Clive Portman: blog

Monday 26th June

First day back from holiday and I was worried Alex's Dragon game would be distracting me throughout the day. I've made a new rule to not carry out any gaming on my laptop while at work. That means lunchtimes, breaks, after I've finished for the day, everything. The problem with that bloody dragon game is it is on my phone and it pops-up notifications every ten minutes, so the first job was blocking all notifications for that on my phone. I did check the dragons at lunchtime and in the afternoon, but only in between tasks, never while in the middle of a task so I didn't lose concentration. Still, it would be better if I hadn't checked it at all.

I went through all my emails on the walk in to the office this morning. That got rid of all the Order Completed emails I get from clients' sites and I was able to skim through all the remainder and send off a couple of quick replies.

The rest of the day went well. A productive meeting in the morning with Kate then another with Scott/Nania to catch-up and see what's been going on. Then a more thorough look at my email to reply to anyone I need to. Then I made a list of jobs to work-on throughout the day. Rather than get straight into them I went to the gym and got some lunch, but after that I had a really productive afternoon ticking small jobs off my list left, right and centre. There wasn't as much from the fallout as I'd feared, so I was done with my small jobs by 16:30. Emails again at the end of the day and I was particularly pleased to be able to respond to one tiny job marked as urgent within only a minute of it being sent!

And as I wrote this in the morning, so I knew what success would look like, I checked on this again at the end of the day and I was remarkably bang on!

Gym

Found the bum-raises tiring.

Hill repeats

Hill repeats at Gas Hill. 5 reps. More consistent times than before, while beating previous sessions best effort three times. Set PB of 1.07.

Focused on cadence and fast, short steps, feeling myself running on the front of my foot without thinking about it.

Later on, right-shin is sore and even painful when walking. The only pain I felt during the run was the jog there. The hills were absolutely fine.

Shin splints, six months on

Things are looking up. As I sit here writing this my shins are hurting, but it's the exception rather than the norm now. I'm managing them much better. Less sustained runs at a fast pace and a more structured running programme instead.

I've worked hard on my technique: shortening my strides, watching my cadence and generally heel-striking less and it seems to be paying-off.

How to get shin splints

As with anything it's not difficult to find conflicting advice on the internet. But when it comes to shin-splints there is one common factor. Rest. Which is exactly not what you want to hear when you're trying to average 5km every day for Movember. Over the last ten days I've only done 10km. Eek.

What's is causing my shin splints?

In my case, I think I've got it down to only six possibilities:

Increasing mileage

When I increase my miles I only sometimes get shin pain and then it's only alongside other soreness because I've done a long run at pace. So I'm going to rule this out.

Running more on the road

The number of half-marathons I've done on the road in the last year suggests this is simply not the case, but I did first experience shin splints after starting to run on the road with Kate. Until that point I'd mostly been running on the road to get offroad, if that makes sense. At the same time, though, I bought the Adidas...

Increasing pace

There does seem to be some correlation with me going faster and my shins hurting more. That said, only once has that happened in shoes other than the Adidas Boston Boost. I think pace might be a factor, but not on its own.

My shoes

There definitely seems to be a link between me running faster in the aforementioned Adidas and feeling more sore afterwards that I do in any other shoes. It's generally at the side of the knees that I feel the most sore though, not always the shins. I think they might be a factor, but I'm not sure.

Too much of a heel-strike

I'm not entirely sure about this one, but when I have shin splints and go for a gentle run, I think my shins hurt less when I strike the ground more towards the front of my foot. It's worth researching this one a bit more because I believe the height of the heel on the Adidas forces you to heel-strike, and when I run faster I tend to open my stride and probably heel-strike more.

Going out too quickly, too soon

This current bout of shin-splints came after running 10km in my Helly Hansens, going out at a decent 4.30min/km pace right from my front door. I'm wondering if the lack of a warmup phase for my legs might be the problem here, but also at that pace it's quite likely I was opening up my stride and heel-striking.

How to get shin splints

So, to answer the question, if I want shin splints then I need to heel-strike more and not warmup properly. I need to do the following:

1. Wear shoes with a high heel to toe drop, so they force me to heel-strike more.
2. Open my stride out when I run faster, so I heel-strike more.
3. Go out quickly, straightaway.
4. For maximum effect, do all this while running on the road.

How not to get shin splints

And what's really important, what I need to do to avoid shin splints in future is wear flatter, lower profile shoes, improve my running mechanics to reduce heel-strike and make sure I build up slowly when running faster.

My running shoes

Binning the Adidas Boston Boost, I needed some more road shoes. I thought about running in my off-road shows on the road more, but as the miles stack up I'm not sure it's a good idea. They feel a bit firm for anything over 21km so I've bought something more cushioned. But first, about those Adidas.

Adidas Boston Boost

Before I bought these I was running in New Balance Minimus (I've had four pairs) and generally trying to stay off tarmac as much as possible. But when I started running with Kate, I needed something more suitable for the road, with a bit of cushioning. I went for the Adidas Boston Boost and loved them. After a few weeks though, I started getting pains in my shins and sometimes even in the tendons around my knees. I assumed it was because I was running on the road, but over time I've tried running the same routes in other shoes (like the Helly Hansen, below) and not had the same problem. I think the issue is the height and the cushioning making them a bit unstable, a bit like walking in high heels (no, I haven't tried), and my legs have been having to work extra hard for the stability.

So, as much as I love these Adidas, they've got to go.

Inov-8 Roadclaw 270

These are my replacement road shoes. I'm looking for a bit of cushioning but without the shin-splints I was getting from the Adidas. So far I've only run 5km in them and my shins were too sore from before so I can't really say if they're any better at the moment. They definitely feel less like I'm walking on heels, which is how I felt after switching from my off-road shoes to the Adidas. I think I prefer the aggressive, technical look of these. They feel a bit closer to the road as well, which I like.

Helly Hansen Terrak

I originally bought these to wear with jeans but despite looking great from the side, they look a bit naff from above. Then I tried running in them and, hold on a minute, no shin splints! I think they're quite light, but the best thing is the thickness of the sole. It's quite minimal but with enough cushioning for rocky terrain and even short to medium road runs, so they're pretty much ideal for a lot of my running.

New Balance Minimus

I love these from both a fashion perspective and for running on soft ground. I originally bought them as part of a barefoot drive but have settled for something more in the middle now. They're easily the most comfortable shoes I've had on my feet without socks. These are my fourth pair and may be my last as they're quite hard to find.

Adidas Boston Boost Inov8 Roadclaw 275 Helly Hansen Terrak New Balance Minimus
  • Image 1: Adidas Boston Boost
  • Image 2: Inov8 Roadclaw 275
  • Image 3: Helly Hansen Terrak
  • Image 4: New Balance Minimus

Adios Adidas Boston Boost

In the bin! In they go. Say goodbye, Adidas Boston Boost. Strava says I've done nearly 500km in these shoes and I must have been running with a hole in the toe for about half that. I'm convinced these shoes have been the cause of my shin splints over the last couple of years. I went for a last run in them tonight, a gentle 5K, and I could really feel the pain in my shins getting steadily worse over the last few km. As much as I love them, they've got to go.

Anyway, I'm going to use the throwing away of these shoes as a special moment. I'm not sure what that special moment is but hopefully it'll be the start of me not having shin splints any more. New shoes on the way...