Today we’re featuring an Ask the FBGs post from reader Shannon. Shannon’s original question had us (and her) looking for more info, so we’ve included the full exchange to hopefully help any one else with a similar issue!
I’m in my 5th year at the University of Tennessee—a campus that is known for its rolling hills. Just for quick background, I was a competitive cheerleader in high school, so I was in awesome shape. To top that off, the team I was on was the highest in my gym, so we were under extra pressure and had team personal training and extra practices to make sure we were our best. In other words, we worked our butts off. I aged out when I went to college, so I started running with my boyfriend. We usually did a 5K, and then I’d do about 10 standing tucks (backflips) afterward but it just didn’t feel like enough. I have done lots of races: 5Ks, 10Ks, a half marathon (when I was a sophomore, I got up after a night of drinking with four hours of sleep and ran 11 miles in the mountains—one of my best/harshest memories!).
I moved to Wisconsin in the winter and stopped running because I despise treadmills and the weather was not conducive to outdoor running. When I moved back to Tennessee, I had started smoking (gross, I know), only ran once every couple of weeks or so, and it dwindled from there to once every few months or less. I also packed on the pounds. I have about 60 to lose that I gained in a ridiculously short amount of time.
Anyway, I’m doing the Couch to 5K program, and I’m about to do my last run of the second week. I am fully aware that I am out of shape, but the hardest thing about the running is the shin splints I get! I now carry around a tube of Icy Hot in my purse at all times. Sometimes the running actually helps my shin splints, but sometimes (like this morning) it makes them worse, and it’s especially painful in my right tibia. Do you guys have any advice on what to do? I wear shoes for overpronators, I don’t pound the pavement, and I stretch a little before running. Like I said, I used to be a runner, so I am pretty aware if I’m doing something terribly wrong, but it’s just not obvious to me what’s going on.
I need help from FBG!
You poor thing! It sounds like maybe you’re doing too much too soon, and we’d recommend taking time off from running (could you cross-train in the pool or on the elliptical without pain?). You might also want to try icing your shins every two to three hours for 20 minutes, but I’d like you to get an expert’s opinion on it. (You could have a stress fracture, or just need to strengthen your shins.)
Sorry this answer isn’t more complete—if it’s bad, you should totally go see a doctor!