Marathon training can be hard on one’s body; with all the running, exercising such as stretching and yoga can help you prepare for a marathon. Most runners start their training a year to several months in advance before they start a marathon. Training consists of pushing your runs further and further as the time goes on, by doing so you hope to increase your time and your mileage.
Some runners who start off late will shorten the time they train; these runners are often called late entry runners. They are the ones who start off with a running schedule lumping all of it into a very short time. For example you would run for four weeks increasing your mileage each week you run and on the fourth week you would be ready to run the race. The only draw back to rushing into a training schedule like this is that you may put yourself at risk for an injury know to most runners as Shin Splints or tibial Stress Syndrome which can be very painful for a runner.
How to treat Shin Splints or recognize the symptoms?
The first thing is to locate where the pain is coming from, if it is a pulsing pain located at the shins then most likely it is a shin splint. Though sometimes the pain can mask other underlying illnesses or pains, such as stress fractures or swollen muscles due to over usage during intense work outs.
The actual symptoms of shin splints can be a dull aching pain along the front part of your leg located near your shin. The area near the shin will be tender to the touch and might be a bit swollen either during exercise or after. In some cases the dull pain can leave the feet feeling numb or with a tingling sensation with in them. More than 17% of runners will experience this syndrome.
The most common question is how to treat shin splints?
Learning how to treat shin splints and how to prevent them can be essential to you and your training. The key to knowing how to treat shin splints is recognizing the symptoms, once you have done that you can know how to treat them appropriately.
Icing the area that is in pain or swollen on the shin for about 20 to 40 minutes will help reduce the swelling on the shin. Continue for a couple of days until the pain subsides.
Anti-inflammatory medications can help as well to reduce the pain such as Motrin and Aspirin, be sure to keep in mind that these types of drugs can also be harsh on your stomach.
Physical Therapy- In some cases when the pain is more persistent and does not go away after a couple of days with icing and medications you may have to see a doctor. A doctor will most likely then refer you to a sports specialist for physical therapy.
Everyone heals at different rates so there is no specific time frame on when you should be healed but keeping that in mind know that three to six months of constant pain is not a normal symptom and should be looked after by a physician.
Preventative measures to help them from occurring in the first place are always a good idea as well.
Arch Support- To help them from happening you can use inserts in your shoes for arch support while you are running. The support on your arch will often help to prevent shin splints but it is not a 100% fix to the running injury.
Stretching or Yoga – Stretching before you get into the long distance running or heavy exercise can also help reduce the likelihood of shin splints.
Support Brace- If you have suffered from shin splints before or just want to add extra support to your joints and muscles you can wear an Ace bandage around the area. If you want heat as well, look for a self warming and or heating wrap to wear.
Stop- When you start to feel pain in your shins stop working out for a bit a rest.
Avoid- Running on concrete while you are training, try running on the grass on dirt or on a treadmill, when ever possible to give your shins a break.
Follow these simple guidelines for your training and you should now know how to identify and how to treat shin splints in future cases.