Couch-to-5K: week 1, day 3

Week 1 complete! Grey clouds but no rain today so another outdoor run, happily.

I shortened my warm-up for this and the previous run; instead of walking through the park, stretching, then starting the 5 minute warm-up “proper”, I called the walk through the park the warm-up, but interrupted it at the end for stretching before starting to run. Now I’m thinking I should go back to the old way, as my shins were definitely grumbling by the end of this run, and — as may be becoming clear — I am quite anxious about shin splints. One running friend told me, when asked about them, “of course I get them – I just run anyway”, but I don’t want to be running in pain, nor do I think I should be. So next week, back to what is effectively a 10 minute warm-up walk with stretches in the middle. Next week it’s 90s of running alternating with 120s of walking (up from 60s/90s this week).

On that note, can anyone recommend good stretches for holding off shin splints?

2 Responses to “Couch-to-5K: week 1, day 3”

  1. Jo
    October 29th, 2010 | 12:29 pm

    yar! As well as the deep heat/deep freeze combo I posted previously (try it, it really does work!) stand with one leg slightly in front of the other, front leg straight, back leg slightly bent. Weight on back leg, lean forwards slightly (bend at hips) and pull front foot toes off the floor (like you’re stretching the front calf). Keeping the weight in the heel, tap your front foot as if you’re listening to some jaunty music.
    Did any of that make sense? I’m a bit drunk :)

  2. October 29th, 2010 | 1:53 pm

    I find that warming up my lower legs really helps avoid shin splints. I do knee circles and ankle circles to do this, which I factor into my pre-warm-up loosening up.

    So:

    *Ankle circles*
    1. Keep your weight on your left leg, lift and bend the knee of your right leg so that your thigh is parallel to the ground.
    2. Keep your right foot relaxed and turn it anti-clockwise 10 times.
    3. Change direction, turning it clockwise 10 times.
    4. Switch legs.

    *Knee circles*
    1. As with ankle circles, lift and bend the knee of your right leg so that your thigh is parallel to the ground.
    2. Point your toes to the ground, then rotate your entire lower leg anti-clockwise 10 times.
    3. Change direction, turning it clockwise 10 times.
    4. Switch legs.

    I normally start with the ankle circles and flow into the knee circles, first on the right side and then on the left. It’s also a good way to work on your balance and the strength of your muscles in your feet and calves. This is an exercise I learned in karate class, *years* ago, but it’s never let me down. Another way to strengthen your ankles and feet is by standing on a sofa or a bed (i.e. something soft) on one leg, tossing a ball from hand to hand. Yet another good exercise is to sit on a table and with your foot, form the shapes of the alphabet from A to Z. Harder than it sounds!

    If you’re already suffering with the pain of shin splints, I’d recommend gently stretching your calf muscles by standing on a step, balancing on the balls of your feet, and then lowering your heels to the ground. This is a lovely, lovely stretch.