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Cause of injury; training advice

Answered By Mick Grant & John Molvar


Hi. I am 15 year old girl, and I've started running cross country for my school this past fall. Perhaps half way into the season, I had a minor pain in my knees. I had to ice everyday after practice. I don't think I over trained, as I was in relatively good shape, starting out with a 26 minute 5K for my first race, and a PR of 23:14 minutes 5K. During the winter season, I trained hard on the treadmill. However, to avoid too much impact on my knees, I trained at the highest incline on the treadmill (grade 15), working up to a pace of about 6.0 - 6.5 mph normally. I ran about 30 minutes to 1 hour each day (resting on weekends). I've become very accustomed to this routine on the treadmill. However, after three weeks of no running during Spring Break, I jumped right back to this same treadmill routine. This was fine. But, I decided to change up the inclines and speed, because I needed variety in my training. Though I never set the treadmill to completely flat, I did go lower to at lowest 5 grade, but normally grade 10 at 7.5 mph. I ran 45 minutes to 60 minutes each day, this first week, switching between grade 10 to grade 15. Then, without any rest on the weekend, I continued running the second week after Spring Break. Realizing how bad I got at pacing myself off the treadmill, I spent half my time running this second week o utside. Now, this is the third week, and I have lower leg pain, especially shin splints. This is the third week. I've avoided going on the treadmill for a week now. Also, I did relatively easy jogs outside for about 30 minutes each day, in addition to completely resting for one day and then swimming another day. My feet are over pronated. Would this cause the injuries I'm experiencing? Am I likely over training? I've heard that switching from treadmill to outside running causes shin splints; is that true? Is the switch from running at steep inclines on the treadmill to relatively flat ground outside a factor? As for treatment, how does icing help? Would injuries be less likely if I iced even if I don't have injuries? What stretches and strengthening exercises (knees/ shins) should I do? What can I do in swimming to help my running? As for training for someone injury free running 5Ks, would it be effective to train by running at race pace most days? Is an easy day necessary (why not just not run?)? Do strides, butt kicks, and high knees exercises help? Do short sprint pieces help?


Wow, that is a lot of ground to cover! I'd suggest going to a running shop and having your stride evaluated for the correct shoe. Having the wrong shoe can cause problems. A lot of kids have stiff shoes, which I've found are not great for your shins. It sounds like part of your problem could be related to breaks followed by full training. It is better to do a little every day and gradually build up. Find out how much you can run with no pain and do that for a while and then gradually build up again. Icing is usually good, as is stretching, form drills and massage. I can't give medical advice, I leave that for the professionals. Don't run injured. Training at race pace every day is not a good idea. You would be better off slowly building up a nice big aerobic foundation and maybe a small amount of tempo running at race pace, depending on your level of fitness. check these http://www.youthrunner.com/content/view/2156/39/ http://www.youthrunner.com/content/view/3214/39/ http://www.youthrunner.com/content/view/2968/39/

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