It took me over two years to be able to run a 10k with no problems from shin splints. And when I was trying to get to the bottom of the issue I must have read every website, visited several physios, 3 running coaches for video analysis. But what fixed it was working with my body and listening to advice it was giving me. OK, that may sound a little flowery, but it worked.

My fitness through cycling was good. And it was disproportionately balanced with my running capabilities. Fitness wise, I could run a lot further and a lot faster than my legs would actually allow me to. Still to this date I feel like I could run quicker, but always hold something back. Most of the reading I did pointed to only add 10% extra distance or speed a week, build up slowly, take it easy. And I think this really is the best advice. Along with changing running techniques.

Three years ago when I decided to get into triathlon I visited the guys at Vivobarefoot. We had some pretty smart video analysis and they explained running techniques and changing is changing that. I was interested in a change in running style because prior to this I had had knee problems. Fantastic, I'm ready to go. Plowing into my running I was plagued with tight calf muscles and muscle pain, but I was happy knowing your muscles recover and build. But bring on the shin splints. My shin splints  started to get sore after about 2 months of running and got progressively worse. They got so painful they were not only sore to touch but they were sore to walk on. I couldn't even begin to think about going for a run. So I started the process of self healing using the Internet, runners advice, etc. Lots of rest is the typical advice, not one for a budding triathlete and not only that, none of the advice seemed to address or fix the actual issue. My physio massaged my legs. Running shops sold me new shoes. Advice ranged from rest, to stretching.

Running Video Analysis

What I found was when the pain has subsided I could go for a short for 5km run at a slow pace with no pain. I can do a few of these in a week and feel a dull ache in my shins. Every time I thought I was fixed I would try and pick it up and it was back to square one. The answer is there. Long, slow recovery with a very slight increase in speed and distance. If you are reading this and you are likely to be suffering with shin splints and looking for the answer and a quick fix. The answer came to me but it took several years. Like me, I am sure that is not what you want to hear. But going from a place where I could not even run 5K without my legs feeling like they were going to drop off to place where I can run a 10K PB and the next day still be able to run is a place where I am very happy to be.

These are some of the things I changed that works for me.

Forefoot running shoes . As I was running neutral style I went through several types of trying to find one that offered appropriate protection. Vivo shoes, as much as I love them I had to switch to a cushioned shoe.

Forefoot Running Shoe

Step training. This is probably the single best change to my running training;  running countless flights of steps up and down them. It did not load my shins at all. It meant I could really work on my core fitness and build my leg muscles whilst letting my shins rest. I can't recommend step training enough. Find a flight of stairs that are not too busy and run up and down then lots and lots of times. Make challenges like hitting every step, skipping every other step. Just take it easy on the way down!

Step Training

Squat Training. Where I couldn't run I tried to work on the muscles that supported running. Calf muscles and various stretching exercises all found online.

Perseverance.... and lots of it. I have been working with this for several years and I know if I push it too hard I will be back to square one. This year I completed two half marathons. My shins did hurt afterwards, but only for a few days.

Good luck and post below if you have any other tips.  

  • Posted byDaniel Puddick /
  • Running