Training advice for a runner/sprinter
April 20, 2015 3:26 PM   Subscribe

Hello Mefites! I'm currently preparing for a 100m and a 1000m sprinting test in early June that will be taken into account in an admission exam. My main problem is that I have been having shin splints for over two weeks now from a sudden increase in training, and I don't know what I should do right now.

The pain only appears when I start to jog and takes an hour to disappear after I stop. Runners of Mefi, should I stay away from running for a week and see if it gets better or should I continue running? How likely am I to get seriously injured while running with a shin splint so that I won't be able to run the day of the test? Or should I rather continue training to try to get a better time, and resting a week before test? Will running with shin splints affect my test time negatively or is it only a feeling in the legs?

If I stop running for a week or two, what other sports could I do to mimic the effort needed on the 1000m? I considered swimming, but then what kind of workouts will train me best for the 1000m?

I got timed only once on the 100m: 12''9, and my 1000m time used to be 3'34 in October 2014, I haven't been timed since then.
To get the maximum score I have to get below 11''8 at the 100m and 2'53'' at the 1000m.

Any other advice for the race is also welcome, I'm a complete running newbie :)

Thank you for your advice!
posted by lite to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (5 answers total)
You are going to want to develop power. Sprint hills, do box jumps, one legged squats. When sprinting most people turn their legs over at about the same rate - sprinting faster isn't about turning your legs over quicker, but about propelling yourself farther with each stride.

Bike to keep your conditioning up while your shins recover. Also, shins splints can be caused by a muscle imbalance, try standing on your heels to strengthen the front shin muscles.

Those times though achievable are relatively quick and will likely favour genetics more than what someone might achieve in a few weeks of training.
posted by axismundi at 3:59 PM on April 20, 2015

The LAST thing you want to do is aggregate your injury and do sprints right now. I have had runners knee and this is the process I recommend.

To be honest this is a tough one. A month is not much time to train even without a shin split. But I recommend to do light on a week, check in how you feel, do intense training for a week and half and then taper before the test.

First, lay off running for a few days. Build your cardio base with biking, swimming, etc. For something super easy on your shins, I would consider the elliptical. I would also get a physical therapy appointment and/or masseuse and massage your splits. Also do some yoga and stretch them out.

Week after that start running very lightly. Do a light jog over a hour. Endurance helps sprints, believe it or not. If it starts acting up again, stop stretch and ice it. Try again the next day. If you're feeling good, start sprinting again.

Then for a week and a half, do intense one day on one day off training. It's important to recover.

Throughout this do yoga and stretch your shins. You do this by taking your foot up and leaning into it on a pole or something (vertically). VERY important. Also check if you have new shoes with lots of support and padding.

Then a few days before train lightly (taper) so that for the test you are full of energy.
posted by pando11 at 4:11 PM on April 20, 2015

A sudden ramping up of running often leads to shin splints. Running through the pain of shin splints can lead to stress fractures, which will definitely put you out of running for some time. Be very careful. I would try rest for a few days (without doing any other exercise) to see if they get better. If rest doesn't help, a doctor's visit to rule out stress fractures is a really good idea. They can also prescribe physical therapy that will help the shin splint recovery and help you not get them again.
posted by hydropsyche at 4:11 PM on April 20, 2015 [2 favorites]

Do you have access to a rower, a stair-climber, or a vertical climber-type-thing? Those are the cardio things I can think of that will best mimic the lung-sucking-ness of running. Swimming is good for a cardio base, but as someone who went from competitive swimming to running when I started triathlons I can assure you it is nowhere close to running. Elliptical and glider machines are also no substitute.

The crucial thing with the rower/stair-climber/vert-climber is you can't let yourself just go through the motions when using them. Which means no leaning on the bars on the stair climber, or lazing around on the rower or vert-climber. Look up instructions on how to row and follow them. You'll want a mix of steady-state exercise with "sprint" work where you alternate bouts of high-intensity with low intensity

Definitely, definitely do not keep running on them. They will only get worse. That's how I got stress fractures in my youth. Give yourself a couple weeks off and then integrate some light jogging, whatever your body can handle.
posted by schroedinger at 10:46 PM on April 20, 2015

Here's the thing with shin pain as you have described: It tends to arise from having failed to adequately stretch your calves (yes, the muscles at the back of your lower leg) leading to some tension in the calves that the muscles in the front need to overcome to flex your foot as you stride forward. The tension at the back gets worse as you run due to your relative lack of conditioning.

Stretch the muscles in your calves before you start and as soon as you feel tightness in your shins. This isn't really an injury per se at this early point, just a lack of conditioning which you are in the process of remedying.

Of course, I am not your exercise physiologist!
posted by mygoditsbob at 2:11 PM on April 21, 2015

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