you on a treadmill with a camera pointed at the back of your feet. They stick you in some shoes and tell you to run or walk, I had to run, for a 30-60 seconds or so. The salesperson then watches the footage with you and tells you how you run.
While looking at the footage he asked if I had any issues like shin splints. Well, hello mind reader. I told him my issues and he said he wasn’t surprised because I was over pronating.
Overpronation is shown here on the right foot
Basically my feet would roll inward too much when I would run. This was one thing that was contributing to my shin splints. Your feet normally do this, but mine do it too much, which is common. So I what I need is shoes that have more support under the arch.
The smart sales man then went in the back and came back with about four or five pairs of shoes. I tried each of them on and ran with them on the treadmill again, while he recorded my feet. We talked about each pair and if they helped straighten my heel strike. I narrowed it down to two pairs, put one of each shoe on and ran with them.
I decided on the Asics GT-2000. They felt more supportive and fit my narrow feet. So I bought my correct size, not half a size smaller, this time.
Aren’t they nice? Shiny and new. So I strapped them on and hit the trail.
Turns out, I don’t want a running shoe in my size. I want it a half-size bigger.
After this run my feet were swollen slightly. I knew that during the longer runs the shoes would be too tight. Which is a horrible feeling after you spend so much money on a pair of shoes. But, not to worry.
The store where I bought the shoes allows you to bring them back, even after you wear them. How awesome it that? I took them back and bought a half-size bigger.
I only got to wear them once or twice before I got the Big-Cough-of-June. Since I couldn’t run while sick I looked up some stuff on running shoes. Did you know there are all sorts of ways to lace your shoes?
I decided to try the technique for preventing black toe. I found the technique on a running blog called Katie Runs This, but you can find instructions just about everywhere.
You start at the top of the shoe on the outside of your foot. You leave enough lace at the top to tie your shoe, bring the rest of the lace to the bottom inside and start lacing up the shoe. The lace is diagonal across the top of your foot. From there you lace across the shoe, then diagonal again. And repeat to the top of the shoe, and tie normally. When you pull the outer lace tight it pulls the material off the top of your toe.
Last night I ran again with this new lacing technique and I really like how it felt.
I had to walk a lot, because my lungs are still having problems, but my total distance was four miles. I am really happy I got new shoes, and I am glad I have enough time to break them in before my first half.
OK, so I got sick. I started feeling a little down and took a couple of days off running. no big deal.
Then I started coughing, and coughing, and coughing. And I just couldn’t stop. The doctor said “well, you probably have bronchitis or pneumonia. We can tell you for sure with a chest x-ray.”
I decided to pass on the chest x-ray, as the treatment is the same for either. I got some good cough medicine, except it was laced with codeine, which made me sooo tired. I waited a few days to see if I improved on my own before taking the anti-antibiotics. Which, even when I did start taking them didn’t do anything.
My breathing was bad, I couldn’t make it up two flights of stairs. Remember, at work I walk up six flights a day, multiple times. I kept thinking, I could probably go to the gym and get on the bike. At least I would still be doing something. But by the time the boys went down, I was ready to go down too!
Image from Running Through Chaos
Fast-forward to more then three weeks…
I am still kind of coughing, but I can breathe now. Have I been running yet? Nope, but I will go to the gym tonight. I promise. I plan on doing intervals, switching between running and walking, and I will also do the bike. That way I can get a long workout in, with out over taxing my lungs.
I do have a huge race in a couple of months. I know I need to ease back into things, but I don’t have a lot of time to train. I have to go from no miles to thirteen in two months….
That is mentally daunting. I start to feel down, start thinking I can’t do it.
My last running log talked about how I think I have shin splints and it is slowing me down. So let’s take a minute and talk about shin splints.
What are shin splints?
Shin splints are a common injury in the lower leg. It affects the muscles & tendons attached to the tibia, the medial (inner) leg bone. Shine splits, , also called medial tibial stress syndrome, is kind of a general term for multiple injuries that involve the lower leg. The underlying cause could be micro tears in the muscle that is pulled off the bone, inflammation of the muscle, inflammation of the periosteum (a thin sheath of tissue surrounding the tibia), or all of the above. They can also be caused by stress fractures of the tibia, but that gives you slightly different symptoms, and is a much more serious injury. If you suspect this is the cause of your leg pain, please seek medical attention.
Click Pic for where I found this drawing
Here’s the kicker. The best treatment for shine splints by not running, or at least decrease training. Did you hear that? How am I supposed to train for a half marathon if I don’t run?
Whatever. I’m probably not going to do that.
One way to combat shine splints is to strengthen your lower leg muscles and stretch them out. While sitting extend your leg and trace the alphabet with your toes, repeat on the other leg, this will help strengthen your muscles. If you run on hard surfaces, like the road or treadmill (guilty) switch to a track or trail. The soft uneven ground will strengthen the lower leg muscles and provides a cushion for your pounding feet.
Cross training also helps you stay active and allows for healing, replace running with a bike or swimming once or twice a week. Make sure your running shoes are not worn out, and fit properly. The other thing that is recommended is to tape your shin or use a compression sleeve/socks.
What are my plans to recover and prevent shin splints?
I am going to get a new pair of shoes. I am going to go to a running store and the experts there will help me find the right fit for my feet and running style.
I added a long trail run to my week. Once a week my cousin (whom I running the half with) and I will run on a trail gradually increasing our distance. Last Sunday we ran 6 miles. Of course I took a few walking breaks, but short ones, which meant I then and to catch up to her.
I am replacing at least one run with riding a bike at the gym, because I don’t own a real bike. Last night I was able to ride 16 miles in an hour. Although the seat was horribly uncomfortable and I don’t think I really fit well on that machine. I don’t think I got as good a cardio workout as I do with running, but my legs worked hard.
But the major thing I am doing is taping. I am still a bit of a skeptic, but I figured it won’t hurt. I went out and purchased some KT tape to tape my leg up. The KT stands for kinesiology therapeutic tape, and is a brand of tape.
The purpose of the tape is to increase blood flow and provide some stability to the muscles and tendon on the affected area. This brand of tape claims “KT TAPE is applied along muscles, ligaments, and tendons (soft tissue) to provide a lightweight, external support that helps you remain active while recovering from injuries. KT Tape creates neuromuscular feedback (called proprioception) that inhibits (relaxes) or facilitates stronger firing of muscles and tendons. This feedback creates support elements without the bulk and restriction commonly associated with wraps and heavy bracing. KT Tape gives you confidence to perform your best.” (copied directly from their FAQ page)
There is some debate if taping or compression sleeves/clothes work, but that is a topic for another day. I am not going to swear by it yet, but I have had less pain this week.
I first used in on Thursday last week, Sid helped me tape my leg, and used the packaging to try and tape his. He was very helpful.
I was able to get through over 3 miles of jogging and 1.5 miles of sprint intervals with minimal pain. I took the next two days off (due to a very busy schedule) and ran six miles on Sunday (on the trail), four miles on Tuesday and rode 16 miles on the bike last night. I keep my leg taped for 24-48 hours, and apply the tape at least an hour or two prior to activity. The company claims you can wear it for a week, but I find that it starts to lift after a day or two, plus I can’t shave my legs with it on.
It’s kind of bold and a little ‘hey look at me’ which causes people to ask me about it, so I don’t really like to wear it that long. However it is expensive and I don’t want use 2-3 strips everyday, so I leave it on. I am going to look into a compression sleeve, because that is reusable and easy to slip on.
Trigger point therapy can also help with shin splints but I have not really tried it yet. I found this video on Another Mother Runner’s blog, so I am trying to do what she recommends. But I don’t really have two trigger point balls to attempt the release properly.
What I haven’t tried and I am not sure I will is ice. I hate ice. I loath being cold and the thought of icing my leg sounds horrendous. I have attempted icing things in the past, but could never do it.