Stretches to Help Prevent Shin Splints

Shin SplintsShin splints are a condition where the anterior tibialis muscle that runs up the front of your leg beside your shin bone causes discomfort and pain. Luckily, you can prevent shin splints from coming back, or indeed ever coming at all if you are lucky enough to have never experienced them.

In most cases the pain and discomfort in your lower leg is a result of overuse – either your activities were too intense or you just kept repeated stress on your lower legs for too long. In both cases the end result can be very painful shin splints.

There are 3 muscle groups to target in the lower leg – the anterior tibialis, gastrocnemius, and soleus muscles. In order to have a fully balanced leg you need both strength and flexibility in all three.

There are many different variations of stretches you can use to improve the flexibility and strength of your muscles, and here are some that I have found very useful in my years as a long distance and cross country runner.

Anterior Tibialis Stretches:

Lying Shin Stretch – Start by laying down on your side. you will do both sides so it doesn’t matter which you choose first. Hold your leg folded behind you and use your hand pull it tight into your thigh.

Heel Walking – Similar to the toe walking, but this time you raise your toes and walk with only your heels touching the floor. Repeat the process with toes pointed inwards, and again with toes pointed outwards.

Gastrocnemius Stretches:
Toe Walking – Lift yourself slowly up onto your toes, and walk around for about 20 to 30 meters and slowly drop back down to your heels. Repeat the process with toes pointed inwards, and again with toes pointed outwards.

Straight Knee Wall Stretch – standing in front of a wall, lean forward placing both hands on the wall. With one leg straight at the knee, heel firmly on the floor gently lean forward until you feel a pulling in your calf muscle.

Soleus Stretches:

Knee Bends – Standing with your feet flat on the ground bend your knees leaning forward as far as you can while keeping your heels flat on the ground.

Bent Knee Wall Stretch – Similar to the straight knee version above, but this time when you lean towards the wall your knee will be bent. This change in position of the leg takes the focus from the gastrocnemius muscle to the soleus muscle.

This list gives you two shin splint stretches for each group of muscles you need to work on to help prevent shin splints from returning.

I suffered from this condition for years before I really understand what was causing me so much pain and discomfort. Shin splint stretches are one of the methods I use to ensure good muscle strength in my lower legs, and to prevent shin splints from returning.

You can read the rest of my story and discover far more information about how to manage and prevent shin splints at my website dedicated to Shin Splints Treatment

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Posted by The Running Guy - July 9, 2011 at 7:17 am

Categories: Injuries   Tags:

Yoga Makes Your Running More Effective

Running is good for you. Whether you are an experienced marathoner, or you’ve just signed up for your first 5K, pat yourself on the back. A regular running program offers numerous and substantial benefits for your entire body – efficient heart and lungs, strong muscles, dense bones, good digestion, and so on. As a runner you can whoop it up with decreased stress, a healthy body weight, and an enhanced quality of life.

You don’t get fit while you are running. Consider this. The repetitive, forward-moving, impact-based stride of running causes the body to break down. At the end of a run your energy stores are depleted. Your muscles are fraught with microtears, and their surrounding sheaths are irritated. Your pectoral, hip flexor, hamstring, and calf muscles are short and tight, causing imbalance to the joints they cross and affecting normal range of motion and function. You don’t get fit while you are running. All the physical benefits of running come while your body is resting and rebuilding in between your runs, and here is where yoga is especially helpful.

Yoga makes everything better. A regular yoga practice is the perfect complement to a vigorous fitness regimen, including running. First, running and yoga are quite similar. Both require breath control and good postural alignment for optimum effectiveness. Also, the active meditative aspect of running is completely on par with the mindfulness found in yoga.

Now here is where running and yoga differ and thus go hand-in-hand. The fast pace of running can take your mind away from what is happening in your body with each stride. Its vigorous intensity causes energy depletion, microtears, and muscle imbalances. Ahhh, yoga. The slower pace of yoga brings your body back to baseline and ready for your next workout.

1. Yoga teaches you to breathe. Run without breathing properly and you feel like your heart is plugging your airway, making the next lamppost seem very far away. Every yoga practice begins with attention to the breath. If you simply roll out your mat and breathe for 10 minutes, this is a good yoga. You become aware of your diaphragm muscle pressing down into your abdomen as you inhale and then relaxing upward as you exhale. Over time even your pelvic floor becomes a secondary breathing muscle. Yoga teaches you to bring an abundance of oxygen into your lungs and circulate it to your working muscles, which is crucial for running.

2. Yoga helps you find good posture. When you run, you move forward. Your head and neck reach forward, and your shoulders round inward. To compensate, your mid spine hunches. Bottom line, your spine is a mess.

The foundation of every yoga posture is proper alignment of the spine, pelvis, and shoulder girdle. The principles of good alignment in yoga apply to every exercise imaginable, such as squats, planks, sitting on a spin bike, and of course running. Learn yoga, and you learn how to activate core muscles for stabilizing the spine and maintaining good posture while you run. Have good posture while you run, and you’re running injury free for miles.

Good posture doesn’t just look nice. When aligned properly intervertebral disks, hips, and knees have the least possible stress and degeneration. Your lungs, digestive tract, nerves, and every other organ and gland function better. In fact, there is a strong connection between good posture and absence of injury and disease.

3. Yoga gives you longer muscles with greater strength potential. As mentioned earlier, the repetitive motion of running can shorten the resting state of muscles. This decreases a joint’s possible range of motion. Think for a moment about the hip flexors and hamstrings. They are on opposite sides of the hip joints, and they both become short and tight from running. Essentially the pelvis and thighbones become demobilized. Muscles moving through a smaller range of motion have lessened potential for developing strength. In other words, shortened muscles lack power, which is unfortunate because muscle power is helpful for getting you through your run.

In conclusion, yoga is the best cross-training activity for runners. There are three components of physical fitness: muscular strength and endurance, cardiorespiratory efficiency, and flexibility. A few quick stretches at the end of your run may help prevent some muscle soreness and injury, but they have little impact on maintaining or increasing the range of motion around a joint. Let yoga be the flexibility training that you need, and you will enjoy the breathing, postural, and strength potential benefits as well.

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Article topics are chosen with you, a real person, in mind. You have a genuine interest in making healthy lifestyle choices. You need credible information based on scientific research and expert recommendations, and you need this presented in easy-to-understand language. You are interest in the facts, but you also need practical ideas for implementation. We give you facts, as well as the “how-to” with workouts, exercise equipment, yoga sequences, good nutrition, recipes, and more.

The Web is a tangled mess of fitness and nutrition quackery. It can be exhausting sorting through confusing, conflicting, and inaccurate information. Be wary of fad diets that can harm your body systems and botch up your metabolism. Watch out for exercise movements and equipment that are ineffective or, worse, unsafe. Bookmark All That Is Wellness as your first stop for reliable advice and ideas.

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Posted by The Running Guy - July 1, 2011 at 9:01 am

Categories: Cross Training, Fitness, Injuries, Training   Tags:

Running Irritations And Blisters – How To Prevent Them

No matter what stage of a runner you are, beginner or Pro, all us runners will eventually damage our skin. As I would run most days, I encounter some simple problems from skin damage to sore feet and it is very important to take care of these problems straight away. Here are a few little annoyances we encounter and how to treat them.

1 Blisters. Throbbing Blisters affect a high percentage of runners, mainly because of friction, where heat and moisture cause the layers of skin to separate and fill with fluid ouch!

The Fix – Good Foot wear is essential of course. Put some baby powder on your feet. Synthetic double layered socks, moisture-wicking socks made from high-tech fabric help a lot. Applying a band-aid can help too.

If the blister is so big and you can see the liquid under the skin, man/woman up and drain it. Sterilize a needle with alcohol or boiled water, wash the area and burst that baby. Leave the skin on (do not peel off) disinfect the area, apply some antibiotic ointment and a band-aid.

2 Athlete’s Foot. This is a fungus that thrives in dark moist places, causing redness, blisters, itching,painful scaling, and humming odor, and is often between your toes or on your soles.

The Fix – Apply an anti-fungal cream and kill it. Keep applying after it has disappeared because the fungus still remains.

3 Jogger’s Nipple. Also known as Fissure of the nipple, is the condition of irritation, dryness, or bleeding of one or both the nipples and is caused by friction and repeated rubbing against fabric, especially wet cotton, during a long race.

The Fix – Wear a shirt that wicks moisture. Apply plasters or nipple guards. Run topless depending on weather of course. Wear a sports bra, compression vest, or some sort of chest binding clothing.

4 Jogger’s Toes. This is also know as Black Toe. Running down hill squashes your toes up against your shoes, causing them to bleed under the toenail, which bruise them and turn them black. Can be very sore.

The Fix – Keep your toenails trimmed straight across. Get your shoes properly fitted. Shoes that are too big or slippery can create the problem.

5 Chafing. Chafing is skin irritation caused by friction, especially warm, sweaty skin rubbing against other skin, and is most common in the thigh of the runner.

The Fix – Try Avoiding tight clothes, or different fibers. Wear short Lycra tights, this may minimize friction. Women using sports bras that cause chafing should find one with flat or covered seams. Use talcum or alum powder, or a friction busting petroleum jelly.

Be sure to take care of your skin and feet when running. It is inevitable that you will have sores or damaged skin but most are easily treatable and with great care and preparation you will experience less injuries.

Steve is a fitness and health fanatic. Find out more tips and information about running at his blog. Visit today where you will find information on fitness, health, nutrition and tasty recipes thank you.

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Posted by The Running Guy - December 7, 2010 at 8:40 pm

Categories: Injuries   Tags:

When to Say Goodbye to Your Running Shoes

Running shoes don’t last forever — if you’re covering 30 miles a week, you’ll be lucky to get six months out of a pair. Most modern running shoes aren’t built to last much more than 500 miles — more if you don’t weigh a great deal, less if you’re heavier than average. And this is regardless of the price, although very expensive shoes will probably have sturdy uppers and inner fabric.

Shoes can be useless and show no signs of wear because the midsole gets destroyed from the constant pounding it been taking. It collapses, losing any cushioning, meaning that every strike is coming down unprotected. Hell counters will lose their stability around the same time and no longer hold your heel straight. Then, once the inners go, essential flexibility is lost, meaning uppers will tear or tear away from the sole, and the fabric inside will get worn as your feet start rubbing. This will quickly cause blisters, but if the shoes have no effective midsole, shins, calves, knees and ankles suffer terrible jolting meaning serious injury is never far away.

Once a shoe wears to this point it will throw you off your usual running stride. Not only will it no longer compensate any pronation problems you might have, it will also cause you to run in a way that is neither your best nor best for you.

Tip: Write down the dates you started using a pair shoes somewhere on them — pick a place where it won’t rub away. If you know how much mileage you were doing each week it will help you judge when to replace them.

Why not visit our web site for all you need to know about Mizuno Running Shoes. For reviews on Cross Country Running Shoes visit our other site.

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Posted by The Running Guy - October 24, 2009 at 12:50 am

Categories: Injuries, Running Gear, Running Shoes   Tags:

Should I Be Running Everyday?

The passionate runners who want to train their bodies to an elite level frequently ask: Should I be running everyday? In this article, I want to talk about when running often is recommended and if running everyday is the right decision for you.

Whether you should be running everyday is determined by your experience as a runner. The biggest issue with running every day is the commonality of the overuse injury. Runners become really passionate about running and feel so freaking good that they get a positive addiction to it. This leads to running more than your body can handle due to the lack of development on your joints and muscles.

The fact of the matter is that every runner needs at least one day off. The reasoning for that critical one day off is for the body to heal and rest from all the pressure it has been put under over the past week. If a runner doesn’t let their body rest, an injury will creep up and destroy any hopes or dreams of competing in the next race.

For new runners, it is recommended that you run every other day. You don’t want to place too much pressure of your joints and muscles by running everyday that are accustomed to running for extended periods of time. The last thing you want to do is injure yourself before the start of the second week of training. Even if you are an on-and-off runner, make sure that you start with at least a couple of days off and not rush it. Make sure that you understand the challenges your body faces as the weekly mileage increases and how it adapts to the extra running.

Note that one these days off, there are a few simple components of your rest day each runner needs to make sure that are in place: proper nutrition and hydrated, a full night’s rest and low amounts of stress (tell the wife to back-off.)

Nehal Kazim trains runners with step-by-step blueprints of critical tools and techniques to run their next marathon successfully. Running doesn’t need to involve pain and struggle.

Nehal invites you to enroll in a FREE “7-day Blueprint for Beginners Mini-course” with hundreds of runners, just like you, and experience the fulfilling feeling of running a marathon!

Start your FREE “7-day Blueprint for Beginners Mini-course” at Marathon Training

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Posted by The Running Guy - September 7, 2009 at 11:27 am

Categories: Injuries, Training   Tags:

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