Beginning Runner Tips

by Cesar
(San Diego, CA)

Hello, I recently moved into a new place and noticed that there was a park with a track field connected to the neighborhood-school so it motivated me to start running.

The problem is that I've started to get shin splints, which I have tried to cure with ice but after 4 or 5 days once the pain goes away, I start running again and I end up with shin splint pains again.

I told a friend of mine this and she told me that what I was doing wrong was that I should run until a feel a little tired and walk, then once I gain some energy I start to run again, rinse and repeat.

Would the best choice for me be to just run and keep running until I absolutely can't continue anymore?

Answer by Dominique:

Hi Cesar,
Thanks for your request for some beginner running tips.

Great that you have started getting the running bug as well.

I have to agree with your friend. I like the run/walk approach for beginning runners. Reason is that you are able to go for longer.

E.g. suppose you are currently able to run ten minutes straight until exhausted. Then you'd probably be able to do something like 4 min running, 2 min walking three times in a row, giving you a total of 12 minutes of running. So you do more with less stress and exhaustion which has got to be a good thing.

So, yes, I prefer run/walks.

However, I am not sure if this addresses your shin splints issue entirely.

Now, bluntly said, getting running injuries means that you are doing something wrong.

Usually this means doing too much mileage. Or maybe you are running way too fast. Maybe your running shoes are not the best for your feet. Excessive track work and hills can also be causes.

Now, we need to eliminate the potential causes. What I would do if I were you is to start a run/walk program. Make sure the running is a pleasant jog, not an all-out do or die attempt. The walking can be a brisk walk.

You need to start off easily and build those muscles, tendons and ligaments. Gradually increase the running bit by bit and see how you go.

If the shin splints come back doing this type of "relaxed" safe running program, then it is likely that you need some better running shoes, the right ones for your feet.

And if nothing helps, really consider going to a doctor or sports physician. They may be able to help you with your posture, your technique, muscle strengthening exercises etc, basically all the practical face-to-face help that you can't get on the internet.

Hope this helps.
Kind regards,

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