The key to building mass is giving your muscles the chance to repair after breaking them down. Workout diversity is a must; a little cardio is important to balance out your strength training. Running is a great weight-bearing cardio workout. Except when you have shin splints – then it’s just a pain in your shins.
There are a few things you can do to make the most of every run without experiencing shin splints. It’s all in your training strategy, your form, and your gear.
PREVENTION TIP #1: DON’T GO ALL IN TOO SOON
One of the most common reasons people get shin splints is because they go too far, too fast. Just like lifting weights or doing full-body strength training, you have to ease into running. You can’t just go out and run five miles three days in a row without facing the consequences. Start slow and gradually work your way up to longer distances at a quicker pace. Give your shins some time to adjust to all that new stress you’re putting on the surrounding muscles and bones.
PREVENTION TIP #2: RUN RIGHT
Running on your toes? You’re more likely to get shin splints. Running on your heels? Try again. The best way to run is to let your weight come down mid-foot. This way, you’re not putting too much stress on your shins as you pound the pavement with the front of your feet. You’ll also prevent sore calf muscles, which often occur when runners strike with the back of the foot. This can take some getting used to, so pay close attention to your stride as you run. If you notice you’re falling back into bad habits, correct it and keep going.
PREVENTION TIP #3: GET THE RIGHT SHOES
Shoes aren’t just for show (okay, maybe a little). Choosing the right running shoe is important for preventing injuries like shin splints. Make sure your shoes give appropriate support to cushion some of the impact of your feet hitting the ground repeatedly. If you can, head to a running store, where someone can help you pick out the right shoes for you. And don’t run in worn-out shoes. Ever. Replace your shoes either every year or every 300 miles, depending on how often you run.