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shin splints-3 weeks before half marathon-any hope for recovery?

Ok, so I'm 3 weeks out from my first half marathon and today I barely got through 4 out of 10 miles due to shin splints. What do I do??? Contributing factors (regretfully a little late) I'm guessing are that the last couple of weeks I've done my long runs too close together (rather than opposite ends of the week), not warmed up enough prior to running, not stretched long enough afterwards and probably need to change my sneakers. My fear--falling behind on my training if I take some time off. Thankfully, I did complete an 11 miler earlier this week but I just don't want to loose that momentum. Do I still have hope in being able to make it 3 weeks?? If so, what should my training look like??
Highly Dissapointed (even though I can only blame myself).

2 answers

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I feel your pain as a fellow medium-long distance runner myself. When I’ve had shin splints or what I thought were shin splints, was when I initially began running on a consistent basis or when I took time off & I was re-acclimating my body to the rigors of running.

Here’s my suggestion; it’s critical to determine whether you truly have shin splints or if the pain you’re experiencing is the onset of another injury. It’s important to determine that so you can effectively treat the injury with the direction of your doctor.

Here’s the good news, if you’ve been diligent with your training, as it sounds as if you have been, your conditioning, stamina & endurance should be at optimal levels. Even if you DIDN'T have pain in your shins, you’re at the marker where you should be ramping down to ensure you’re 100% (or as close as possible) on race day.

So what do you do now….ensure you have proper footwear; shoes that aren’t overly worn or that are overcompensating for any pronation or supination you may have & that you have shoes that accurately fit your specific type of foot. If you start today, they should be ready on race day. I would also recommend some RICE (rest, ice, compression & elevation) with circular icing & an ice-massage technique. You should also incorporate some targeted stretching.

To ensure you’re endurance remains high, incorporate some circuit or cross training with low impact movements to again, provide as much rest as possible for your shins. You may want to consider some anti-inflammatory meds as well to combat the inflammation & potential swelling.

Good luck, you’ll be fine.


Tony Nicholson 141k
6 years ago

Dr. Tony,
As always, I knew you would provide the needed positive encouragement and hope. Thank you!!! I picked up a new pair of sneaks yesterday (although they were only from Dick's sporting so I may take your advice of seeking out a local store that can take a look at my stride and recommend accordingly), have been icing and started w/the anti-inflammatory this am and will continue to stretch. I feel better alreay (although I was hoping to do 11 miles on Tues--I take it that is going to be a big NO from you and the experts so I will tame myself :-).
Thanks again!

6 years ago

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member since Jul '11


9/24/2011 at 7:11 PM