Progress, Knowledge, Ibuprofen

I've been bitching about my perennial newbie status as runner and chronic, recurring shin splints. Like all bitching, I'm sure it's endlessly entertaining to you, the reader. After another run, and some reflection on feedback from some really great people on Twitter, I think I have a handle on my own personal Whys as well as specific me-centric Solutions.

First: Solutions

  • Continuing every-other-day 5k runs, with modest weekly longer runs. The idea is to build up a base and keep it. Hopefully the Hal Higdon Half Marathon plan doesn't jack me up too much when I start prepping for October's SJ RnR.
  • Don't skip any runs. You can't build a base if you're not consistently putting miles in.
  • Skip runs if the shins flare up. No point in forcing an injury if an extra rest day puts me back on track.
  • Ibuprofen is my friend. I avoided NSAIDs because I was afraid of masking pain that might indicate injury. But really, Ibuprofen is not about pain relief, it's about fighting inflammation. Brilliant! Taking 600mg of Ibuprofen after a run (as needed) is kinda a pharmaceutical version of wrapping your legs in Ace bandages—from the inside. Again, brilliant!
  • Focus on volume; mind distance, surfaces, speed and topography. In building a base, my goal is to get my body accustomed to handling greater mileage—more volume. Miles, surfaces, speed and hills are each fatiguing factors that your body has to acclimate to. Seriously. Each one of them exacts a price, individually. Mixing too much of them together is a recipe for injury.
  • Lose weight. Every pound I can shed means less impact on my joints. Simple enough.
  • Hips and core exercises. As I've said a billion times, I gotta get on track with my active range of motion hip exercises and core stuff. It really helps.

Whys: Contributing Factors

  • Inadequate base. See soak, wash, rinse, repeat
  • Body weight. A heavy male runner—a clydesdale—is 185lbs. I'm about 140% above that—a super-clydesdale. I can fix that.
  • Overly ambitious. Trying to tack on more miles at a faster pace and mixing in hills will give you shin splints. What can I say, I get excited!
  • Inadequate rest. They say a big part of recovery is good sleep. My sleep has sucked for the last 4 years or so, but I think I've fixed this. And yes, I'm excited about it.
  • Slow cadence. This one might seem weird, but I swear it's true: a faster cadence means lighter steps, which means better impact mediation. I've read this in many places, and I have my own anecdotal evidence, but I have no scholarly research to cite, so this one falls in the "I'm pretty sure it's true" category.
  • Biomechanical issues. Like a lot of people, my legs aren't exactly the same length. Sexy, huh ladies? In addition (or maybe because of this), my hips are a little on the weak side. This causes issues down to the soles of my shoes.

I was pretty sore after Wednesday's run, and that bummed me out. But I took some Advil, wrapped up the legs and got a good night sleep. Thursday was a tiny bit tender, but really not bad at all, and today I felt pretty darn perfect. I hit Crissy Field and put in the usual 5k. Felt pretty darn good throughout.

So, all-in-all, things are going well. I'm gonna keep on hustlin' and turn this b*tch out, and sooner or later I'll shed my noob status for good.

Side note: tomorrow is UFC 100. Aside from football, mma is the only sport I really enjoy watching. There's a lot of good fights on the card, and I'm looking forward to watching the PPV. I've suckered a friend into coming to a bar with me to watch it. Good times, good times.

1 Brilliant Remarks:

  1. Adam said...

    Sounds like you have a good root cause analysis performed. Honestly, your plan seems like a good one! You'll have to keep us posted on how it works!