Shin Splints for the first time ever - VLM Training

I am currently training my first Marathon, the London marathon and last week I ran 31 miles. Last night I went out running and for the first time ever I suffered from shin splints. It was just above the ankle in my right leg. It was a bit sore while running and a niggling pain last night after running and in bed last night. Now after the run I iced the area and took some Nurofean, but with the London Marathon just one month away now is there any advice please as to what else I can do to prevent the injury or to at least make sure the injury doesn't get any worse?


  • Rest from the constant impact and ice regularly. Cross train for a few days to keep up the cardio side of thing (row / eliptical / swim / spin). What you don't want to do is recover, and then pound out 30 miles on tarmac the next week - build up with some short runs on grass / trail / treadmill and then start mixing back in the tarmac miles.

    Stretching and strengthening the shins / calves should be a priority

  • I agree with Also-ran. I would cross train as much as possible over the next few weeks. Keep up the cardio fitness and hope you have enough running miles in the bank already to get you round the marathon. Rest from the impact is the key.
  • Nose NowtNose Nowt ✭✭✭

    Yep.  Have a few days away from running... and hit the rowing machine or bike.  When you get back to running, take the above advice and ease into it a bit, whilst exchanging some of your runs for this cross training.

    Keep up your icing post-run.  Also, before you run, get the heel of your hand and spend a good 5 minutes working the affected area... thoroughly warming it up.

    It's a bit late for changing your design of shoe... but is there a possibility that your running shoes have worn out.  After 500 miles (lower if you're heavy), the support/stability you get from your shoe starts to deteriorate, and if you are, for example, an overpronator, then you could be introducing a twisting motion to your shin, which might not help.   500 miles can easily be reached in 6 months or less when marathon training.   If you think there might be something in this, then it's not too late to get a new pair - but I'd recommend you keep to the same design.

  • Thank you all for the advice. I was going out for a 6mile run tomorrow night, but will now be running on the treadmill instead.

    I normally do 4 runs a week and 1 of them is on the treadmill. I think for now I will be doing 2-3 runs a week on the treadmill and maybe just the long run at the weekend on the road. I will keep regularly iceing the shin and stretching my calfs. As for the running shoes they should still be ok as I only bought them in mid January.

  • Nose NowtNose Nowt ✭✭✭

    Also-ran is knowledgable... but I'm not sure about treadmill.  Maye if it's a really good one, with shock absorbing capablitity.

    My instinct would be to think that on a treadmill, you get no variation in forces on you leg. Every step is essentially the same (which I'd have thought has some risk associated with it.)... whereas outside, you get more variation, unless you are running on a perfectly flat surface, with no curbs or anything to break your stride at all.  

    Just a hunch really. So don't take this a gospel!

  • I think the advice was to start back slowly on more forgiving surfaces like grass. Treadmills have easier surfaces than concrete and tarmac.

    You're a funny one Run Wales. I love that most of your posts start with " I have no idea" or "I don't know" or end with "don't take this as gospel" but then go on to give an opinion or criticise someone else's. Carry on amusing me old bean. No offence.
  • Run Wales

    I knackered my right shin earlier this year doing intervals on the road. After recovery I did a bit on grass and trail. I recovered well but needed a forgiving, fast surface for intervals/threshold runs - my local running track  is a bog in winter, and I'm not going to repeat my error.

    I bit the bullet and joined a gym. Treadmills have been great to avoid tarmac while running faster sessions. I see it as no difference to a decent track surface - no variation, with the benefit of not running anti-clockwise for ages and bringing back on ITBS. But that's for another injury thread!

  • Morning all. I've had pain in my lower shin for a week now (since finishing 11.5 miler last Friday). I think it's a muscle pain rather than shin splints or stress fracture. I took 3 days off then did 5 miles (gentle) on Tuesday, another day off, then 5.5 (fast) yesterday.

    I'm doing the London marathon in a month, and would usually be running 25-30 miles midweek, plus a long run on Sunday, but have eased off, because of injury (which is incredibly frustrating!!)

    I'm keen to do 16-17 miles this weekend, but not sure if it's wise. Advice and expertise would be welcomed. Thanks in advance.

  • All of the above is pretty sound advice.

    With VLM panting down your neck and the need to train, try to up your cadence a little and certainly don't be tempted to over stride.

    Small steps go a long way...

  • Thank you all for the advice. I went to the gym last Friday night. The plan was to run 6 miles, but I had to stop after 2 miles as the pain in my right shin was too bad. I then did 20 mins on the X trainer. To be honest was feeling very down Friday night with thoughts that my London Marathon challenge was over. I went to the gym again on Sunday and did a really good general workout for a couple of hours, x trainer, bike, rower and then at the end just did a slow 1 mile running on the treadmill to test my shin. Sadly again the pain was too much to run any more than that. Over the weekend I was doing a regular round of iceing, stretching and massaging the shin.

    So last night I went to see the physio. She says I have a form of shin splints in my right shin. The shin is now all strapped up and a further three sessions with the physio are already booked in. She has told me not to do any more running until she gives me the go ahead, so back up the gym again tonight for a general workout to try to keep my fitness up. Still doing iceing and stretching on the shin.

    It’s not ideal not being able to do any running at the moment, but at least the problem is now starting to be treated and my physio believes I will make it too the start line for the London Marathon. So thankfully my London Marathon goal is still on.

  • I hope my experience will help boost your spirits. I developed shin splints five weeks before the London marathon (my first marathon) in 2009. I did ONE run during that five weeks which was an easy 10 miler.

    The preparation wasn't great and I nearly had a nervous breakdown, but I made the start line. And the finish line. Pain free.

    As others have said, cross train, ice and rest. My pyhsio worked wonders to get me to the start, and although I was slower than hoped, I still finished a "marathon runner".

    Good luck!

  • Hi all, another one here with shin pain. Had nearly a week off resting it. Tried round the block yesterday, still really sore. I've got VLM looming too. Very stressed out about it.
  • Not sure if going down the shin splint route, but have developed pain from left heal to knee when out running not on all runs despite stopping and strtching.  Ran 10miles this morning and had pain up until the first five and then it seemed to go?

    My trainers are fine, any advice would be appreciated?   Got my first ulta next sunday of 40 miles so not sure on that at the mo.

  • I had terrible bilateral shin splints after simply doing too much before Berlin Mara 2006. I'd been on about 50 miles per week for ages but had sneakedit up to 60-70 for a couple of weeks before shin splints came without any warning I'd noticed...

    Needed 3 full weeks of no running then a bit of gentle running in final 2 weeks. I swam a lot instead and still did the Mara.

    Needed quite a recovery period after mind you!
  • Well two weeks after I suffered my shin splints I attempted to run again. The first couple of runs were horrible as I had zero confidence in my right shin and I was getting all these weird twinges and feelings around the shin area. Thankfully over the period of the two weeks I had from running again to the London Marathon, the shin became less uncomfortable.

    On Sunday I was on the start line off the London Marathon with my leg all strapped up and wearing a pair of knee length compression socks, which I had found had helped to make the shin feel more comfortable and I am very happy to report that I completed the Marathon and in a time of 4 hrs 56 mins. Under the 5 hr barrier, which I am massively happy with.

    Thank you all once again for your advice about the treatment of my injury.

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