(Posterior) Shin splints are the bane of my running existence…
I had my first debilitating bout with them in the Summer of 2016. When I started using a compression bandage, they seemed to go away like magic and I had never been happier. But because I wanted to make sure I was taking all precautions that I could, I ended up purchasing this pair thinking I was overpronating.
Actually, based on the wear of my shoes, I realized that I may actually meet towards the side of underpronation. When I started accumulating miles on that pair, I made the switch to Saucony.
I wore those up until the LA Marathon earlier this year. I think the toebox was too narrow because half way through the race I had throbbing pains coming from my right big toe. When I assessed the damage after the race, I had developed a lovely, red-colored blister and my first black toenail.
Not wanting to repeat that experience again, I did a brief search on minimalistic shoes and came across a brand called Ryka, which apparently aims to design shoes based on the biomechanics of how “women run”. Basically, they claim that their shoes are made with the woman’s body in mind.
I started using them back in April, and found them to be light and cushy. It was like running on a firm cut of padding, and my toes didn’t feel crushed like in the Sauconys. For the duration of the summer, I alternated between these and my pink Newtons (which I initially thought propagated my shin splints back in 2016, but that turned out to be false).
I knew I was putting in a lot of miles into this pair as Fall approached, and the forefoot part of the shoes was definitely getting worn down after I made the switch to forefoot running.
I wasn’t sure what should be my next pair, especially since I was in the process of changing my running form, but I knew I had to replace the Rykas soon. Before I knew it, I started to feel niggling pains in my shins. When I looked at the underside of the Rykas, they had indeed developed the signs of overuse and overwear.
Based on this picture, I think the brunt of my weight was being supported by my right side. I literally drove a hole right through my shoe 😂
I then thought it might be a good choice to pick another minimalistic shoe, perhaps one with even less material because I was no longer running with a hell striking form. After doing some reading, I found out about Mizuno Wave Universe 5.
Forefoot runners seemed to rave about it, so I thought I’d give it a chance as well. It fit within my budget since it was an older version, and it didn’t hurt that they looked cute too.
When I first ran in them, I was afraid they would rip! I walked around in them like slippers because that’s how they felt, but when I started to rack up the miles in them, they stepped up to the plate and proved their worth.
They lasted through Route 66, and after the marathon I reduced my mileage and had a week off. When I started back up again the following week however, my shins started acting up again. Posterior shin splints had popped up again, and now I am here, three weeks later, finally out of denial and realizing that low mileage needs to be no mileage for a while until my shins recover.
I think there are a number of reasons why my shin pains popped up again—there’s the fact that I changed my form, and that even though my calves have adapted, my shins may still need time to catch up to the level of my calves. Then there’s perhaps a lack of Vitamin D, starting up too fast after the marathon, increasing intensity to quickly, etc. Even though these kinds of running injuries seem like a setback, I’m trying to have a positive attitude.
Hopefully, the time I would have spent pounding my legs into the ground will not be wasted as I switch to some low-impact cardio and strength training for some time. In fact, I feel like I’ve been needing a solid mental break from running for a while, and maybe this is my “legitimate” way out.
It also buys me some time to figure out which pair is next up for me to tear up 😝