The no-run exercise plan

The day after the race I felt great.   But when I ran a couple days later some mild shin pain had me suspecting the start of shin splints.  Maybe running on asphalt during the race hadn’t agreed with me.  Maybe it was running a longer distance than usual.  Or possibly I’ve been focused so much on landing on my toes that I’m not putting my heels down enough.  I wasn’t really sure what the culprit was, but I decided Christmas week was a good time for a few days off.

The day after Christmas I ran a mile which left my shins only a little tweaky.   But two days later when I went to run again, my shins complained more loudly.  It wasn’t terrible, but I wasn’t brave enough to run that day and had a nice two mile walk instead.

After consulting with Dr. Google, I’m reasonably certain it is shin splints, which supposedly you can run through.   But I’m going to be cautious and take 10 days off running.  In the meantime I plan to walk or bike 3 times a week.  And next week I have an appointment with a trainer at the rec center to see what’s up and make a plan to hopefully avoid more injury.

Today I did 15 minutes of weights, then 10 miles of ‘hills’ on the stationary bike at the rec center.  No shin pain, and thanks to HGTV wasn’t too terribly boring.  Also, on the recommendation of a friend (and 2000+ 5-star reviews on amazon) I bought the 30 Day Shred.  With foul winter weather it will be good to have another option for indoor workouts. I’m optimistic that a bit of a break will have me back running soon.

A few people have asked me about weight loss.  During my first two months of running, I didn’t lose a pound. Kinda irritating, considering all the exercising. In November I got serious and started counting calories at The LiveStrong site is super easy to use.  You type in what you eat, click “I ate this”  (yikes!  🙂 ) and it totals the calories for you.

Just knowing that I’ll be writing everything down makes me eat more carefully.    Literally within a week of counting calories, I started losing weight.  I’ve lost 8 pounds now, but because I’m also exercising, it feels like I’ve lost more.  Last week I actually bought a pair of size 8 jeans for the first time since I was in my 20’s, and they fit great.  Shocking how good something that simple can feel.

I’ve gone back and forth about actually blogging all this…to tell the truth, it is a little out of my comfort zone.  But I know that reading about other people’s successes encourages me, so I decided to get my experience out there.  (still just in my sidebar, though!  🙂 )

My stats for 2010:

  • Walking: 22 miles
  • Running: 74 miles
  • Biking: 13 miles
  • Weight lost: 8 pounds

In the new year, my goal is to lose another 15 pounds, and I am hoping to run/walk 250 miles, or about 5 miles a week.  I’m thinking about some more races too.  This one in June looks like fun, doesn’t it?  We’ll see….


  1. Mary,
    Thanks for being honest and sharing your struggle. I am also exercising and not losing the twenty pounds I want to lose. I am not tracking what I eat and feel that is the battle. What is going into my mouth and how much. I am eating to much food and the wrong foods.
    Just on a side note I am absolutely enjoying your book, A Sane Woman’s Guide to raising a Large Family.
    In Christ
    Mary Spilman

  2. Mary, I’m so behind on the run log. But I still love it. I struggled with shin splints quite a bit. They are worst at the beginning of your running training, meaning before you build up to a base level of fitness. But then again, once you have (and you have) they will crop up again when you go too far or push too fast etc….it’s the first line warning system in your body in a way. BUT there are a few key things to do to help them tremendously and also to keep you running if you wish:
    Ice them after you run. It helps for next time, too.
    Ibuprofen, of course.
    But the KEY thing is preventative and I did it religiously: stretch them before and after. I think some of the really good stretches for them should be in those books you have. And the stretch sounds looks and feel weird but it works. To describe it: For the right leg: lunge forward a bit on your left leg w/ weight over bent left knee. push your right leg back behind you w toes pointed and then drop it down and sink into that right leg, bearing weight on your left but feeling the body weight also dropping into the right shin. w/ the leg pulling back and down w/ toes dragged on floor you should feel the stretch in your shins. The books should have pics…..It’s weird but it works. My dad showed me this and he was a major runner (not like a name runner, like a maniac runner, for decades, marathons, ultra marathons, then cut back to 7 mi/day up to 77 yrs old).
    Also do the exercise where you put a towel on the floor and then your toes grab it and pull it in, gathering it in. It strengthens those muscles.

    I’m so impressed w/ your running commitment. The beginning times are always the hardest part. You’re doing so great!


    this link above gives a better image (an actual image I should say) of this stretch. And a better description than my mangled one.

  4. Once upon a time, I was a runner. Then I developed shin splints. The trainer said they cannot be “run through” as if you keep stressing them, you can develop fractures. So I backed off running. I never went back to it due to life changes. I hope you find a good treatment and can return to running soon!

  5. Yep, yep, yep…I am running that race with you! I would love to do the half, but I probably won’t have enough time after the baby is born to get up to that distance. So I will probably be doing the 5k this time around.

  6. Mary,
    Thanks for sharing your experiences this year! I will be interested to hear how you like the 30 Day Shred. I sometimes watch Biggest Loser because it can be inspiring but for some reason I can’t make it through an episode without eating a bowl of ice cream and some chips. LOL!

    I think that I have almost convinced myself to get off the couch and start a walking plan (I’m more than a few pounds from being able to run) thanks to your inspiration!

  7. I love hearing your experiences!! I had wanted to start the C25K plan but winters in NY make that tough and I can’t see shelling out the cash for a membership to a club to use the treadmill. I plan to start after the spring thaw and work on the Shred during this winter. Tonight is my last hurrah at eating without counting calories and I am back on track tomorrow.

  8. Mary: I didn’t lose any weight, not a pound, though I was training 4-5 days per week for 8 months. I finally got frustrated enough to track food through Weight Watchers, and that is when I started losing. So far I’m down about 10 lb. So I totally understand.

    Also, landing more on your midfoot (where the ball of your foot is) may help with the shin splints. Barefoot or minimalist runners like me learn to land on that pad on the foot naturally because without a shoe to cushion your feet, toe or heel striking is not an option (it hurts way too much and you can’t go very far). Maybe try running barefoot on a treadmill for a few minutes at your endurance pace to see if you can tell if a change in your running form would help the shin splints (once you are cleared by the doc to run again, of course).

    And thanks for following my blog! I’m super honored . . .

  9. Congratulations on 8 pounds! I lost weight beginning in May working out to the 30 Day Shred and using MyPlate. I blogged all about it and found that if I did so, I was held accountable. I’ve never had great success in sticking to exercise but now I’m a changed person. Good luck!

  10. I lost 6 pounds and an inch off my hips with the 30 day shred and keeping track of what I ate. I’m hoping to make exercise a better habit this year. No more weight to lose – just want to be stronger, have more stamina, and just be overall healthier!

  11. Mary, if you continue to have a problem with this you might try barefoot running (vibram sells a very strange looking but oddly comfortable shoe). Some experts think that padded running shoes may actually be the cause of this problem as our feet weren’t designed to run in 1 inch padded shoes, regardless of how comfortable they feel.
    I ran in high school and developed knee problems and always get a burning sensation in my knees when I run in normal running shoes. I bought a pair of vibram’s three months ago and the problem has been solved (for now). I’m still skeptical but have found the result interesting so far.
    Here’s something to read about shin splints relating to this

    • Wendy: I wear fivefingers too!! I love them, I couldn’t run before and now I’m planning to run a marathon in Dec. 2011. Viva la fivefingers!!

      • I have a friend who just ran a half marathon in them, on asphalt the whole way and had no problem. So maybe they are the way to go. Good luck with the marathon!

  12. I was getting into a run/walk routine last year. It took me a long time to build up to run a 1/2 mile. Then in July I hurt my back pretty bad and haven’t done much running or exercising beyond some Yoga since then. Right now I cant stand or sit long without my back feeling bad so I started seeing a Chiropractor a month ago & we hope to get me back up & running.

    The reason for my post was to comment on the subject of wieghtloss while running & shin splints. When I first started to just run/walk intervals I had terrible shin splints. Over time they subsided but they really went away when I began doing a specific stretch. It might not work for everyone but it worked for me…Put one leg up on a chair height seat, point you toe out and stretch the toe forward, you should feel the shin area stretch then you’ll know you are doing it. Once I began those before run stretches it was like a magic cure for me. Hope it works for you.

    Dieting, I was doing running & walking & other exercises for a year before I started to see my weight coming off once a week. I had finally gotten my metabolism out of its slump. THen I hurt my back and even though I was standstill the pounds were still coming off…however now that has stopped. POint is it takes a long time with some of us but it will be worth it in the end and you will be getting the exercise your body needs no matter what size you are 🙂

  13. Rich Breton says:

    Thats a great decision I wish I had made!
    A few years back I used to run a lot a play soccer with Ben and having done similar research on google came to the same conclusions that I could “run through them” as well. so I did that all summer but the pain only got worse. It was a huge mistake resulting in pain so bad I fell on the concrete walking to the video store one day and I couldn’t get up and support myself for a few days. I tried all kinds of things from having my foot looked at and buying expensive motion control running shoes to running barefoot. The net result is I had to stop running. I hope to be able to start running again later this summer but Im going to have to lose the weight I regained not exercising first (About 45 Lbs).

    Good Luck!

  14. I’ve a program in which you walk for 2-minutes and run for 2-minutes. Then you can build from there. Most of all don’t over exert yourself. I prefer doing this program on a non-paved road or trail. Running on paved road or trails I was always told do cause injuries, more so than running on an non-paved road or trails.


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