I've never been big on cross-training, until this past early November when I was gearing up my Houston Marathon training and developed a bad case of shin splints. I tried stretching, of which I'll talk about some other day, walking, ice, and self-massage to no avail. Then I tried to come up with some non-impact exercise that would keep me sufficiently toned to re-enter the marathon training efforts. Voila, use the stationary bike at the office fitness center, Sherlock.
But something strange happened along the way...the shin splints largely went away, and much quicker than they ever had before. Why? I'm not sure, but I'm guessing it had to do with the constant micro-stretches the biking put the lower legs through during the typical 60 minute ride at 110 rpm. I've since continued my riding on many non-running days, which means 2-3 rides a week. I specifically try to ride the day after running, so typically I'll run on Tuesday and Thursday and then once over the weekend, with the running day depending on how my legs feel.
I'm not certain the cross-training is the cause of my reduced shin splints, but even through the high mileage months of November and December my pain was nearly gone. So now I'm not so interested in why, but am more interested in the lack.
On the training front, I'm really getting tired of the wet, cold weather. I've had meetings all this week across town in the Galleria area, meaning I've had up to 90 minute commutes, and that has no bus time, so no reading, etc. I finally gave up today and got no exercise at all, but I did ride the stationary bike yesterday for 60 minutes in the 15 hard, 5 easy sequence, and then did 20 minutes of resistance training. That's enough for this skinny guy.