> I've read Beginner's FAQ but have more questions: (I apologize for the
> I started running in October on a treadmill--at first it was only for 8
> minutes, then finally made it up to 12 minutes--1 mile. (The most I could
> ever do was 17 minutes). I travelled a lot, didn't stick with a schedule
> and increased my speed instead of time. (started at 4.3 mph, and went to
> 5.5 mph) After running 5 days a week some weeks, then only 1 day some
> other weeks I started developing pain inside my legs besides my shins.
> From what I've read here it seems to be very typical.
I think that the pain developed in area beside the shin called the
posterior tibialis muscle. If you are running on the tread mill and
hitting on the back of the heel of the shoe, then every step you take is a
stop or a deceleration of your running body. To me that means that your
center of gravity is rising and falling to far so that you must push the
entire center of gravity...along with your entire body upwards sometimes
an inch or more.
Stand in place and march. Notice that your feet land ball heel. Notice
that you do no land on the back of the heel of the shoe. If you were to
do this on a treadmill, you would notice that everytime you landed
ball/heel or picture it toward the front of the heel of the foot, the
treadmill would pull your foot behind without you having to do anything
except lift your feet up and down.
What you are used to doing is lifting your entire body up and down and the
lower leg from the knee to the ankle kicks or pendulums forward so that
every step you land on the back of the heel of the shoe...thereby stopping
your forward motion and putting a lot of unnecessary strain on your shins.
By lifing the fet up and down and letting the treadmill pull the foot
behind you will find that you can go further easier and that every step
becomes a stretch of the quad as the treadmill pulls the leg behind you as
you place it down underneath you. As you lift your knee, you are
stretching the hamstring. By focusing on lifiting the knees only a half
inch to an inch you allow the foot to land underneath you and not pendulum
You can massage out the posterior shin. Cross the left leg so the ankle
is on the knee about three or 4 inches above the knee joint. With the
right hand, place the right thumb on the posterior shin muscle and the
four fingers are holding onto the shin bone. Make a small circle with the
foot so that the ball and the heel of the foot are circling with small
smooth no strain circles. As you make the circle with the foot feel when
the posterior tibialis tightens and loosens. As it loosens push into the
muscle to help let the muscle stretch and elongate. Do it lovingly and
with care, being sure not to go too hard, too fast, or too deep as you
will only hurt yourself. The idea is to get the shin to relax and
elongate. I start about 2 inches from the knee and with the thumb of the
right hand aided by the thumb of the left hand on the right thumb I push
and slowly massage the posterior tibialis.
When it is sore during a run, I will stop several times to keep loosening
it so that I can feel that it is not causing me pain and allows me to
slowly and lovingly stretch it as I continue to work out.
> Now I'm walking again---until today I ran 8 minutes at my fastest speed yet
> (6.0 mph). My question is this--how long should I wait before trying to
> run everyday again? If I press my fingers against the inside of my shin,
> the pain is still there-so I'm afraid of making it worse if I continue to
> run. But how do I ever strengthen my legs to get past this pain? Should I
> run/walk some days and walk only on other days?
My folklore is that it's not a matter of strengthening the leg as much as
it is a matter of getting the shin muscles to be able to stretch. The
problem may be the calf muscle is the problem. To address the calf
problem, look at my answer to the post on "Ankles."
> Another question is--I want to know how to breathe properly when running,
> so I don't run out of breathe. This is my biggest problem.
The biggest problem in breathing for most people is that they don't get
enough air out and gasp for air in. As you run, count out 8 steps so
that all the air is exhaled equally over the eight steps. Relax in for 4
steps and you will be surprised how easy it is to breath in once all the
air is exhaled.
If you need more air then count our 6 steps exhaling the same amount of
air you did in 8 steps. Before you feel that you'd run out of air doing
the 6 steps out and 4 steps in, go to exhaling all your air evenly over 4
steps and relaxing in for 4 steps.
When you are ready to stop counting out loud, then pretend you are blowing
out a candle just to make the wick flicker. That back pressure keeps the
airways open as you exhale and makes it easier to inhale.
The idea is to get all the air out, be it in 8 steps, or 6 steps or 4
steps or even 2 steps so that the same amount of air is exhaled during 8
or 6 or 4 or 2 steps. We can get into more varieties of breathing
patterns when you feel ready.
> Finally, I feel better when I run faster at 5.5 - 6.0 mph than at 4.5 mph.
> How long should you hold one pace before increasing speed? I want to run
> steadily for 30 minutes a day.
I would go for the 30 minutes no matter the speed. I know the speed will
come once you can sustain the 30 minutes 3 to 6 times a week.
> Thanks for all help :)
In health and on the run,
Director, San Diego Marathon Clinic, est. 1975