First off, let me just say that when you type “running” into Google images, this is the most accurate picture that comes up on the first page; real people don’t look that pretty running! And if they do, we should trip them as jog past with their made up faces, glowing skin, and even breathing. And I know I usually talk about books, but I just really feel like I need to share this, I went on a little running/shoe/shin splint journey this week and made some discoveries.
A couple weeks ago I mentioned that I starting to run again, thank’s mostly to my running buddy. Without having someone who I am accountable to I find every reason to stay in bed and not get my fat ass out on the sidewalk. It also helps that we go first thing in the morning, I don’t care how many times my husband tells me that “you get more out of it if you go at the end of the day,” by that time I’ve come up with a multitude of excuses not to work out, and then to ease my guilt top it off with a scoop of ice cream, fueling my guilt even more, and the vicious cycle continues.
Anyway! So my friend Sara and I have been running twice a week together, Tuesday’s and Thursdays, and I usually go on my own either on Monday or Wednesday, and Friday I am at the barn all morning – and whoever says horseback riding is not a workout/sport, come say that to my face!
Running has been going well though, and we are building up our route (a 2.2 mile loop around our housing area) and almost have it to where we can run the whole thing (there are 2 killer hills). But on my solo run last week, my shins started to hurt, I thought it was just usual muscle soreness, until Monday when they hurt so much I had to stop running and limp/walk until they loosened up to walk normally the rest of the way home. I finally admitted to myself that I was developing shin splints. I have never had this problem before, and it hurts! So i did a lot of research and even though everything I read said it has nothing to do with the shoes you use, I’m pretty sure it was triggered by my shoes.
A little background: My freshman year of college I started running to avoid the freshman 15 and stay in the shape that lacrosse got me into. I have relatively high arches and underpronate slightly, so I was running in shoes meant to cushion – nike air pegasus – I liked them because I could feel them up against my arch and they were super comfy.
The last year or so I have been going back and forth in my running routine and for a time I was frequenting the gym more than street running, so I went to a pair of Asics, and then another pair of nike’s that were a bit closer to the minimalist shoes that my husband runs in but still provided me enough cushion not to have aching arches. Well I went back the air pegasus at the start of the month, which have a higher heel and are pretty stiff, they forced me to run differently, and I honestly think thats what triggered the shin splints.
So I took this quiz that recommends shoes for you, and as I ran up and down my hallway consciously thinking about how my feet land and whatnot, I realize I’ve thought I run differently than I do for at least this past year. I call myself a shuffle runner, I lift my feet only high enough to move them without tripping over them and I use my hips a lot, so I don’t need these high cushion shoes because I am not pounding my feet into the ground, or running particularly far (I do hope to get up to about 5 miles soonish – you can do it too Sara!). So after looking at the shoes the quiz recommended, a pair of Asics and Brooks (which is what my husband has run in forever) I decided to try something else, but similar. Altra is a new brand, at least to me, that makes shoes that keep your feet on an even plane. They basically provide the minimalist idea (like with toe shoes) with the cushion you want for a street running shoe and encourage you to run as your body would naturally. My husband bought a pair before he left for training and ran in them a few times, he says they are different, but didn’t really notice anything special in his running. I bought the Torin’s, thinking that with their high cushion they will be a good introduction into this “zero drop technology.”
Running Tuesday and Thursday with my Nike Flex’s has alleviated most of my shin pain, so I am thinking these Altra’s are going to be my golden ticket to no more pain; and people said they helped them run faster, that would be fun! And I did find one great shin splint stretch – you sit on your knees and lean back to position your weight over your ankles – it’s amazing!