If Your Shins Hurt When Running, Read This

No pain| no gain? No way! Even though exercising is supposed to be good for the body| it doesn’t always feel good. Shin pain is a common complaint when running. If it’s excruciating| you definitely do not want to run through it. But if you’re experiencing a little discomfort on the front of your legs and you don’t want to end your workout| try these four techniques to ease shin pain.

    Use a tree: Sometimes all you need is a little time to stretch out the muscles in the lower legs. Do this standing quad stretch that will also stretch the shins| and using a tree| wall| or curb| do this calf stretch. Do both legs and repeat one to three times.DIY foam roll: Since you obviously didn’t bring a foam roller on your run| use the heel of your palm to rub the shin from just below the knee toward the ankle| then reverse the direction| moving toward the knee| pressing firmly and slowly. Repeat one to three times| doing both legs. This little self-massage feels amazing. Run differently: If you’re prone to heel striking| which means you land on the heel of your foot with each step| that can overwork the shins| causing pain. Really focus on landing on the midfoot instead. If you’re already doing that| take 30 to 60 seconds to purposely run landing on the balls of the feet| almost like your tiptoe running. This will put more emphasis on the calves| giving your shins a break. Lengthening your stride (taking bigger steps) while doing this can make this easier and encourage you to land softer and more gazelle-like. After 30 to 60 seconds| go back to running normally. Go soft: Taking softer steps is helpful| but you can cushion the blow even more by running on softer surfaces. Try moving off the sidewalk or street to the grass or a dirt trail. Walk-run: If those things don’t work| before throwing in the towel| turn your run into a walk-run. That means run for three minutes| walk for one. Or if that’s too much| shorten the running interval to one minute. Walking will give your shins time to recover.

If all of these don’t work| your shin pain may be trying to tell you something. Ask yourself these questions to get to the root of the pain.

Have I increased my mileage too much| too soon? A good rule of thumb is to follow the 10 percent rule| and if you have an upcoming race| be sure to follow a training program that gives you enough time to gradually increase mileage while giving you time during the week to cross-train. This half-marathon training schedule and this marathon plan are at least four months long. Am I wearing the right sneaker to offer the most stability and support I need? These sneaker buying tips are perfect to take with you to the store.Am I in need of new sneakers? If it’s been over 500 miles| the answer is absolutely yes. Do I strengthen my lower legs outside of running? This seated dumbbell exercise is a must.Do I remember to stretch after a run? These postrun yoga poses not only target the lower legs| but the hips and lower back as well.Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Kat Borchart