So now the story of my first ever 12 mile run on a treadmill has turned into a saga. That might be an exaggeration or at the very least a bit premature. Since I wrote about how I considered that feat to be a PR (Personal Record) in my last post (http://www.thefitself.com/blog/2016/1/17/a-personal-best), I've realized that the story is not over.
Other then feeling tired after my 'epic' run, I felt good. The next day I ran an interval speed run, (4 one mile repeats at a 7:30 pace - on a treadmill). I would not usually run a fast, intense run after a LSD run because even though a LSD run is done at a slow pace, it is still challenging to the body. I did so to keep my milage up and to get a third run in for the week. In retrospect this was not a good idea.
During the interval run I started to develop shin discomfort. I occasionally experience shin pain the first 2-3 miles of a run and then as my muscles warm up the annoyance goes away. Typical of many driven runners, I ignored the discomfort and completed the session. Shortly thereafter I started getting more serious pain in my right shin. The pain manifested itself on the anterior (outside) distal (away from the body) portion of my lower right leg. I have a theory as to why my right leg was affected but I'll save that discussion for another time. The pain occurred most intensely when dorsiflexing (puling the foot toward the shin), but also during plantar flexion (pushing the toes forward). Simply put, it was painful to walk!
My main concern was that I had caused a stress fracture to my tibia. I called a doctor friend and described my symptoms and to my great relief he said that it did not sound like a stress fracture mostly because I did not have pain when not moving. He recommended ibuprofen, twice daily heat and some light stretching.
So I made the difficult but wise decision to pause my run training program for a minimum of a week and to follow the docs advice carefully. In order to keep my cardio level up I switched to the ARC trainer. The ARC trainer was well suited for me because it requires minimal flexing of the ankle. I am happy to say that after less than a week I have no pain when walking. I will resume running next week starting slow and carefully listening to my body.
In my next post I will share with you two theories explaining why the shin pain occurred so severely and why my right leg only. Stay tuned...