Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Cross Training for the Stubborn Runner AND Shin Splint Exercises

Here is what my past few weeks have looked like training-wise...
To sum it up, since my injury on March 3rd, I have done: 
  • 1 hour of Elliptical
  • 3:20 of Swimming
  • 2 hours of biking
  • 2:25 of Spinning
  • 2:10 of Weights (I did more than this, but I forget to record them every time.)
  • 1:50 of Yoga
  • 6:10 of Running
This totals out to about 13 hours of cross training and 6 hours of running in 16 days.  I would love to see a total of 18+ hours of running in this amount of time but to see almost 20 hours of workouts makes me happy.

Looking at these numbers, I am incredibly impressed with myself.  While I am very happy I was able to cross train while I was not running, I am most proud that I have continued even though I am still running.  (I am known to express my hatred for cross training, so this is a huge accomplishment for me.)

In the past, when coming back from an injury, I bounce right back to running, sometimes not even taking any time off.  This time, I am being super cautious.  I am running pain-free in terms of shin splints.  Unfortunately, my calves are still extremely tight and to prevent further injury I have decided to take it easy.  I am not running every day.  I am allowing myself to cut workouts short if I feel tired.  And, I am icing and stretching the rest of the day so that my calves are ready for the next run.  

So, now I am going to fill you in on the types of cross training that I have been busy with.  As you can see, I started out with the elliptical, 2 days post-injury.    I get really bored on the elliptical and unfortunately, the position of my foot irritated my shins even more.  Swimming and cycling are the recommended exercises for shin splints so I decided I was done with the elliptical during this recovery period.

The next day, I joined my gym and started swimming.  The first swim in the pool, again, irritated my shin.  This is when I started freaking out that I would never heal.  I was on the swim team in high school so usually stick to freestyle swimming and usually can get in quite a few laps.  My 3rd day post-injury was the last day I felt pain so I was able to pick up the intensity in the pool and also did some pool running.  I talked about pool running a few years ago, so here is a link to a post where I talk about workouts and other information.

Next, I tried biking and spinning.  I have fallen in love with this form of cross training.  The biking has been fun, allowing me to get outside and enjoy this wonderful weather.  The spinning has been awesome because of what a great workout it is.  I am not saying I am good at spinning, because I kind of stink at it.  But I love how much it makes me sweat.  I have been wearing my heart rate monitor to the class and my heart rate has been pretty comparable to a moderately paced run.  This fact alone has allowed me to relax a bit when thinking about all the runs I am missing leading up to Boston.

Finally, I have been doing a Group Centergy (Power Yoga) class and weights.  The Centergy class is a great upper body workout and seems to keep my heart rate higher than I would expect from a normal yoga class.  I have been pretty sore from this class but a good sore.  I have also been continuing on my normal strength training routine and finally seeing results.

So yeah, lots of cross training and reduced running.  I have hit two key workouts this past week including 19 miles at a pretty good pace and a 10 mile track workout yesterday.  I don't think I will PR at Boston, but I think I am setting myself up for a good race and will most definitely make it to that finish line injury-free.

And if you are interested in shin splints exercises, I highly recommend watching this video....So many exercises to try and they seem to be working for me!


portia o. said...

This is so funny cause I was just about to email you to tell you about this shin splint recipe I learned in college. Same as the exercise about halfway through the video. :) I am so proud of your continued cross training. Like you, I really hate it. I am so impressed and I hope to incorporate more cross in the future too. Maybe after this training cycle... :)

Laura said...

Nice job with all your cross training! I fell in love with spinning when injured too, and I really think it's made me a stronger runner. It helps fill in for the lack of hills around here to run on, too. You're being so smart. You may even surprise yourself at Boston! :)

Jolene said...

Not because I love barre n9ne so...buuut I bet barre n9ne would REALLY help your shins!! It has really strengthened mine immensely. As I watch this video, so much of these exercises are done in class anyway, and I never get shin pain anymore like I used to. I'll keep you posted on the April opening for Andover! ;-) And I am glad that your training is going well despite the injury!

Caroline said...

great job on your training! this video is great. thank you for posting it. I see some exercises that are also excellent for Plantar fasciiatis.

Michele @ said...

I give you so much credit for cross training. I always say I need to do more of it. It was just so much easier to fit in before the little guy came around!! Glad to see that you got a 19 miler in! Going to read that post now =)

Liana said...

You're amazing! I can never get myself to replace my running hours with some cross training, unless catching up on desperate housewives counts as cross-training.