It took me over two years to be able to run a 10k with no problems from shin splints. When I was trying to get to the bottom of the issue I read every website, visited several physiotherapists, and went to no less than 3 running coaches for video analysis. But what fixed the problem was working with my body and listening to what it was telling me.
My fitness through cycling is good, and it is disproportionately balanced with my running capabilities. Fitness-wise, I could run a lot further and a lot faster than my legs will actually allow me. To this day I feel like I could run quicker but always hold something back. Most of the reading I did said to only add 10% extra distance or speed a week, to build up slowly, and to take it easy. And I think this really is the best advice. Along with changing running techniques.
Top Tips For Preventing Shin Splints
Running in appropriate shoes.
As I was running neutral style I went through several types of trainers trying to find ones that offered appropriate protection. Barefoot shoes, as much as I love them, are not right for me.
This is probably the single best change to my running training; running up and down countless flights of stairs. It doesn't load my shins at all and means I can really work on my core fitness and build my leg muscles whilst letting my shins rest. I can't recommend step training enough.
Where I couldn't run I tried to work on the muscles that supported running like the calf muscles.
I have been working on 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 and although my shins did hurt afterwards, it was only for a few days.
Good luck and post below if you have any other tips.
Glute bridges are a classic exercise which and is commonly found in yoga and pilates. It targets primarily the glutes but will also work your hamstrings and back as well as your core.
To perform this exercise, place your feet on a small set and keep them hip-width apart. Make sure that your knees stay hip-width apart too and do not fall in. Place your hands flat on the floor and use your glutes to squeeze your lower body up into a bridge position. Keeping your back and glutes tensed, very slowly lower yourself back down. As you rise up, curl your back so that each part of your back leaves the floor in time, and do the same coming back down, so that you're rolling up and rolling back down.
Lunges are a great exercise to work the legs and lower body, by adding a kick through you activate the glutes more and target a deeper burn in the glutes and hamstrings. If done correctly, this exercise will also help to improve your balance and strengthen your core.
To perform this exercise, start by doing a reverse lunge where you place one leg behind you and bend your knee so it comes to a right angle. As you bring the leg back forward, don't let it touch the ground, and instead kick it forward and then lunge straight back again. By not allowing your foot to touch the ground during the transition, your balance will improve. You may wobble! But that's fine, take your time. Complete a number of reps on one leg before moving onto the next one. Try to kick with a good amount of force and tense your core and glutes as you kick. You can use your arms for balance.
Tricep dips are a classic exercise which will target the triceps, which are the muscles in the back of the arms. If you want to tone your 'bingo wings' then this is the exercise for you!
You will need to find a surface, this can be a park bench if you are outdoors, or your sofa or a coffee table if you are working out at home. Place your hands facing you on the surace, and throughout the exercise keep your bum close to the surface. You can choose how hard you want to make the exercise by where you place your feet: the further outstretched they are, the tougher it will be and the more you will work your muscles.
Slowly lower yourself down so that your shoulders are in line with your elbows, then use your triceps to push you back up. You should really feel the burn!
The shoulder press is a classic exercise which is usually performed using dumbbells, but can be done using kettlebells instead. This exercise works your shoulders and will increase your strength in any vertical push exercise. It is a static movement and should be performed slowly and with care.
Start with your elbows out at a right angle and do not drop your elbows below shoulder height. Push the dumbbells up to the ceiling, making sure you do not let them touch at the top as this will mean you lose tension in your shoulders. Slowly lower the dumbbells back down to the starting position, this is one rep. Breathe out as you push up, and breathe in as you lower back down. Really control the movement and you should feel a burn building up in your shoulders.