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Prevent shin splints and keep your training momentum going strong

Are you a beginner runner? Then, you might’ve heard about “shin splints.” But beginner runners aren’t alone in experiencing shin splints. Veteran runners get them too. However, all runners can agree they’d rather avoid them! Shin splints describe the pain in your shin that occurs from overuse. The shinbone is the large front bone that you can find in your lower leg. Shin splints arise when bone tissues, tendons, and muscles overwork. The good news is there are ways to cure and prevent it. Prevent shin splints with our 8 tips and keep your half marathon training on track. Pro tip: click on the image, download the PDF, and post it where it’ll remind you about these tips!

1. Stretch your calves

Image of an infographic breaking down 8 ways to cure and prevent pain from shin splints. 1. Stretch your calves before and after every run. 2. Focus on your form. Try landing in the middle of your foot on longs runs. 3. Include strength training. 4. Get the right shoes. Running in running shoes does make a difference! 5. Cross-train. Working muscles differently can strengthen them. 6. Rest. Give your body the opportunity to repair itself. 7 Train on softer surfaces like a treadmill or your local trail. 8. Gradually increase your mileage. Build your body up overtime to the desired mileage.Do you feel mild shin pain? If you are running, stop and do a quick calf stretch. This should relieve your pain. To prevent shin splints, you should make it a practice to stretch your calves after every workout session. Regularly doing this will help prevent injury to your calves as well. Pro tip: with your right foot, place your toes on top of a curb and your heel at the bottom. Lean forward or try to grab your toes. Do this for 10 seconds, then switch to your left.

2. Focus on form

One method you can try to prevent shin splints is to change your foot strike. Try avoiding toe running and heel striking on your long runs. On your next run, try to land in the middle of your foot. When you land on your heel, it can stress your heels. In the same way, when you land on your toes, calf muscles are impacted. Both of these methods can contribute to shin splints and other injuries. Pro tip: learn how your stride and cadence can impact your form.

3. Include strength training

If you get shin pain during half marathon training, it could be linked to weak anterior tibialis muscles. These muscles are located on the front side of your lower leg. They make your foot flexible at your ankle. Did you increase your distance too fast? This could be a cause of your pain. You increase the likelihood of injury if your body doesn’t possess the strength needed to run long distances. 

4. Get the right shoes

For some runners, shin splints can arise due to running in the wrong shoes. Make sure you choose shoes that are specific for runners and fit your running stride. Don’t run in shoes that are old or have more than 300 miles on them. You want your shoes to be snug, not too loose or too tight. Schedule an appointment with our friends at Fleet Feet Austin and get fitted for the right shoes!

5. Cross-train

Take a break from running and cross-train. These workouts will give your body a break from the strain of running and the impact on your shins. When you run, your body uses muscles in a specific, repetitive manner. Cross-training works those muscles differently and can strengthen them. Examples of workouts you can do include aqua jogging, cycling, yoga, and swimming. Learn more about cross-training and how it helps you avoid these 5 training mistakes. Pro tip: while you aren’t logging miles, you’re still working towards your ultimate goal!

6. Rest

Rest is absolutely vital. It provides your body with the opportunity to repair itself. If your training plan calls for a rest day, take it. Use your foam roller for 15-20 minutes if you get the itch to go for a run. If you’ve just started running, exercise once or twice a week. Increase the amount of exercise as you become more comfortable with the workouts or the distance you’re running. Give your body the rest it needs!

7. Train on softer surfaces

Some beginner runners get shin splints because they run on harder surfaces. Running on the roads isn’t the only way to accrue miles. Try running on softer surfaces. If you have access to a treadmill, try alternating your runs between the treadmill and the road. Are there trails near you? Get out on the trails! You’ll avoid the unforgiving concrete and all the traffic. Plus, trail running forces you to slow down, naturally causing you to change where your foot strikes. This breaks up the repetitive motions from road running. Pro tip: due to the constantly changing terrain, trail running can strengthen your lower body.

8. Gradually increase your mileage

Shin splints while training is common, especially if you have recently intensified your training routine. If you are a beginner, you should gradually increase your mileage during your training. Runners returning from injury should slowly increase their mileage. Increasing your mileage gradually is another way to strengthen your body over time and prepare it for the distance you want to run.

Nobody wants to experience shin splints, especially runners. It can derail your training and set your timeline back. The best approach is a proactive one. Properly utilize our 8 tips to prevent pain from shin splints and keep your training on track. Do you have a way to avoid shin splints? Let us know in the 3M Half Marathon Facebook Group or on Twitter.

High Five Events’ staff dish out their favorite Austin hill workout locations

Hill repeats – the workout runners love to hate. Every training plan should have at least one hill workout per week. Runners reap many benefits from increased lower body strength to expanded lung capacity. If you’re new to Austin or in town for visiting, make sure you put one of these Austin hill workout locations on your list. Some of the staff at High Five Events give the lowdown on their favorite Austin hill workout locations. Need some motivation to get you going? These six tips will help!

Runner ascends Hill of Life, one of the High Five Events' staff's favorite Austin hill workout locations.

Runners completing repeats on the Hill of Life.

Meg

Hill of Life repeats on the Greenbelt. These help me get ready for technical trail runs. If I’m in the early stages of prepping for a road race they give me great lower body workout whether I am running or hiking up the hill. What’s better than a stair stepper or box step-ups?! Nature’s stairs and box steps! Plus, it makes you appreciate the smoothness of the road. 

Laura

Wilke Drive repeats. It is not fun. It is HARD, but you’ll get a great workout out of it.

Emily

Hill sprints west on North Hills Drive in front of Murchison Middle School off of Far West Boulevard. I live near there so I get a few warm-up miles before the pain game begins. 

Stacy (two locations!)

Grove Drive out of Roy Guerrero Park is a closed road/bike path with a 450m hill. It ends at the end of Montopolis Drive near Ed Bluestein. Park and warm up at Guerrero, then do repeats. If you like to suffer with no one around to see, this is a good place to run. Plus it’s shaded the whole way!

Loop in East Riverside neighborhood – Begin at Old East Riverside Drive and Summit Street, run to Sunnyvale Street and take a left, loop around Lupine Lane, right on Upland Drive, left on Old East Riverside Drive, and back to Summit Street. You get three good hills in just under one mile (.9). It’s in my neighborhood so it’s close, mostly shaded, and safer because of low traffic. And I can run it at night if I need to!

Wilke Drive is one of the High Five Events' staff's favorite Austin hill workout locations.

Laura and Jack both approve of Wilke repeats.

Jack

Wilkie Drive repeats. As many as you can handle while still giving a decent effort. Run hard up Wilke, then come down easy and in control. Do this regularly and watch the repetitions you can complete increase over time!

Joey

My favorite hill workout is a brick that I can do from my house. Starting at the bottom of Coronado Hills I ride a 1.3-mile loop 5x and then run to the top at Berkman Drive and back once. That’s just under a mile. I’ll repeat that circuit five or six times when I’m training for a sprint or Olympic distance race. Aside from being close to home, there isn’t much traffic which is a serious bonus. 

RAW Running poses after completing Stratford Drive hill repeats, one of the High Five Events' staff's favorite Austin hill workout locations.

RAW Running poses after completing Stratford Drive hill repeats.

William

Stratford Drive repeats with RAW Running. This workout is shorter (~400m), but the climb will is why you run this. Start outside the Rowing Dock. It begins relatively flat, then sharply increases, featuring a couple of climbs. There are a couple of turns and a flat part before the second climb. Really focus on grinding up the hill, shorten your stride, slightly lean forward, and pump those arms!

You know the benefits of hill workouts and that you should add them to your training plan. You’ll see the benefits with just one hill workout a week! Do you have a favorite Austin hill workout location that we didn’t mention? Let us know on Facebook or Twitter!

7 tips that’ll help you stay safe during your runs

Running outside has tons of benefits no matter what type of run you’re completing! You can hit up the trails, take in the sights of a new city, breathe fresh air, say hey to folks you know, and so much more! But with those benefits comes some potential harm. There are many ways to ensure you finish your run just as healthy and safe as when you began. Whether you’re running one mile at your local track or 20 miles on your favorite trail, these 7 tips will help keep you stay safe.

Run with a friend

Two runners stay safe by running together and carrying their phone.

Stay safe on your next run when you run with a friend and carry your phone.

The best way to stay safe is to run with a friend. You’re more likely to be visible to vehicles and less likely to be the victim of a crime, think strength in numbers. Should something happen to one of you, the other will be quicker to get help and assist until help arrives. Plus, everyone knows it’s better to train for and run 3M Half Marathon with friends!

Listen to your surroundings

Whether you’re running the roads or the trails, pay attention to your surroundings! Music can help us power through our run, but it can also prevent us from hearing what’s going on around us. If you run with earbuds, keep one out. You can also ditch the earbuds and play your music out loud. If you love new running technology, check out AfterShokz Titanium headphones. They use bone conduction technology with their open-ear design, allowing you to enjoy your tunes and hear what’s going on around you.

Run against traffic

It’s important for you to see drivers and for drivers to see you. Running against traffic allows you to see what’s coming your way. Avoid running against traffic on blind corners, drivers won’t have enough time to react if they don’t see you until the last second. 

Look both ways when crossing the street

This tip goes all the way back to elementary school. When running, you should pay attention to everything. Don’t assume vehicles will stop, chances are they don’t see you. Also, just because you pushed the button to cross the street doesn’t mean it’s immediately safe to cross the street. Pay attention to all signals, when it’s your turn, still look both ways! Even though you think you know the light sequence, it could’ve changed. Don’t assume anything!

Wear reflective clothing

Reflective clothing will help with visibility, which is vital when running outside. You want to be seen by vehicles so they can plan accordingly. Light-weight lights can also be placed on your arms, shoes, ankles, or hat. We recommend SPIbelt’s SPIbeams LED Arm Band. Reflective clothing and lights will also help you be seen by cyclists and other runners.

Carry your phone

Your phone can do more than just play music or track your GPS. It’s the most beneficial tool you can have in the event of an emergency. Make sure your phone is fully charged before you take off on your run. If you’re ever in an accident or come upon one, having your phone available can make a massive difference.

Tell someone your plan

Before you take off, tell someone your planned route, mileage, and when they can expect you back. This person can be a loved one, co-worker, or roommate. This gives them an idea of when to expect you back and where to check should you not come back on time. Turn on the setting that allows someone to know your location, most smartphones have this. Pro tip: vary your route. Switching up your route is not only great for your training, it reduces the chances of someone harming you on your run.

By utilizing one or all 7 of these tips, you increase the chances that you stay safe on your next run. Chances are you already use some of these. Step it up and make sure you’re using them all the time! Is there a tip you use that we didn’t mention? Let us know on Facebook or Twitter.