Preparing for Second Marathon – Weeks 1-4, Shin Splints

I decided to participate in the Auroville marathon after successfully completing the Chennai Marathon. The gap between the two events was 10 weeks so that gave me a nice interval where I could create a schedule and prepare properly. But my preparation so far hasn’t been the greatest.

The first week was all rest. I was sore for three days after the run and I donated blood midweek so I took it easy for that week. I started running the next week but had to struggle in my runs. I blamed the loss of blood for the struggle and it was expected. I ran 12k the first week and 18k the next week.

By week three, my fitness improved a little but the runs were still difficult as I started facing shin pain in the middle of my runs. I thought the pain was a result of lack of proper warmup and it wasn’t severe so I ignored it. I did 20k in week 3 including a 10k. My shins troubled me on all 3 runs of week 3 but they settled down once I had done some distance in the runs.

I scheduled 28k for week 4. I started with a 6k hard run which I struggled to complete. The shin problem of week 3 was in the back of my mind so I made sure I warmed up properly for the run. But I was in trouble after the first km. I took breaks during the run – the way I usually do on a hard run, but the shin kept aching. I could feel the soreness after completing the run. I had a good stretching  session and took rest the next day. But the pain did not go away. It troubled me from the beginning of my next run so I decided to take it easy and not to push through the pain.

There hasn’t been any significant change in conditions before and after the Chennai marathon. The shoes are worn out and I ordered another pair but the shin trouble may not be related to the shoes. All other conditions remaining the same, I think the its just a case of overuse. I have decided to take it easy the rest of week 4. I am icing the effected region twice a day and am doing shin related exercises. I do this for three days and then run again on Monday in week 5 with new shoes. If the problem persists, I’ll have to seriously think about this.

Running through the pain is a bad idea. In all the research that I have done about shin splints, all the people have suggested that running through shin splints might lead to stress fracture. This is something that I need to deal with very carefully. I’d rather be off the road for 2 weeks than 3 months. I outdid my expectations for the Chennai marathon so I shouldn’t push too hard for the Auroville marathon. I’ll be happy to participate and get some more experience. The 5 month lay off after Auroville can be used to build strength and fitness for the runs in the later part of 2013.

So I am not pushing in my runs. Auroville is 6 weeks away and I might not be as perfectly prepared for it as I was for Wipro marathon but that doesn’t mean I didn’t put in effort. When the body is fatigued, it pleads for rest. It’s better to give it the rest it asks for.

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