January 5 – The Home Stretch

So, the moral to this story is to stretch and to respect your body’s limits.

Back to the gym for me today. My legs were so sore that I had terrible pace times. I even jogged quite a bit, but when I walked my shin splints were so bad that my pace was close to 20 minutes per mile. My 5K took me almost an hour to complete. The pain, at times, was almost unbearable. It was probably running on that treadmill the day before that hurt so bad. I won’t do that again.

If you’ve ever had shin splints, they hurt a lot. I have shin splints on the outside of my legs (anterior shin splints) and likely have Compartment Syndrome that can only be fully corrected with surgery.

My solution is to stretch, which I should have done before I started my workout. Calf stretches and flexing in both directions is usually the remedy for that horrible pain. Alas, I didn’t take the five minutes required for injury prevention.

Here are two useful links on shin splints if you experience them:

Runner’s World

WebMD

The most often cited remedy is to stop running and cross-train. I disagree. If I stop running and walking, I’ll just experience the same problem all over again. I’m not willing to do that. My fix is to take five minutes and perform the proper stretches, which does work. Calf stretches work for medial (not anterior) shin splints, but I do them anyway as an opposite stretch for my calves.

Shin Splint Stretch The stretch I do for my shin splints is odd and I’m sure it isn’t in the book, but I sit on the floor with my legs folded to the side and behind me. A lot of little kids sit this way when they play. I can’t fully explain or illustrate the position, but found out that it is actually a Yoga pose. See the picture to the right. Who knew that I knew a Yoga pose. Impressive.

Don’t get me wrong, that pose is painful to do. It is for me anyway, so if you experience quite a bit of pain, you can raise up a bit to relieve it until your muscles relax. Hold the pose–never bounce when you exercise–it’s not good for you, although you will see people bouncing their exercises. It causes injuries and muscle fatigue. Just don’t do it.

To assist with my pain, Melissa grabbed a marble rolling pin and rolled my outer shin muscles, which was almost as painful as the soreness and pain of the shin splints, but it helped. So, the moral to this story is to stretch and to respect your body’s limits. Pain tells you to stop doing whatever is causing the pain. The old, “No pain, no gain” saying is nonsense.

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