Sunday, February 20, 2011

Ouch! Shin Splints

In the middle of my training for the Publix Georgia Half-Marathon, the dreaded shin split struck. I’ve never encountered a shin split before so it threw me for a loop. A week of rest didn’t solve the problem like I hoped. After a bit of web research (thanks Google), I’ve discovered that there are quite a few factors that can trigger shin splits:

• Running on hard surfaces or uneven ground (yep, that’s me)
• Increasing exercise intensity or duration too quickly (that’s likely a culprit too)
• Excessive uphill or downhill running (hard to avoid in Atlanta)
• Worn out or ill-fitted shoes (hmm, that could be a factor too)
• Biometric issues, like flat feet, over-pronation, landing on the balls of your feet or pointing your toes outward (I’m sure one of those are a contributor)

I’ve decided to continue with my training and learn what I can about treating this type of injury. After the first couple miles, the discomfort subsides and the resulting pain isn’t debilitating. As a mom, I’ve certainly endured worst.

Here are some tips that I’ve found about recovery:
• Apply ice or a cold compression to reduce inflammation
• Use a heating pad and massage the leg muscles
• Wear shock-absorbing insoles
• Apply compression – you can do this by taping the leg or wearing a compression sock

With the big race scheduled for March 20, there are only a few weeks left to spend on long runs. Until then, I’ll just grin and bear it. If you’ve got any good tips, please share – I’m always looking for advice.

This week’s route is the 8.5-mile run from West Stride:

• From West Stride, run through the parking lot towards West Paces Ferry
• Turn left on West Paces Ferry (watch for traffic)
• Turn left on Northside Drive
• Turn right on Valley Road
• Go straight at Tuxedo Road
• Cross Habersham
• Turn right on West Paces Ferry (watch for traffic)
• Turn right at Chatham Road
• Turn left at Habersham
• Turn right at Knollwood Road
• Turn right Tuxedo Road
• Make a U-turn on Valley Road (reverse and stay on Tuxedo)
• Turn left on Tuxedo Road
• Turn right on West Paces Ferry (watch for traffic) and return to store

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Sometimes, You Just Have to Run

2011 has brought an interesting mix of weather. From record snow and ice to spring-like temperatures – it can be hard to predict what Mother Nature has in store for Atlanta. Thus far this week, it’s been cool, rainy days. Not ideal running weather, but when you’re training for a race, sometimes that just doesn’t matter. I stay pretty busy at work and find it hard to fit in my runs during the week. For me, an outdoor run is the only real option – treadmills are like waterboarding – pure torture. Facing a business trip this week without any real prospects to run, I hit the road at 6 p.m. for a dark, rainy outing. And it was worth it. I quickly forgot about the weather and settled in to a quiet, easy run. A friend of mine on the trip woke up at 4:30 a.m. to get a run in before heading to the airport. Runners are a determined bunch. Regardless of the daily challenges we face, we always figure out a way to get out for a run.

Are you training for the Publix Georgia Half-Marathon? If so, here’s one of my favorite training routes. Enjoy.

Decatur to Little Five Points – 8 Miles
• Start at the Fellini’s on Commerce and Sycamore Place
• Head towards Howard Street, turn right on Howard
• On Howard, pass Decatur H.S. and the East Lake Marta Station
• Turn right on Ridgewood (after crossing the train tracks)
• Turn left on McClendon Drive
• Turn right on Moreland Ave.
• Turn right on Ponce de Leon Ave.
• Follow Ponce into Decatur
• Run through Downtown Decatur
• Turn right on Commerce Ave.
• End at Fellini’s