That sharp, biting pain near your shins is no laughing matter. It happens when you overstress your lower legs and can be so unbearable that you have to stop midrun ¡ª?or worse ¡ª take a break from running altogether. Runners can experience shin splints for a variety of reasons including moving runs from a treadmill to the outdoors, increasing mileage, or improper running form. Doing this shin-strengthening exercise is one way to prevent this issue when you’re not running, but there’s also a way to help prevent shin splints during the run itself.
Heel striking (where your heel makes contact with the ground first) may feel natural for you, but it’s also easier to overstride in this foot strike, causing the body to place extra stress on the joints and lower leg muscles. You can avoid using your joints as shock absorbers with this simple tip from celebrity trainer and TomTom Cardio running expert Joel Harper. While running, he suggests to picture your knees and ankles like springs, then “imagine you are [running] on a sheet of glass and you don’t want to break it.” With each step, think of yourself as floating rather than pounding. “Try to strike as lightly as possible without making any noise,” Joel says. If this seems impossible, focus on landing on your midfoot, which can help you feel lighter when you run. Adopting a new foot strike may seem hard, but with time, it will become more natural, helping to prevent other running-related injuries.
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