T Nation

Running Issues

So I have to start running again, not because I want to, but because I’m joining the military and I need to do it so that I can pass the fitness test. I have every other part of the test down so I’m not worried about it (pushups, situps, pullups).

Basically since I’ve tried to start running again I’ve gotten horrible shin splints, worse then I ever have. And I’ve ran dozens of 5k’s, did track/ cross country in high school, ran 12 mile races before, etc. These are to the point that afterwards the pain is so much that my legs are giving out on me, and my times are getting worse.

I expected this to an extent, because since my last race last September (the tough mudder run), I have jumped up in weight by nearly 50 pounds after hitting the gym and eating properly. So I’m assuming that a good reason I’m having such pain is because my body is not used to running with this extra mass, and on top of that I don’t have good running shoes right now (I’ll be trying to buy some soon).

The pain today started after the first 100 meters of my mile run, and I’d like to be able to get back up to around 3 or 4 miles every other day at a decent pace. Can anyone give me some workouts I could do for cardio to get myself running on all cylinders when it comes to longer distances?

You are having pain immediately after starting a run which means you are still acutely injured. Don’t run until this injury has healed, typically 8-12 weeks. If you continue to run on an injury it won’t get better. If you give it two weeks and decide it is healed (it won’t be), you will cause re-injury and set the healing clock back to zero. Do other things instead, such as walking and swimming. The reasons people get shin splints are many and varied, but it usually come down to weakness in the foot dorsiflexors and weakness and tightness in the hips, which leads to trouble downstream.

Heavy exercise causes muscles to shorten and ROM to decrease over time, unless stretching is incorporated into your routine. In my experience, weight lifters are loath to stretch properly, if at all. If you want to be a better runner and avoid further injury, get a real running coach. Look into yoga, too. Yoga has been a huge boon to my running and lifting. Do Not Run In Worn Out Shoes! Get yourself some good running shoes before running again, $125-$175. Get some good running socks, too, such as Feetures. Don’t run in cotton! Get some proper running gear; it will make a huge difference. Go to a running store for all of that, especially for the shoes.

Do whatever you can to get new shoes, and try running on a track in both directions for a while. Shorten your run, for atleast the first two weeks run walk in a no pain range. Walk a little before you run, and if you can ice/heat alternate your legs. You ahve a combination of a lot of bad things, the weight increase probably changed your form, as well as your muscles not being used to it, at the same time your starting off in new shoes, and you increased your mileage too much too soon. Cancel all of those and you’ll be fine but you need to fight the inflammation too. Get some fish oil.

What’s your timeframe for joining the military? If it’s anytime in the near future, I would recommend seeing a physical therapist. In some states, you might also need to see an orthopedic surgeon first before seeing the therapist. A therapist will be able to help you heal much more quickly than you would on your own, and he will also be able to pinpoint the underlying problems and give you stretches and exercises to correct them. If you weren’t joining the military then you’d have the time to figure this out on your own. You’ll do a lot of running in boot camp though, so it’s probably best to get the underlying problems sorted out before you join.

You might want to think about using an elliptical machine (if it doesn’t cause pain) or bicycling in the interim until your shin splints are healed.

Thanks for all the responses, I’ve been using an elliptical every other day or so. There’s no pain when I use that. And I don’t have pain when I’m walking, unless it’s long distances, and even then it’s very little pain, just a little ache.

I will admit I did very little stretching or warming up before my runs (stupid, I know), so that probably contributed.

As for the military, I have a long time. I have yet to take the ASVAB or take my physical, and then I could have 6-8 months after that to further prepare. I’m for sure joining, I’m just at the beginning stages.

I offer the following suggestions:

  1. Don’t run in conventional running shoes. Switch to Vibrams or something similar and make a very gradual transition, starting with an alternating run/walk sequence.

  2. Don’t try to put in a lot of miles. Instead, take a high intensity approach, running the distance of the fitness test all-out and repeating once every few days. This alone will get you as fit as you need to be in order to pass.

This is what I had planned on doing in a couple weeks, after resting and letting myself heal. Get my body used to the activity.

I actually really like this idea, I’ll try it after getting myself up to the level I need to be so I can do the distance without any pain.

Appreciate the comment.

Running hard every run is just asking to get hurt.

Run hard one day, long and easy another and easy a third day.

What is your height and weight?

Shoes are very important. Go to a running store and have them watch you run and then help you pick out a shoe.

Do you have to run a certain time and distance?

I’m 6’3 and 193lbs

1.5 miles in around 11:30, which I can do. But the better time you get, the better score you get. I don’t want to just pass, I want to be in the top 10% and get a ribbon for being one of the best.

I’m 6’3 and 193 pounds.

And it’s 1.5 miles in around 11:30. But I want to get the best time possible.

You’re not a track athlete but you jumped into the run volume like you still were so no wonder you got hurt. Swallow the pride, take some time off and start back with a run program.

Dumb double post.

And that’s the current plan. I just had no idea that my weight gain would effect my ability to run as much as it did. I’ve always been a naturally good runner. So I have to go back and build up the absolute basics that I never really had to work on before.

50 pounds is a lot of weight when you are running.

I assume you are young so you should still be able to get faster at that weight.

So a bit of an update almost a month later. I took a few weeks off and now I’ve been back at it for a few weeks starting slow. Walked for longer distances and then added in a little running as I went along. Now I’m walking for 5 minutes, running for 2, walking for 5, running for 2, and walking for 5, all at a decent pace with no pain. I’m already running a third of a mile or so in those 2 minutes. I still haven’t gotten my hands on running shoes, but I should have some in the next couple weeks.

Every week or two I’ll increase the amount of time I’ll be running, and I’ve got a good balance with my weightlifting to where I feel I’m not killing myself. I leave for basic sometime after January 1st, so that gives me some time to get up to a good time and pace for a mile and a half.

Glad to hear your are feeling better. A nice trick I learned, to help avoid getting shin splints in the future, is to periodically (three times a week, say), walk about fifty yards on your heals. This will strengthen the hell out of your front shin muscles, and help avoid shin splints.

Also, warm up and stretch your shins before every run.


your anterior tibialis islikely tight and/or weak
soleus is most likely inhibited
ankle mobility is likely compromised

get ART or put up with it for the rest of your life

You have plenty of time so just stay on the program. Most guys I know who go into basic with blazing speed actually decondition because all the group runs are at lowest common denominator speed.

Running through pain is one of the main reasons why running and runners get shitted on. Keep in mind that when you start boot camp, you’ll likely be rucking, not running or jogging, up to 5 miles daily. This is with roughly 70lbs on your back. Aka, the shin destroyer.

Babying your shit right now is not gonna fly when it comes to the real thing. Your drill sergeant won’t give a flying fuck that your shins hurt and feel like they’re gonna snap.

[quote]JRT6 wrote:
You have plenty of time so just stay on the program. Most guys I know who go into basic with blazing speed actually decondition because all the group runs are at lowest common denominator speed.[/quote]

Well if I can go in, do well on the PFT and have PT be easy and a stress reliever then that’s perfectly fine with me.

[quote]Jarvan wrote:
Keep in mind that when you start boot camp, you’ll likely be rucking, not running or jogging, up to 5 miles daily. This is with roughly 70lbs on your back. Aka, the shin destroyer. [/quote]

I’ll be joining the Air Force, from what I’ve read the PT is separated into strength one day and aerobic the next. So one day is running while the other is pushups, situps, pullups, and sprints. At least, that’s what I’ve read and what I’ve been told. Not sure if there’s rucking in there or not but I’ll try to do something like that to prepare.

I’m used to training through pain, I can do it if I want, I’d just prefer to enter basic training without having something holding me back a little. If I can go in with good conditioning, strength, and no shin splints making me hate morning PT then I’ll do my best.