At my final straw...

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13/10/2012 at 01:36

Thanks for the response 'dancing in spikes'. Also 'runs-with-dogs'... I'll ignore the first part, but I will bear that in mind about the foam rolling. Don't know how you manage it for 1 hour though, after 3-4 mins I'm giving up in agony! 

Just want to add though- I've not been out a few weeks... I've been out since April! 

I know partially what is wrong, although shin splints should never be an issue when cycling, so there's still lots of confusion/doubts casted in my mind about what's really going on. 

I'd just like to finish by saying 'Dave the Ex-Spartan'. Yes, distress. I think picking on a 17 year old on a forum shows that it's not me who needs to be growing up... And part of my question was: 'Am I harming myself by strengthening my legs'? 

I'm following the advice from my physio but I'm convinced it's the stretching/strengthening that causes the pain. It was this week when I started really stretching a lot and using the foam roller and that was the pain came on. So obviously I stop, but then I'm not going to solve my tight calves. God damn shin splints!

13/10/2012 at 07:31
Think you need to spend more time on your English A level, and you might be able to differentiate between picking on and a lack of patience with some one who won't listen
13/10/2012 at 09:24

I am listening! And it's not working! So I'm asking for more solutions- which I'm trying. Good grief.

13/10/2012 at 09:41
BD you remind me of someone else on here who pretty much followed the same pattern as you appear to be following and went on to suffer stress fractures, collapse in races and when last heard from was an hour off their much publicised marathon target.

You and I are members of the same club actually, if you want to pm me i'll introduce myself. I am well aware of your achievements and your potential, but take it from me, you are doing too much physical work for your body to stand the strain, end of. Back off, target your achievements a little further into the future and don't try to be the youngest fastest firstest in everything you do, because it clearly isn't working is it?
13/10/2012 at 11:40
blackdonkey123 wrote (see)

Thanks for the response 'dancing in spikes'. Also 'runs-with-dogs'... I'll ignore the first part, but I will bear that in mind about the foam rolling. Don't know how you manage it for 1 hour though, after 3-4 mins I'm giving up in agony!

Ignore the first part? What on earth for? I gave you some sensible advice about doing exactly what your physio suggested and spending some time strengthening your weak parts, and explained that you wouldn't need an expensive gym membership to do targeted strength training. Ignore it if you want though.  *facepalm*

As for the foam rolling, yes, it IS bloody murder at first. You just have to stick at it and work through the pain and it'll quickly become a lot less sore to do. I don't think you can do any damage with a foam roller despite how painful it is, so make yourself stick at it, as 3-4 mins is better than nothing, but it isn't really going to get you anywhere. When I started doing my calves, I couldn't put much pressure on them at all. I could barely rest both legs on the roller at the same time to wiggle back and forwards with my bum still on the floor. Now I'm doing one calf at a time and supporting my weight on my hands to roll back and forwards with as much weight as possible on the bit I'm targeting. That progress came within a few weeks, so it's not something that takes months and years to build up.

blackdonkey123 wrote (see)

And part of my question was: 'Am I harming myself by strengthening my legs'? 

I'm following the advice from my physio but I'm convinced it's the stretching/strengthening that causes the pain. It was this week when I started really stretching a lot and using the foam roller and that was the pain came on. So obviously I stop, but then I'm not going to solve my tight calves. God damn shin splints!

Extremely unlikely that stretching/strengthening is what's causing the pain. I mean, it's not what caused your problems in the first place, is it?

I just read back your original post, and noticed that you haven't been running for long. Do you actually understand that while your cardiovascular system and your muscles adapt to exercise fairly rapidly, it takes your joints and tendons a couple of years to catch up and strengthen up? Added to this is the fact that you're just 17, and therefore not done growing yet. You can't force either process.

Sounds like Mr Puffy knows you and knows that you're doing too much too soon. I would seriously suggest that you force yourself to take something like at least 6 months to a year off running altogether. And if cycling is aggravating your shinsplints, perhaps it would be sensible to stop that for a while too. If you can't live without exercise, competition and targets, find yourself something else you can do in the meantime. Something non load bearing and non impact, like swimming or archery or something like that. Sounds like if you don't, you could be ruining yourself for running for the rest of your life. Is that really what you want?

Sometimes there are no short cuts, no easy answers and no quick solutions.

Edited: 13/10/2012 at 11:43
13/10/2012 at 12:43

Agree with RWD, Take a year off. It didn't do Seb Coe any harm at the same age as you and I believe the same problem. You've been unlucky. A lot of youngsters can get through to senior level without problems. I run two training programs. One of these is fun and the other one is necessary. Number one is health, and that includes injuries. The training program is about getting healthy again. All your efforts must go into gaining health and eradicating injuries. Only then can training to be a better athlete take place. Most runners mix these up and treat illness and injury as just another obstacle in the way of their ambition. Trying to be a faster fitter runner when carrying an injury is just wasting time. Doesn't work. Time is the factor. Patience.

13/10/2012 at 16:42

RicF if I have to take an extra year off from the 6 months I've already had I will quite literally go mad- let's bear in mind Seb Coe was probably just a bit quicker than me before he got injured!

Mr Puffy- I'm aware that carrying on going will result in a stress fracture if I come back too hard too fast. That's why I keep having periods of rest- letting the pain subside, and when given the all-clear, trying to build up again slowly and gently. 

I don't see how I'm pushing my  body too far or putting it under too much strain. 10 miles a day, 5 days a week of gentle cycling surely isn't too much? I've done it for over 2.5 years and had no issues. I'm stretching/strengthening as instructed so I'm not sure if you're referring to that. When I started running again, it was 10 sets of 2 min jog, 1 min walk, on grass. I know Mt Blanc wasn't ideal but I didn't really have much choice but to do it as planned. It's not like I'm running 60mpw in agony- I never had pain in running, I got it in rest/walking around, and stopped running/cycling every time it appeared. I was running 30-35mpw back in March, which was built up gradually- and in all honesty I admit that towards the Spring I got a bit carried away and obsessed with races and speed sessions. But that's a bit irrelevant as that was back in March- I've done nothing like that since March and when I come back I think I can safely say I've learnt my lesson!

It's all good telling me to rest (which I am doing) but how long for? I rested for 4 weeks solid in the Summer, was pretty much inactive for an extra 2-3 weeks on top of that- except swimming most days. And the pain came back when the pain eventually eased and I tried running slowly again. So realistically, how long until I can safely get rid of this pain and have a chance of being able to build up all the way?

14/10/2012 at 01:39

So let's say- 4 weeks of being pain free isn't enough. How many more? Surely 6 months is un-necessary when if you research the condition they say it may require 3 months in severe cases? I appreciate that my only chance of getting back is rest. I just know I'm not really making progress until the pain stops- and I'm convinced that stretching/strengthening at the moment is bringing it back.

14/10/2012 at 07:38

Then mad you will have to be. There are no short cuts. The biggest mistake with returns from injury is haste. Look at it this way, if a pain takes 4 months to subside off no running, then any running on day one of the first day of no pain will bring it back. Conditioning is required. The longer the pain lasts, the worse that injury is, and the longer you have to wait to fix it. It wouldn't be the first time that runners injuries have healed only once they have given up the sport completely. 

14/10/2012 at 08:09

You have said you have been to a physio, they are in a far better position to advise you acurately than a group of people on the internet who realistically can only tell you to rest! no one on here can say for definite that it will be gone in 4, 8, 12 weeks. How are you really expecting to resolve your injury online?

In my opinion, if you are really getting as much pain as you are saying you are then you have to stop doing the stuff that is hurting it for as long as it takes. It could be a couple of weeks it could be another 6 months. So far you haven't done yourself any favours with it so you have most likely prolonged it already. If you can afford to then get back to the physio and explain to them what has happened since and REST!

14/10/2012 at 08:47

Shin splints. Mine didn't stop hurting for 18 months from the age of 20, and I wasn't even attempting to run during that time. I couldn't see the benefit of this and didn't start running again for another six years. The condition has never returned.

14/10/2012 at 09:34

I started club running at 17 and found it the worst possible age to start as you had to race seniors in open xc races from the start, so I decided I should train with them and not drop down to train with the youths. In retrospect I should have swallowed my pride and joined the youths squad for the first year. I have lots of mechanical imbalances and got injured, in fact I spent the whole of my three years at college injured. Luckily I got wiser and I'm still running 32 years later. It's not rocket science and you (sort of) learn eventually to listen to your body. It sounds to me like swimming only is the best plan for now. Perhaps you can ask people around you how you might get back access to a pool? Is there some way of either getting it at reduced cost/free, of can you do some casual work to raise the cash? If at school, can't they help with access? Maybe there are some options you haven't explored yet. Good luck.

14/10/2012 at 11:18

I am completely resting from all biking and definitely running at the moment! Also with the stretching and calf raises too and the foam roller. Icing and taking ibuprofen. Last time I had it return it disappeared after a week and I waited 2 weeks before even cycling again. The time before that in August when it was really bad it took about 4 weeks. I'm just going to give it 8 (with swimming somehow like Joe suggests) and see how it goes when I get there. I'd go for physio but I'm skint... literally!

14/10/2012 at 11:26

Ask at Chester College (Liverpool Uni as it calls itself now) if there's any students who want to practise massage on your calves for the experience.  Don't forget that you actually have achieved some spectacular feats, people will be well disposed to helping you out you know.

14/10/2012 at 13:08

That's a good idea- I'll look into that, thanks. I have friends who are sports masseurs but they don't live locally. I might try and teach mum how to do it but I'd be paranoid about her doing it wrong and making it worse. Need to see my Physio and ask whether massages are advisable at this stage too.

15/10/2012 at 11:49
WiB wrote (see)

Donkey - ^^^ is a good example of patience and working correctly towards resolving injury issues. Take a note.

DIS - Enjoy your HM!

Thanks WiB. Unfortunately now come down with flu, so whether I'm going to be running at all slightly in question - it seems to be a bit better today, but was totally wiped out Saturday afternoon and yesterday and don't want to take any chances on it (well, my bf has actually banned me from even travelling up unless I'm 100% fit on Friday).


Blackdonkey - re foam rolling, it's not about putting lots of pressure. You need to keep the roller moving even when it's hurting, and not slow down on the tender bits (this is really hard I know!). Work the muscle in stages to flush it - do lower calf only first, then upper calf. For quads, roll in stages starting from the knee, about 3 inches then sideways friction and knee bend a few times, then next 3 inches etc... It makes a huge difference to the flexibility you can get out of the muscles. It's important to relieve tension in all these muscles, not just roll your shins.

15/10/2012 at 15:47

DIS - not saying your advice re. foam rolling is wrong or anything, but it's almost the total opposite of the advice I was given from my own physio.

She told me I should slow down and even stop altogether on the tender spots, just letting the pressure of the roller work away at the knots/scar tissue in the muscles. She said I should work on small bits, just as much as a couple of inches at a time. And she also told me to work from the top of the calf to the bottom, as once you've eased the larger part of the muscle, you can put more pressure on the achilles tendon if that's also giving problems.

Various foam rolling sites seem to give conflicting advice too. Looks to me like it's maybe all relevant - seems hard to go wrong with foam rolling... Any physios care to explain if there's actually a right and a dead wrong way to use them? As far as I can tell, having been using one for a while now, it's all good. Nothing I've done with mine hasn't been beneficial, and I make half of it up as I go along!

15/10/2012 at 17:10

Don't know, that was the advice I was given on my 6 month rehab programme.

16/10/2012 at 17:28

The pickle is that this week, when the pain came back I'd also been doing my calf strengthening as told as well as stretching calfs, hamstring and quads, strengthening of my tibialis posterior muscle and using the foam roller on the calfs for a few bursts of 2-3 minutes a day. I'm not sure whether the cycling brought back the pain or the calf stuff. But I stopped as soon as the pain turned up one day- and carried on doing the calf stuff. I took a day or two off from stretching it etc, and now they feel tight as hell, but the pain has eased a lot. I'm hoping my Physio can enlighten me a bit on Tuesday next week when I see her next!

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