Where’s my head at? Marathon woes

Hurrah, Thursday! Unfortunately yesterday felt like Thursday to me…which is slightly annoying today. Hey ho!

Tuesday I saw my physio again. He says my shin seems a lot better. It does feel better but it still doesn’t feel completely right. It’s weird. It’s not a pain or a sharp feeling. It’s more like a discomfort and a tugging at my shin, if that makes any sense? If I push quite firmly at it there are tender areas but no sharp jump-out-of-my-seat pains. On the runs leading up to having time off I’ve felt it as a kind of nagging discomfort, until finally I knew I had to stop because if I pushed through it would turn to pain. Then afterwards it feels tender and I could feel it when I walked – that discomfort and pulling sensation.

Anyway, he told me I could run the next day – nothing crazy, just three miles. He said to stop if I feel any sort of pain or sharp stabbing feeling. A certain level of discomfort is fine though. I was going to run Wednesday morning but after a 20 mile bike ride the night before I decided to leave it until Wednesday evening after work. Also this way my body would be nice and warm and loose rather than all tired, cold and tight from being asleep so recently.

I felt sick all day thinking about running. How did I get here? How did running become such an anxiety for me? I was literally scared to run. I didn’t want to run but knew that it would be worse if I didn’t because I would continue to wonder how the shin was. I had had just over a week off of running, two sessions with my physio…this run was, on paper, set up to be good.

As soon as I started running I felt weird: stiff, strange…but the shin felt fine. I felt fine. As the run continue the shin did niggle from time to time but nothing like before. It didn’t alter my gait or speed. After the run it was tender but nothing horrendous. I stretched and iced. Today it feels OK. Not amazing but not as bad as it has previously the day after a run.

I have no idea what this means though. Really the test will be the next time I run, which is Saturday and again just three miles. I look back at my ‘training’ for Paris and I’m trying to compare it to understand where I’m at.

I’m happy (‘happy’ being a very loose word there) to run Berlin as long as the shin issue has gone. I can’t plough on through 26 miles in pain or discomfort and then be out for months afterwards. That’s not how I roll. But if the shin issue goes and in the two weeks leading up to the marathon my runs are feeling relatively normal (I’m under no illusion that everything will suddenly feel absolutely perfect) and the shin is not getting any worse then I can run Berlin. Any ideas of improving my times or hitting any certain goals obviously are gone, but just to enjoy the run like I did for Paris will be more than I can dream of at the moment.

It is four and a half weeks from Berlin. For Paris I had sprained my ankle when it was four weeks from the marathon date, and had to take two weeks off. But that was an acute injury that disappeared quite quickly. Who knows about this shin issue?

If you were me, what would you do?

Have you ever had shin splints?

Any advice out there would be marvellous!

14 Replies to “Where’s my head at? Marathon woes”

  1. I used to get shin splints as a teenager and it really hindered my running. I effectively stopped until my early 20’s and I guess it was some kind of growing pains. I haven’t had them again until this week, perhaps it is sympathy for you or perhaps it is just that I did hill intervals on Tuesday after a holiday. It is the strangest sensation after all this time to remember that pain. The ripping of the muscle away from the bone is horrible and I wonder what I should do? If I were you, I’d run the marathon, you’ve had it in your sights for an age and it is your distance. That said, I’d be sensible. As you said you don’t want to be out for months. All easier said than done I know but I’m sure you’ll do what feels right at the time. Good luck xx

    1. I really have no idea what to do anymore apart from rest. When I had knee issues I worked really hard on strength training for my glutes and legs and that helped hugely. I just don’t know what to do about these. Before the shin started really bothering my running I was calf raising and toe lifting to strengthen the area – which clearly didn’t help! So I’m a bit lost now 🙁
      AnnaTheApple recently posted…Where’s my head at? Marathon woesMy Profile

  2. I would run Berlin…but then again, I’m an idiot and pretty reckless with my health and running, so I don’t know that I’m the best person to listen to!

    I completely relate to feeling anxious about running. I’ve felt overwhelming anxiety about every single run since I sustained three stress fractures in 2011. I still get ghost/phantom pains in my pelvis, and every time I think I’ve re-fractured it. With the addition of my dead-leg injury, I’m constantly worried about the slightest amount of tightness as well. I can’t live without running, but a lot of the time I don’t want to run because I’m scared that I won’t make it and/or I’ll have to look at some embarrassing, slow splits.

    Calf stretches helped my shin splints no end. I would pay special attention to stretching them out, and also foam rolling them as much as you can.

    Jess recently posted…Race Recap ~ Pieces of 8 Trail Half Marathon ~ 2:07:15My Profile

    1. I completely relate to what you’ve said – your anxious about running but not running is worse. It’s a complete Catch 22. I think I just need to bite the bullet and take the time off. Running will always be there for me later on I guess.
      Thanks for the advice – I definitely need to do more calf stretches and foam rolling. At the moment I’ve become a bit despondent to the whole thing. A bit like “well it won’t change anything anyway” kind of thinking, which isn’t helping me.
      AnnaTheApple recently posted…Where’s my head at? Marathon woesMy Profile

  3. I think you are being very sensible.
    You have such a strong fitness base from your running and all the biking you have done over the Summer I wouldn’t worry too much about missing a few runs now. It is better that you don’t overdo it and go in injured. A lot of long distance running is in the head anyway so as long as that remains strong and your shin issue has gone I think you should be OK to run Berlin.
    Who would be a runner?… It’s a rather stressful life isn’t it?!
    Mary recently posted…The wedding morningMy Profile

    1. I know, sometimes I wonder why I run at all!! I love it but I hate it at times. I think you’re right about the mental strength. It is a lot of mind games. I have a few tools at my side to help with that – like milestone points, where to take my gels and music/podcasts. Fingers crossed. I just want to make to the start line (and finish line!) not injured!
      AnnaTheApple recently posted…Good times and good puddingsMy Profile

  4. If I were you I would run Berlin- you have a great base of fitness from all your cycling too, and even if you run at a slow pace for you, or run/ walk it, you would still reach any cut off (is there a cut off? That is what I always worry about) and hopefully enjoy the sights and the crowds. But then if you are having pain when running there is no point in putting yourself through it, so I suppose you need to see how you feel on the day or the day before.
    Maria @ runningcupcake recently posted…Quebec CityMy Profile

    1. I think you’re right – and I really respect your opinion as I always think you’re very sensible! I’m not going to go out thinking I can bash out a PB or anything close to that. It’ll be similar to Paris in that I will aim for a nice easy pace and just hope I get through. I’m not aiming to break any records or get carried away. I think I’ll enjoy it more that way anyway – no pressures!
      But yes if I do have any serious pains before the marathon in any of my lead-up runs then I won’t do it. It’s not worth it to me to run injured just to run the marathon.
      AnnaTheApple recently posted…Good times and good puddingsMy Profile

  5. We are so in the same boat, I actually don’t know what to do, and I don’t want to make a decision. I feel that if I’m still getting pain in the week before it will be a no go. I’m going to have to run/walk it, but if the pain is as it has been I won’t even be able to do that, and the thought of DNF’ing is worse than not starting I think for me, because it will be absolutely devestating to start it and be unable to finish, so I’m leaving the decision until race week, but not really hopeful! I have my fingers crossed for you!

    1. That’s exactly what I’m thinking. If I have any pains in the week before then I won’t do it. I’ll still go to Berlin but I won’t run it. It’s not worth it to me to injure myself further. I’d rather just not do the marathon and give my body the time it needs to heal to then sensibly get back into running without any more issues.
      My finger’s are crossed for you too! I hope we both make it there and round!!
      AnnaTheApple recently posted…Good times and good puddingsMy Profile

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