Shin Pains and Leg Cramps

by Louise

I have been running for about 2 years (female 40 years old) and have always just done a couple of miles 1-2 times a week.
Now I have entered a half marathon, so have started to run further which was going realy well.

I bought Asics trainers which made me feel like i was running an air and was doing 5-6 miles comfotably BUT now for some reason I am getting shin pains in my left leg followed by cramps in my right calf.

Running is no longer a pleasure and i am finding running 1-2 miles difficult.


Answer by Dominique:

Thanks for your enquiry.

From the information you are giving me I can only assume that you might have built up your mileage too fast for your own good.

If you have been running 1-2 miles consistently for a long while and have now built up too fast to 5-6 miles, your body might have difficulties adjusting to the higher mileage.

Shin pains can be a number of things, and can best be diagnosed by a sports physiologist, but it sounds a lot like shin splints.

Not sure about the cramps in the right calf, that might be a result of too much stress as well, could also be that the pain in the left leg makes you cramp up and that that results in cramps in the right calf.

Although you do not wish to hear this... I suggest you take it down a notch, possibly do some cycling or swimming and give the legs a rest for a few weeks.
Then start up slowly with 1-2 miles per run again and build up slowly from there, with only one or two miles per week extra for the whole weekly mileage. Take a look at this page to learn more about increasing mileage safely.

Take "rest weeks" in which you cut back your mileage as well (information on that is on the increasing-mileage-safely page as well).

Dutch cyclist Leontien van Moorsel once said it really well after stopping cycling and going for the marathon of New York :
In cycling it is all about going hard every day.
In running it is all about the rest you take in between the hard days.

I hope this helps.
About the half marathon: only do it if you are ready for it, not because you have entered it and now feel obliged to run it.


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