Shin splint recovery continued!
I started feeling knee and shin pain on March 24 after a 6 mile downhill run. I was in denial at first, still cross training and throwing in a couple trail runs (softer surface) the next week, but at a massage appointment on March 31, my massage therapist confirmed it: shin splints. Gratefully, they weren’t TOO bad at that point, but the signs were there. I was determined to heal up as quickly as I could and get back to running!
I tried to do a bit of cross training (stationary bike, elliptical, strength training), but my legs were just tender, and not having it. I stopped. I did the things I shared in my last post (and a couple other things I shared in my last email newsletter). I rested. It was difficult. Stuff was also happening in my personal life and I didn’t have my normal outlet (running and exercise) to help me work through it.
I realized during a walk one day that I was feeling it more in parts of my knees, which made me even more nervous (shin splints I had dealt with before, but knee problems I had not). Even though I was concerned about my knees, it still felt nice to be able to narrow down the cause even more. Everything is connected, you know. So I started caring for my knees even more with KT Tape and icing—as opposed to focusing primarily on my shins, which were starting to feel better after the few days off.
While I was trying to fall asleep late one night, I picked up my phone and wrote out a training plan to still get the runs I wanted to in before my next race. I planned to take just over two full weeks off before starting to ease back into running (at the time of writing that plan, that still gave me just under two weeks remaining of no running). I looked at that training plan the next morning and was kicking myself for scheduling so much time off, but knew that this was still a wise plan to stick to.
*During this break, you should know that every day I was researching different races and training plans, getting excited to be back at it. Haha!
Last Monday morning—just a few days after I had written that training plan—my quads had a strange strain to them, but I still had the thought, “I’m going to run today.”
I didn’t expect this thought. According to the late-night plan I had written, I still had a full week of rest left. But when my intuition tells me something, I listen. I packed my running gear with me as I went off to work that day.
I can’t tell you how good it felt to run again. I chose a mostly-flat trail that I was familiar with, wore shoes that I knew my feet felt good in (I knew my shoes would affect my shins, knees, and everything else as well), took the pace very easy, and enjoyed every second. I had my good friend’s running playlist playing in my ears (a mix of gangster rap and alternative hits from a few years earlier, haha!), and the warm sun kissing my shoulders.
The next day I was on the ARC trainer at the gym. The day after that I did another trail run. Still taking it easy, still icing my legs after every exercise, still gently stretching and strengthening. But let me tell you, it feels so good.
I guess the point of this post is to tell you: your body knows best. If your body says “Something’s wrong,” then slow down and figure out what. If it says “I need rest,” then let your body rest. If your body says, “I can shake this out. Let’s give it a shot,” then it’s probably time to get moving.
In my limited experience, with any setback, I’ve always come back physically stronger, wiser in my training, and somehow even more enthusiastic about my training and the process than I was before! (And let’s hope that that experience proves to be true for every setback, in every area!)
It’s good to be back. I still don’t know what the plan is for this weekend or next week, but I’m grateful to be in this space of growth and potential.
Lastly, RUNNING IS SO MUCH FUN!! Haha