Shin splints – they are the devil. A ridiculous level of discomfort for what they are but it doesn’t bear thinking about to try and train consistently through them for the next 8 months, let alone run the 150 miles through the desert at the end.
Wooaaaooo my shins are on fiiireee
So what are they? Well the NHS website (always go to a reliable source) is actually fairly vague, but states that shin splints is swelling of the tissue surrounding the shin bone. They list the likely causes of shin splints too
- a sudden change in your activity level – such as starting a new exercise plan or suddenly increasing the distance or pace you run
Yep, whoops, typically me. I was doing ok at 2 miles so though “och, let’s just go up to 10”. My poor wee legs having my 16 stone frame crashing through them for 10 miles might have come as a shock.
- running on hard or uneven surfaces
Yep, it’s mostly tarmac where I live.
- wearing poorly fitting or worn-out trainers that don’t cushion and support your feet properly
I did not realise that trainers needed replacing. My Sauconys have done me proud for at least 7 years.
- being overweight
I’ve only once managed to sneak into my recommended BMI range, and that was after 3 months living in Africa living off one meal of rice and beans per day (student debt induced diet). I’m a bit doughy at the moment, sure, but genetic inherited from a shot put chucking, caber tossing grandfather means that I am never likely to be a waif.
- having flat feet or feet that roll inwards (known as over-pronation)
Well there you go, I thought I supinated (opposite of over-pronation) because I don’t feel much pressure through my big toe and the outside of my shoes wear out faster, but according to the gurus at Run and Become, I have a neutral, if slightly over-pronating gait. Which explains the splints I suppose.
- having tight calf muscles, weak ankles, or a tight Achilles tendon (the band of tissue connecting the heel to the calf muscle)
Finally, one box I don’t tick. Though, my Achilles could do with a stretch now you come to mention it.
Off to get my gait analysed
In light of the above, I decided I need to try and get the mechanics of my running checked, and buy some decent shoes. A ban on Mrs Unis samosas for the foreseeable will hopefully deal with the weight thing (they are God’s own snack of choice – true story). I heard about fancy computer tech, etc and the physio round the corner from me looks to offer a good service, but I’m stereotypically Scottish when it comes to parting with cash. Run and Become is a famous running shop in Edinburgh and they claim to do a more holistic (full mechanical spectrum) analysis just by watching you run. They explain it better here..
So off I went, did lots of running up and down in the road and came out 20min later with a pair of Hoka One One Challenger ATR 3. I tried on Sauconys again. They were beautifully light and comfortable but we had concerns about how they would fare in tougher conditions. The adviser also pointed out that stitching on velcro for gaiters would weaken the overall fabric as the stitching would be tougher than the shoe upper. . I tried Brooks as well, but felt like my big toe was about to pop straight through the top. I liked the Hokas for the cushioning and the solidity. They feel like they could kick a rock or two and live to tell the tale.
Anyway, I got the old bat phone out and filmed a quick vid as I went along, which you can watch below. We’ll try and get more content on YouTube but in the meantime, sign up to our email updates to get all the latest blogs and chat..