You don’t think about your shins until they hurt. And by then, you could be looking at some major downtime. A recent study found that it takes, on average, 71 days to rehab shin splints. Shin splints (the term for pain that occurs on the front outside part of the lower leg) often occurs when your legs are overworked. That’s sometimes from a jump in mileage. And sometimes because your shins pick up the slack for body parts that are weak. Protect yourself by strengthening your feet, ankles, calves, and hips, which support your shins. Do two to three sets of 10 to 15 reps daily (but not before a run, you don’t want to over fatigue your lower limb muscles):
Stand with feet hip-width apart at the edge of a towel. With the toes of your left foot, gather the towel and slowly pull it toward you. Return to start and repeat with the other foot.
With feet shoulder-width apart, place a resistance band around your thighs and step forward and toward the right with your right leg. Bring your left leg up to meet your right, then step out toward the left. Then walk backward in the same way to return to the start. Repeat.
Stand on your toes on the edge of a step. Shift your weight to your right leg, take your left foot off the step, and lower your right heel down. Return to start, and then repeat with your left leg.
Lie on your back with your arms out to the sides, knees bent, and feet flat on the floor. Squeeze your glutes to lift your hips up off the floor. Extend your left leg out and hold for 30 seconds (work up to 60-second holds), then lower it. Repeat with your other leg.
Here are some tips that will help alleviate your shin pain:
Massage with Ice
Freeze a paper cup filled with water, tear off the top edge of the cup, and massage with comfortable pressure along the inside of the shinbone for 10 to 15 minutes after running to reduce inflammation of the shin splints.
Stretch & Rest
Loosen up tight calves and Achilles tendons–both can contribute to shin splints. Reduce running mileage and do low-impact cross-training (biking, swimming, elliptical) instead. When you resume your training, ease in gradually. Too much too soon could cause a relapse.
One of the most common questions I am asked by runners of all standards is “What part of the foot should I land on?”. This is also the topics of many running articles, theories, advertising campaigns and debates.
My short answer, which surprises 99% of people is..
“It doesn’t matter”
Which part of the foot touches the ground first is not a reflection of good technique. It is entirely possible – and unfortunately quite common, for people to land on the ‘right’ part of the foot and still have poor technique or be creating injury inducing stresses or loads. The most common of these are people that focus on landing on the toes or front forefoot. It is quite easy to land on this part of the foot with zero knee lift and be essentially jamming the foot into the ground. Watch the last couple of km of Dennis Kimetto’s WR marathon, and at least some of the time you would say he’s almost heel striking.
Yet the runner thinks they are running correctly ’cause they are landing on their toes’. Blisters around the ball of the foot or bruised toes are normally a give away as the foot ‘brakes’ into the ground moving in the shoes against the direction of travel – and constantly applying brakes in a run is never a good thing for your body or run time.
The long answer to the question “Which part of the foot I should land on?” is that if the rest of the mechanics of the run are correct then your foot really has no choice about where it lands. Good knee lift (note the word ‘lift’ – not push), good extension through through the hips, square chest with lack of shoulder twisting etc means that the foot will typically land around the mid foot. Try running like this (focussing on knee, hips etc) and try to land on your heels – it is virtually impossible.
I encourage running on the spot to focus on the correct technique and striking directly under the hips.
So, rather than focus on the foot strike spend your time analysing the main area of your run technique – knee, chest and hip position and your foot strike will quite literally fall into place.
By the way – for the triathletes. What I have found is that when technique is correct, the part of the foot that hits the ground is exactly the same as the position of the pedal axle when a bike fit is correctly performed.
Send us a message or leave a comment and let us know if you have any questions! We all have our own thoughts on the matter, and we all have something different that suits us.
See what’s up next week for our #RunFormFriday tip! For more in depth understanding on how to put this into practise, get in touch and we’ll see how we can help!
This might seem strange to some people who predominantly race in open water – and therefore have no turns. But maintaining a good streamline throughout your pool training will massively aid your overall swimming – and as a result your race speed. There are several very sensible reasons for this:
When you push off the wall, you shouldbe moving faster than you can at any other point in your swim. Bar none. Whether you are joe bloggs novice swimmer and learning, or Michael Phelps, you should be able to generate more speed from a start or turn than when you are swimming. This is a simple fact of physics; due to the inherently inefficient nature of propelling yourself through water, a good push off the wall will carry more power. Obviously this is only useful to you if you get into a good streamline position, otherwise as on the bike you will just cause more resistance!
Use Your Strengths
Being a triathlete, you’re most likely to have strong glutes and quads from cycling and running. And if you are doing squats as part of your strength routine, you’re halfway toward a good push off.
Or getting more of a rest – depending on which way you look at it! Even without kicking a good streamline means you should be able to make 5m off the wall. In most cases, this means only 20m left to swim. If you find swimming tough, then take advantage of the boosts each length so that you have to swim less. If you are a stronger/faster swimmer, use the turns to your advantage to make sure each length you swim is quality. By having more turns, you can make sure you reset your technique each length. A good streamline will even help set you up for the length feeling good and strong. Remember, that 3-5m of not swimming is negligible, it won’t impact negatively on your training.
[clickandtweet handle=”” hashtag=”” related=”” layout=”” position=””]A good streamline is not “cheating”. Its a great way of making your swim stronger & faster.[/clickandtweet]
Gaining A Good Streamline
A good push off is like a squat jump on dry land. Because you’re weightless in the water, there isn’t the fatigue that is associated, so you can really make the most of this.
How to get a good, tight, fast streamline
As you leave the wall, your body should be pulled in tight – your core “set” and your hands stretched out above your head. Ideally your ears should be between or just below your shoulders, arms tight against against your head. If flexibility allows, then one hand should be on top of the other, pulling the body taught. When teaching young children, you would teach them to push off like rockets – the idea still holds true even if the imagery changes!
Try it yourself. See how far/fast you push off the wall ordinarily, then try really tightening things up and really focussing on that streamline. Remember, if you hold a good streamline and shape, then you are automatically in a better position to start swimming, and maintaining your speed off the wall. And if you get used to swimming fast between the walls, then you’ll be ready to swim even faster in a wetsuit.
Take your time with learning this – as with any skill. The point is that drills are there to make you smoother, stronger, more efficient. Make sure you hit all those target points!
If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to get in touch; either by email, facebook or leave a comment on here!