Training to run competitively doesn’t always go smoothly and even the best laid plans can come unstuck and so it was this week that I succumbed to shin pain in my right leg.
I’d had some niggle back in late November but I’d managed it via icing and ibuprofen gel. I’d also effectively moved all mileage to grass surfaces to avoid the non stop jarring of road running. No training was missed and I never felt like my running was compromised.
I felt like I’d put the issue to bed, one of those growing pains that comes and goes as you progress volume. A right of passage so to speak.
I (perhaps too soon) resumed most of my training back on the roads. This also became some what of a necessity as we got deeper into the winter here in the UK.
Looking at my Strava run mileage summary (see below) you can see that I had built up steadily to just over 50 miles per week through November and into December.
This progression was deliberate and very considered. It also included two “down” recovery weeks of approx 30 miles, the first the 7th to the 13th December and the second only last week. This week I’ve only managed 15 miles or so.
All my recent training has been completed with 6 days of running out of 7 per week and one day of rest on a Friday.
Harder running has been Tuesdays and Thursdays with a progressively longer run building up at the weekend (flexibility on whether to run on a Saturday or a Sunday). The long runs featured a faster portion of running towards the end.
All other runs (Mon, Wed, Sat or Sun) were easy/recovery with a guide to keep HR below 140-142bpm.
Things were developing really well…
The stronger running on Tuesdays and Thursdays hasn’t involved anything harder than sub threshold pace, say around 11-13 mile pace (sometimes as slow as marathon pace on opening reps to ease in to the session or if I felt tired or conditions weren’t ideal). It’s quite hard to judge these efforts but I was improving, just focusing on keeping the heart rate under 170bpm (Note of reference: I held approx avg. 178bpm for my 10 mile PB of 55.37, about 5.30 miling) . Example sessions were 5x 1 mile and 4x 2km with 90s recovery. I’d typically run approx 3m 45s per km on these efforts.
So although I didn’t feel in the type of shape I was in to run my 10 mile PB in November 2019 I was certainly getting there. And the consistency was all to see in the Strava chart. In fact, I don’t think I’ve achieved such consistency (and motivation) since I started running again in 2012.
But unfortunately the shin pain in the right leg has returned and I took the decision on Wednesday to stop running.
It was very frustrating to succumb to this on essentially what was a down week of mostly easy running with greatly reduced volume and intensity. Bizarrely the shin got worse in these circumstances.
So I’m now on a heavy ice and ibuprofen recovery protocol.
I feel like the injury has settled a bit. I had suspected this was a “nervy” issue. However, I had become concerned merely pushing through could exacerbate the issue into something more serious. So the wise move was to rest. It could be nervy, it could be the dreaded shin splints (whatever that is) or it could be the oft feared “stress reaction” AKA the onset of a “stressy” (fracture). The problem with running injuries is you just never know…
I have a physio appointment booked for next Tuesday 19th January. I’m also hoping to get a gait analysis to see if there is anything going on with my trainers etc. I predominantly train in Nike Zoom Fly 3 but I’ve also been using Tempo Next% for the sessions. I had noticed more issues after sessions in the Next% but I don’t know. Maybe I need to downgrade to a less flashy shoe that gives me more support?
The main reason for my concern actually is that the pain this time is on the front of my shin. Usually it is lower down and to the side and manageable. I’ve never experienced shin pain in this front area before.
Looking at the bigger picture, the announcement this week that the Blaydon Race (scheduled June) has been cancelled indicates that there won’t be much in the way of meaningful racing opportunities in the immediate future. So it will be important to get this fixed rather than ploughing on with no real race targets to speak of.
This weekend I will try some easy jogging on grass to see how the shin reacts prior to the physio appointment next week.
I hope all is well in your running world and don’t forget to check out my YouTube channel here.
I may or may not have some new videos uploaded soon although my GoPro is still stuck in the Netherlands such are the massive opportunities that leaving the EU have given us! But the less about politics we mention on this running blog the better!