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First Time Runner Hurts Shins, Has Questions

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So I started Couch to 5K on Saturday because I want to start running but kind of suck at it. I started on the second week of workouts because I'm not a total couch potato, but not good at running. I finished it in minimal pain (mostly side cramps, not so much the shins). 30 minutes later, I went on a long-ish walk with a friend, at which point everything started to hurt. I woke up sore the next day, but then spent most of it walking around at a Faire. Today, my shins still hurt, though not as much, just a lot of soreness.

The question: Is it shin splints that I should be worried about, or general soreness from lack of that kind of use? I know you guys (probably) aren't doctors, but I figured there's some running experience here.


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"You just have to run to the end of the block. It's not as hard as you think it is."
--Leonard Fisher (12 and Holding)

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Take it easy for a few days. If it goes away, it's probably DOMS. I've battled shin splints for 14 years now and I have a hard time telling if it's an overuse injury or something worse. I've even earned bilateral stress fractures for my efforts of "working through it". Should be fine if you take it slow. Warm up and cool down with stretching. But if the shin pain keeps coming back, then definitely see the doc.

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How were you running? If you're using either a mid-foot or fore-foot strike, it's pretty common to have some calf soreness afterwards, even from a short run. If you were heel-striking, you might have shin soreness from that.

I've had it come and go in the past—never really figured out the cause, but it goes away with some stretching and a little time. I wouldn't be worried about shin splints after the first workout, but if there is actual pain (not just soreness) or anything that severely impedes your workouts, it's time to take another look.

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try massaging your shin muscles, if you find a spot that is sore to the touch, you know where to work on. Shin splints sometimes start by putting those muscles through more stress than they are ready for. Then knots develop that don't always relax on their own.

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Long time runner who dealt with shin splints for the first three years of running...

Do you lift weights? And by lift weights I mean: squat heavy? If not, start now. Running, if it's your first go at a fitness program, can be a recipe for injury since it's a rather complex set of movements that requires a good deal of foundational strength.

If your shin splints haven't gone away in a few days OR when you run they start out painful but gradually ease up as you get warmed up then I recommend the first phase intervention:

Foam rolling

Trigger point, like Phylanx mentioned (tackle the shin insertion points (below and outside of the patella for anterior, above and inside of the ankle for posterior))

Heel walking (strengthens anterior shins)

Work on a midfoot strike and make sure that you're not running like a duck.

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Thanks everyone! There was also soreness in my quads/hamstrings, but that's gone, which makes me think it's more of a muscle thing. There's still some shin soreness (probably DOMS like Scorpion1674 suggested), but I'm not awkwardly limping today like I have been.

Corbab: I honestly wasn't paying attention to my form, but it was probably heel-strike. I'm definitely going to work on mid-foot when I get back out.

Phylanx: I massaged the shins yesterday, and I think it helped, but I don't know how much of that was spending most of the day on my couch instead of moving...

concretecavewoman: I don't lift yet, but I'll start in a couple of weeks when I get back to school and have a gym to work in.

KillerGriller: definitely more of a soreness than brutal stabbing pain.

Scout / Assassin. Ich spreche etwas deutsch.

Strava || Duolingo
Challenges: 2015/06/08 (current) | 2015/04/13 | 2014/11/10 | 2014/09/15 | 2014/07/28

"You just have to run to the end of the block. It's not as hard as you think it is."
--Leonard Fisher (12 and Holding)

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alright A few months ago I tried to start c25k and just walking in general as my form of exercise and had some bad shin pain. Try walking backwards for short distances, stretching for like 5-10 minutes before the run/walk, not pushing yourself too hard too fast, and look in my thread from my first challenge (there is a link to it on my second challenge on my signature) for some shin splint exercises. The reason for shin splints if its not fractures in your bones is because your shin muscle isn't as strong/well developed as your back muscle. It happens to new runners/walkers. It actually went away after a few days of doing that and consistently walking/running. Let us know how it works out :)

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When I started running a few weeks ago, I got an achy kind of feeling in my shins too. My boyfriend suggested trying to point my toes a little more when running. It definitely helped relieve the pain. This is a great focus because it also helped me not heel plant quite so much! :)


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