If you've been reading my blog, you can skip this brief recap and scroll down to the What's Next section.
Started couch to 5k walk/run program. Ran 2-3 times a week. Built up to 5k run in 29-30 minutes avg and ran my first 5k race in 26:16 in June. Wasn't very knowledgeable and went too hard/ fast on that race, then didn't stretch or anything after. Ended up with fairly bad shin pain after the race. Life got busy so I stopped running altogether until the fall.
Started walk/run program again. Went to massage therapy and physiotherapy, then finally had gait analysis - overpronator - and was prescribed orthotics.
January - June 2008
Continued walk/run program and had varied success. Continued to have foot/shin pain. Had orthotics adjusted several times. Overall, some improvement when I didn't run too far, or too often. Seemed to do best if I had 2 days off between runs. Mostly ran 3-5km at a time, still took some walk breaks on days when things were sore. In June, I did my 2nd 5k race in 26:26 and had shin pain after.
I did 8k race in 46:17. Shin pain after. For rest of the summer, I babied my shins and only ran twice a week, no speed work, no long runs while training for my tri at end of August. Cont some physio and stretched and iced. My 5k time at my tri was 29:45. Not great but ok.
I focused on running and worked toward a 10k for the WWFOR. I had hoped to do the half marathon but was unable to build up my long run during the summer. This time, my ITB locked up at my knee during 10k in Oct. 1:06 including walk breaks. I continued to run with walk breaks and going easy through the winter. I bought Zensah shin compression sleeves and sometimes wear them during or after a run.
Bought new shoes that were a half size larger. Pain on top of foot disappeared. I hoped this would also cure my shin probs.
I was coached for my May tri but every time he had me do some running drills, speed work, plyometrics etc to strengthen my shins/legs, the shin pain returned and I had to cut back my running. My run time in my May triathlon was crappy, 32:09, and I had ITB pain again. In June I ran an easy 5k race with my daughter and had to walk some due to shin and ITB pain. 33:00
I continued to run easy, slow, take walk breaks, tried trail running, and continued to have pain if I did a brick or ran a bit faster, or a bit longer. My 5k time in my tri in August was 31:07. ITB pain slowed me down. I also went back to massage and was given more strengthening exercises to do. They seemed to be working and for a few months, I thought the shin problems were solved although I hadn't yet figured out the ITB problem that only hit me once in awhile on a long run, or a race, rarely on easy or short runs.
I decided to try a different approach. Run short, easy, more frequently, and do long runs on the trails. Don't go longer on long runs until the distance feel easy. So for two weeks, I ran 3-5k every second day, slowly (11-12 mi mile). I did a good warmup, and took walk breaks when necessary. I avoided hills. I stretched and did ice massage on my shins after every run.
On the first weekend I did a long run (8k) on the trails but had to walk after 30 min due to ITB pain. The second weekend, I did another 8k trail run on a flat trail and managed 6k before the ITB pain started. This time I was wearing an ITB strap which may or may not have helped. The day after that long run, my shins hurt a lot. I took 2 days off before I ran again but I was unable to run longer than a minute at a time without bad shin pain. Did 2.5 k of mostly walking that day.
2 days after that, my shins are still sore. Not sure if I should run today or not. I am thinking I might go to the gym and do the elliptical instead.
So what to do now?
Possible things to try next:
I've had loads of suggestions from people who have shared what worked for them.
• go back to Okaped and get orthotics adjusted again.
• go to a different place and get new gait analysis to confirm diagnosis
• toss orthotics but wear corrective shoes for overpronation.
• toss orthotics and wear minimalist shoes like Newtons or Nike Free.
• try barefoot running.
• try forefoot running (with current shoes, with new shoes, with and without orthotics, so many options...)
• continue using the foam roller on ITB and doing yoga and doing strengthening exercises for hips flexors and shins.
So what am I going to do?
• Hire a running coach. The one I have in mind encourages forefoot running. My understanding is that he philosophically disagrees with orthotics although he wouldn't tell someone not to use them. He says he's not a doctor and can't make that call. Interestingly, he also thinks Newtons are a crutch to be avoided as well because of the little thingies on them that encourage forefoot running. He says it's better to learn to mid-foot/forefoot run without them.
• I won't do barefoot running. It's not something that can be done year round or safely here so I'm not going to bother. However, I may try it on the treadmill in short spurts for awhile so my body can learn the feel for forefoot running, with the hope that it will transfer to running with shoes on.
• It looks like it would be dumb not to try to switch to mid-foot/forefoot running despite the possibility of having to deal with new aches and pains during the transition. I have been trying it in 30-60 second segments but I don't know if I'm doing it right.
• I have made an appt at my orthotics place to make one last-ditch effort to correct the problems with my current orthotics. I don't know if I want/need to try going to a new place to get a second opinion gait analysis or not, although the place comes highly recommended.
• Shoes - I have not decided what to do. Current shoes (which are very comfortable), with or without orthotics, or minimalist shoes or ??
• I will continue shin strengthening and hip flexor work.
• I will continue to do short, easy runs every 2-3 days. I will cut my long run back until the short runs are comfortable again.
• I will use the elliptical when running hurts too much.
• I will try not to complain too much. (I am so frustrated, this one is hard...)
I will try to remember Randy Pausch's saying:
"Roadblocks are only a test of your commitment to your goals."