Monthly Archives: August 2022

Solutions for Shin Splints

Shin splints are an annoying injury that almost every runner faces at some point during their career.  Whether you’re a 2:30 marathoner or 45 minute 5k racer, it’s one problem no one wants to face.  Identified by throbbing shin bones when running or walking, shin splints are a painful and hobbling nuisance.  Luckily, once you’ve ruled out a stress fracture, the solution can often be a simple and easy one.  Here are three simple fixes for shin splints that Team ECRP uses over and over again to keep runners moving.

Test your shoelaces.  Sometimes the quickest way to get to the root shin splintsof your shin pain is to check the things on your feet.  Connected to your ankle and therefore your shin bone, anything awry with your foot can lead to serious problems anywhere above it.  How?  Our feet shin splintsflex to absorb impact every time we land, they move around to help us balance and are how power goes from our bodies to the ground.  If our shoes are tied too tightly we take that away from them.

Fix:  Make sure you can fit at least a finger under all of your laces except the top one.  Try different lacing styles based on your foot type.  Kicking those shin splints could be as simple as letting your feet do their jobs.

Gait Analysis: OK, it’s not the laces.  You tried loosening them and nothing changed.  The next step is to have your gait checked out.  Serious heel striking or over striding with a locked out ankle can send shock waves right up those fragile shin bones every single step.  Have a qualified coach watch to help determine if the way you run could be causing yourshin splints problem.

Fix:  Work towards shorter, softer steps.  Not all heel striking is bad but all over striding is sure to cause some trouble.  Film yourself and work with a coach to treat the source, not just the symptom.

Strength Training:  We always want to treat the source of an injury so it doesn’t happen again.  That makes the gait analysis mentioned above a key component of healing your hurting shins since weak hips or poor posture can lead to lots of problems below the knee.  Proper strength training will help prevent the overuse that typically leads to torn up shins.

Fix:  Work with a coach or trainer to develop a plan that includes runner specific strength work and a gradual build up of mileage.

A completely avoidable injury, don’t let shin splints won’t sideline you again.

Coach Meredith

Workout of the Month – 400M Repeats

Welcome to August’s Workout of the Month, 400M Repeats!

This month we’ll cover a classic track session that everyone loves to hate, 400M repeats. This is a great workout for runners of all levels and can be ramped up or down based on your goals. Are you starting to get fit or increasing speed, maybe you’re working on lactate tolerance or maintaining 5k pace. No matter what your race day goal is, the variety with this workout provides will help you reach it.

Why to do it
To build speed and strength, to run race pace specific work. To build pure speed or to increase lactate tolerance. Each of these is a powerful tool depending on the event you’re training for and where you are in your training cycle. These are also fun workouts and you’ll enjoy performing whatever style you choose.

400M repeat

When to do it
After you’ve trained to train. That means you should have a solid base of mileage and your body should be prepared for hard work. To develop speed, run fast with longer rest whereas if you want a race pace workout, run at race pace with slower running rest.

What to do
Start with a solid warm up before you hit the hard stuff. A good warm up can be anywhere from 1 to 3 miles or 15 to 25 minutes. Be sure to include drills and strides to get your legs ready for some serious work. From there, you can choose from two kinds of 400M repeats: one for speed and one for endurance.

Speed: Complete between 8 and 12 x 400M runs with 2 minutes rest. Focus on consistency during this workout because it will get harder to maintain your goal pace as the reps build up. Adding reps, decreasing rest time or increasing goal pace will also raise the session’s intensity. Changing the intensity introduces a new challenge and provides a stimulus that helps your body continue to adapt.

Endurance: Alternations are 400M at 5k pace with a 400M jog at steady pace. Steady pace is not a slow jog but easy enough that you feel reasonably recovered. The key to alternating 400M workouts are that they don’t provide a full recovery. This teaches your body to tolerate more and more lactate, work hard when it’s tired and is great for developing your threshold from half marathon down to 5k pace.

Once you’ve completed your sets, cool down with a light jog and some stretching. Make sure you hydrate and have some protein within two hours of finishing your session, too.

Want to know more about how to fit 400M repeats into your plan? Reach out to a qualified coach who can help you achieve your goals while staying happy and healthy.

Coach Meredith

Cross-Training: Cycling for Runners

Cross training is an important part of any effective training program.  OK, what kind and how often should it be done?  The answer depends on you as an individual athlete but here are a few reasons you might want to give cycling a try.

Cadence.  Running at an appropriate running cadence has big benefits.  Hitting 180 steps per minute can reduce injury risk, increase speed and create more efficient movement.  It’s a lot easier to hit that rate of turnover when you’re cycling than when you’re running, especially in the beginning.  Pedal at 180RPM or more to train your nervous system for faster leg movements then watch it happen on your next run. cycling

Muscles.  Pedaling away for an hour doesn’t work muscles the same way as running.  Instead, it builds complimentary muscles that help turnover and strengthen your core.  While both sports use your quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes and calves, cycling is a different movement with different muscle fiber firing demands.  Giving those muscle groups a different job makes them more adaptable and able to tackle tough challenges.

Low Impact.  Cycling is a low impact sport.  It builds cardiovascular fitness without pounding your bones on the road and gives your body a break.  That will help it heal and relax and that’s a huge plus for recovery.  Riding a bike is also a good tool when you’re coming back from an injury.  It keeps you fit without opening you up to the chance of re-injury.

Options.  Picking a bike as your cross training tool gives you lots of choices.  You can take an indoor cycling class with your best runner friends or hit the trails on your mountain bike for some peace and quiet.  Try intervals on the road or a long slow ride to lunch and back.  As long as you have a helmet and some reflective gear, you’re good to go wherever your heart desires.

So grab your bike from the garage and go for a ride!  Find that next spin class at your local studio or set up an on-demand class at home.  It’ll be worth it when your body and your next race will thank you.

Coach Meredith