I always thought shin splints were for wimps. I’m wrong, I’m sorry, and I’ll never think that again after this week.
About halfway through a 7 mile run last Saturday with MIT, my shins started really bothering me and after talking to the Sports Doc, I found that I am suffering from medial tibial syndrome a.k.a. shin splints. After doing a lot of reading, I found “shin splints” is a catch-all phrase for problems with the lower leg. Commonly, shin splints are the inflammation of the connective tissue that covers and connects the muscles of the lower leg to the tibia bone. In extremes cases, the tissues are under such stress that it actually separates from the tibia (ouch!) and can involve a slow healing process. Stress fractures of the lower leg bones can also be referred to “shin splints.” I think I have the mild case (inflammation and overuse) that is most likely caused by running too far or too fast too soon. But…wait…I’ve never had shin splints before and I’m not necessarily a beginning runner, as in this is not the first training schedule I have worked on, but I am new to the Full Marathon. I also found out that some runners who are starting up a program will often run too far or too fast before their legs are ready to sustain the distance or the speed they’re running. The muscles and tissues around the shin are a lot smaller than other leg muscles and can therefore be easily overworked. The Doc said rest my shins (and ice them everyday!) for 3-4 days, then start out SLOW and SHORT so……
I haven’t been running this week. Not happy.
All I can do is look at my training schedule and think about the miles I am NOT running, even though the MIT coaches swear to me that it is early enough in the mileage that I will be okay….IF, and only IF, I allow my shins to rest now rather than continuing to run on them. So, what happens when my mileage increases even more? Slow it down? I don’t know what to do. Only TWO weeks from now, the Full schedule is indicating ONE day of rest for the whole week. That’s Monday – 4 miles, Tuesday – 3 miles, Wednesday – 4 miles, Thursday – 3 miles, Friday – 5 miles, Saturday – 9 miles. And it only increases from there. Granted, each workout is low mileage in and of itself, but that is a lot of miles all together!
Any advice from veteran MARATHONERS? So far, this training schedule is very different than the Half schedule. I’m 100% committed to my goal, and right now I am all ears!
What have I been doing instead?
I’ve realized this week that living a healthy lifestyle is more than working out and eating right – it’s also about how you live – and we as human beings spend a lot of time living in our stuff. I’ve been watching online episodes of Jillian Michaels‘ new show Loosing it with Jillian, and it has been so motivating, so empowering, and so eye-opening for me. Not only does Jillian help people work out and eat right and loose weight, but she helps them get their life back on track. Sometimes she literally cleans out their homes and gets rid of the stuff that is consuming them. I’ve been doing a lot of getting on track this past year, and I decided to take some more of Jillian’s advice and do a little de-crapifying myself. I cleaned out my closet last night and got rid of anything I didn’t use or wear in the past year or more – purses, wallets, shirts, pants, pjs, belts, scarves, shoes, and jackets – all gone! If I was hesitant about an item, I left in my closet and I am going to go through it all again next week and get rid of the stuff I still didn’t use or look at. I actually have space now! I donated everything to the Kidney Foundation. And I feel great about it.
What can you get rid of to make your life healthier? Like me, you might be surprised at what you find!
Finally, this quote by William James sums up how I feel about all of the changes I have been making, “The greatest discovery of my generation is that human beings can alter their lives by altering their attitudes of mind.”