According to PodRunner Intervals, the 5K is the most popular race in the world. As such, Cool Running developed a popular Couth-to-5k running program that inspired beginning runners all over the world to abandon their potato munching ways in favor of the pavement.
As a former aerobics instructor, I was inspired to get fit again and persuaded my husband to join me in the quest. Yet by day three, every run or speed walk resulted in his shins feeling as if they were literally on fire. This feeling along with shin splints is a common complaint among beginning runners but can be overcome with a few steps.
1. Never stretch cold muscles. After the warm-up, and especially after a running workout, kneel on the floor with toes relaxed and slowly lean back towards the toes. Stop at any signs of pain, but work towards being able to lightly relax onto the feet while the shins are being stretched.
2. Practice building up endurance by walking on the heels of the feet several times a day. Stretch the calves after each practice.
3. When the shins release any fire-like warnings during a workout, lift the knees while walking for a few seconds to allow the toe to point downward and relax the shin. Shake out the legs, and then proceed to continue exercising at a slower pace. The muscles will gradually adapt and cease to cause pain during the workout.
4. Ensure that the running shoes have adequate support and cushioning. Experiment with different shoe inserts until the shoe itself feels comfortable for long periods of time. Don’t hesitate to replace running shoes between three and six months of use if shin pains begin to reoccur.