Couch to 5K

Shin splints :-(

Newbie poster here!

I had just started W4 when I started to get shin splints on my left leg. I'm totally new to running (new to any cardio in fact) and was really enjoying the C25K. I stopped running completely for 10 days, did lots of stretching and icing and last night decided to try again. I went back to W3 and was pain free until the final 3 minute run when I had to stop as felt a twinge.

By the time I got home I was in pain again,and this morning I am back to square one with the pain.

I'm so frustrated as really want to get back into it. Can anyone suggest any ways I can get over this?

Thank you!

4 Replies

For recovery, the standard treatment of rest and ice is probably as good as I can suggest.

If you are finding that they recur then you might like to try:

Speed: Going slower will reduce the impact and you'll be less tempted to over-stride.

Shoes: Do you have cushioned running shoes? If you don't then you might like to consider these because they reduce the impact on your legs.

Strike: Try to land with your foot under your body, not in-front, so that you land on your whole-foot rather than your heel. Shorter strides may help too.

If you're completely new to exercise then you might find some strength training (sit-ups, squats etc) may help too because that will reduce how generally "wobbly" you are and cut down on the stress to your legs.

Hope it clears up for you soon.


1 like

Not very medical, but you'll get the idea...

Imagine yourself as a child, playing in the woods. You find a long branch to play with, and you want to break it in half. What do you do?? You hold one end, and bang the other end on the ground. After repeated banging, the underside of the branch starts to splinter, and the top side of the branch begins to buckle and give way. Eventually the branch breaks in an untidy way.

When you are running, the branch is your leg. If you are over-striding and landing your foot too far in front of you, you're over stressing your leg. You'll feel it as shin-splints.

As Ugi says above, run slower, and don't over-stride. Concentrate on taking shorter steps, and always land your foot under your body, not in front. you'll naturally run slower with a shorter stride: if you want to run faster, take faster steps (increased cadence) don't lengthen your stride. As your body gets stronger and more resilient, you'l be able to lengthen your stride, but not until you've graduated.

When I was fitted for my first running shoes - gait analysis - I was taught to run with a shorter stride - I was getting shin splints too. The shop told me to imagine I was an assassin, running up behind my victim. Of course, you'd want to run stealthily, with a quiet footfall. Running quietly will make you take a shorter stride, land your foot under your body, and this will help prevent shin splints.

That said, you have shin splints in one leg. That sounds like it may be a posture or alignment problem, exacerbated by over striding. Gait analysis at your local 'proper' running shop may help to diagnose the cause, and perhaps some appropriate running shoes for your pronation, or some moulded insoles, may help. It does not have to be expensive.

Rest and Ice is your friend for the next few days. Gait analysis is going to require you on a treadmill (or running gently outside the shop) [go dressed to run, not to shop] so make sure you're recovered before going.

Running is going to be a way of life for you, and so it is well worth taking a week or so to recover, then checking your posture or getting gait analysis before getting stuck back into running. W4 and W5 can wait.

I wish you a speedy recovery, and do post back to let us know how your recovery, shin splints and W4 progress.


Thank you Ugi and Marky - great advice. To be honest I probably couldn't run any slower if I tried but I have been trying to shorten my pace and avoid heel striking.

My husband is an ultra runner and helped me to buy my shoes but I think I might sneak off to my local running shop to get them checked out!



Have you got flat feet a very high arch? I have a problem with my ligaments leading to a very flat foot, this is what caused my shin splints, I wear a shaped insole all the time now. I used to get them really bad when i was younger (ending up seeing a orthopod at the hospital). I never leave home with out them now.

It might be worth popping along to see a podiatrist to see how your feet are doing.


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