Spring is in the air! If you live in the Northeast like I do, after having 60 degree temperatures, you couldn’t imagine that we’d now be dealing with 8-12 inches of snow on the ground from a storm last week. Still, warm weather is on the way and that means more people working out outside. There are fitness enthusiasts and everyday people who, in trying to stick with their New Year’s Resolutions, would rather workout at a park or track instead of a gym.
If you have been cooped up inside all winter and only ran on a treadmill, transitioning outside can be somewhat of a challenge. Running on a treadmill is completely different from running outside. Many people get shin pain when they begin to run outside because their bodies aren’t ready for all the pounding on the pavement. Shin pain can be debilitating and lead to shin splits and even a stress fracture. There are some basic things you can do to prevent shin pain and prepare yourself to run outside on different surfaces.
Shin pain occurs when the muscles in your leg are not strong enough to withstand the pounding they take from the force production that occurs when running on hard surfaces. Sitting on your couch weakens your body and running on the treadmill is not the same as running outside. After taking time off, you have to prepare your body for the demands of your workout or cross-training activity. When running on a treadmill, your stance leg becomes a stabilizer so you don’t fall off the treadmill. Plus, the surface on a treadmill is forgiving, unlike asphalt or a track. There is no push-off when running on a treadmill because the belt goes backwards.
Asphalt, rubberized track and grass are all surfaces that impact your legs differently than a treadmill. The push-off in multiple planes of motion puts tremendous stress on the lower leg. Jumping, cutting, start-and-stop sports all put stress on your shins. Your training in the gym should reflect these added stresses to help prevent injury in your favorite activities.
So how do you strengthen your shins? Ankle flexion is the best way, but you should also work to strengthen your glutes, quads, hamstrings and calves, which will help prevent you getting pain in your shins. Glute Bridging, RDL’s and Lunges should all be performed before you start running outside. Another exercise that should be done is 4-Way Hip in a cable column or a 4 Way Hip machine. Strengthening your hips in all 3 planes of motion will help lessen the impact of running on your shins. Below are two workouts you can do to help prevent shin pain.
In order to strengthen your legs and combat shin pain you should perform these exercises and gradually increase your intensity and volume of your activity as you get stronger.
Hip Thrust – 3x15
Single Leg Glute Bridge – 3x12 each leg
Towel/Val Slide Reverse Lunge – 3x12 each leg
Seated Calf Raise – 3xBurn
Band Ankle Dorsi Flexion – 3x15
Related Videos for exercises:
4 Way Hip – 3x15 each way
Single Leg Hip Thrust – 3x12 each leg
4 Way Band – 2x20 yards
(forward/backward/side to side)
Leaning Ankle Lifts – 3xBurn
Related Videos for exercises:
Enjoy these workouts and finally getting to exercise outdoors soon!