Spring running often means increasing the intensity of your workouts, but this vigorous approach can lead to shin splints. Aside from following the 10 percent rule, here are a few things you can do to prevent that nagging lower leg pain.
- Stretch your lower legs. Keep your calves, feet, and ankles flexible. Stretch them daily, even if you don't run that day.
- Warm up with heel walks: Heel walks, which as the name suggests involve walking on just the heels, strengthen the shins and prepare the lower leg for running. I do this as part of my dynamic warmup.
- Strengthen your lower legs: On non-running days, or after a run, you can strengthen your shin muscles with this simple dumbbell exercise. Doing weight training for the shin muscles before a run could tire them out and lead to the injury you're working to avoid.
Since most running injuries seem to occur when increasing weekly mileage, it is a good idea to be proactive and do what you can to prevent injuries. Take care of your shins and they will take care of you.