Running is (Not!) Too Hard on the Body – Part I

Posted by Filed Under: Pose Method of Running, Running Form, Running Injuries

Article Summary: Part one of a two-part series that offers hope to runners who’ve given up on running because of injuries, or who are close to giving up because of pain and injuries, or who are new to running and want to avoid injuries.

pain.pngHave you ever met someone who said they had to quit running because it was too hard on their body? Do you know someone who’s close to quitting?

Or maybe that someone is you?

The story is repeated often among runners and ex-runners …

You start running and find that you love it or, at the very least, you put up with it because it’s the best way to manage your weight.

But problems arise. You get get shin-splints. Or knee pain. Or Achilles heel pain. Or … well, you get the picture.

So you start looking for answers and, more often than not, you’re told to “slow down” or “run less” or “get better shoes”.

So you try those things. Maybe you even get orthodics but, eventually, you’re hardly running at all anymore.

You lose your passion for running. You lose fitness. You gain weight. You think your running career is over, or worse, maybe it is over … you stop running.

And you’re not happy.

Well, I’m here to tell you that maybe – just maybe – your running days are not over. So, please don’t give up – there is hope.

You see, I was like you. I struggled with pain. And injury.

From 1992 to 2000, I could never get beyond three or four days of running a week without getting shin-splints. I had shin-splints for years. I wasn’t doing a lot of mileage during that time – and better shoes never solved the problem.

In 2000, I began marathon training and never looked back. I love training for marathons. Next to the time I spend with family and friends, it’s one of the things I love most in life.

But those shin-splints got worse and worse. I’d be willing to bet they were often close to being stress-fractures. And, if that wasn’t enough, I also suffered from absolutely terrible lower back pain. Not good.

All the while I wondered, “Why am I having these problems? Am I doing something wrong?”

And then things got worse – I got a stress-fracture in my ankle while running a marathon. It took me the better part of six months to recover from that injury.

But it was during that time when I figured out what I’d been doing wrong and set in motion a sequence of events that led to me running another marathon – a personal best. The bonus? That I trained for that marathon injury-free at mileages way higher than I’d trained at previously.

Tomorrow I’ll share the secret I learned for making sure running is not be too hard on your body. Read Part Two

About Mark Iocchelli

Also known as the "Running Blogfather", I'm a 40-something marathoner who has beaten stress fractures and terrible shin splints. Now I'm running double the mileage with no pain - and I'm getting faster. I love to talk about running form and Arthur Lydiard. I also enjoy taking photographs, have a beautiful (and very patient!) wife, and am the proud father of two crazy kids. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions or comments about the site.

  1. Sepehr on July 2nd at 10:03 am

    hey mark,

    looking forward to the next submission. i had the same problems. i did a few things that started to help with my shin splints. first off, i incorporated shin specific stretches to my pre and post run routine. also, i switched up my runs to alleviate strain on any part of my body. for instance when i run on track i change up my direction every few miles. this helps relieve the pressure from one side of my body.

  2. Joyce on July 2nd at 12:37 pm

    I’m also looking forward to hearing about this! I think I’ve tried everything!

  3. runningkate on July 2nd at 5:44 pm

    I can’t wait to find out… because I can’t seem to shake my knee pain!

  4. Zach on July 2nd at 7:11 pm

    Just what I’ve been looking for! I’ve just started my marathon training 3 weeks ago and the shin splints are starting to get to me already! I’ve never really had a problem with them until now. Really looking forward to you next article.

  5. bex on July 2nd at 9:38 pm

    Oooh, Oooh, I know what it is! (I think.) Is it like a certain type of tea once just popular in India and Africa, but now popular everywhere? And without the “a”?

  6. Jon (was) in Michigan on July 3rd at 6:23 am

    Oh no. This isn’t some crazy Canadian idea like the metric system is it? I’m still working out that one.

  7. NOD on July 3rd at 7:25 am

    I would LOVE to know the secret to this because this has been my life–I was a runner, turned rower for the past 6 years and now am starting to run again in the summer and have horrible knee pains, shin splints, and calf tightness that makes it unbearable to run. I have the energy and ability to do long runs, except my legs give out where I can no longer walk after 30 mins. of running more than 4-5x a week.
    Give me the secret!!

  8. Running is (Not!) Too Hard on the Body - Part II » Complete Running Network on July 3rd at 8:02 am

    […] Running is (Not!) Too Hard on the Body – Part I […]

  9. jon on July 5th at 1:18 am

    i am a highschool runner and i have had problems in the past. luckily it was my shoes and all the little problems. but recently i have made a purchase of a device called “the stick” its great and i think every runner should own one. also running on the opposite side of the road sometimes helps reduce stress on the legs and ankles because of the curb.

  10. jon on July 5th at 1:20 am

    oh ye i almost forgot the website for the stick try one they help