ART Therapy for Shinsplints

As I write this, I've just "graduated" from ART Therapy on my left shin after five sessions.

Incidentally, when I posted on my Facebook that I was getting ART Therapy, most of my friends assumed I was getting a tattoo, which led to a wide variety of comments on my Facebook wall. Everything from people telling me not to scar myself forever to others asking me to post pictures. It was an interesting little exchange, both from my "friends" who were shocked I'd consider a tattoo to those trying to pawn off their designs on me.

But no.... this was ART Therapy - Active Release Therapy.

In a nutshell, ART is deep massaging of the muscles that run up and down your shin. The concept is that you can break down adhesions that have formed between your muscle and bone.

Although I tend to hate doctors, I decided to do ART for two reasons:

1. I've moved to the point in my training where I'm doing speed work once a week. Historically, once I do speed work, my shins act up and I'm going to need speed work to get to Boston. In December, I missed a few key workouts due to shin pain.

2. Unlike many therapies, ART is relatively short term. My Dr. told me he'd do 4-8 treatments. In the end, we stopped at 5. The appointments themselves were much shorter than I expected them to be - about 15 minutes. As the Dr. is only 10 minutes from work, I just did it over my lunch hour.

After 5 treatments done over a 12 day period, I now have zero shin pain. While this could be coincidence, I tend to think not, as I've done two very hard workouts in the past five days.

The work for me, however, isn't over. Shin problems appear from a lack of flexibility. I've been doing a better job of stretching for the last year but had read plenty that suggested I wouldn't have long-term relief - even with stretching - if I didn't break down the adhesions, first. Now I have and it's up to me to keep up with the stretching.


In other news, my training is going pretty well - extremely well, given the awful winter weather. While I'm not running higher mileage than I ever have, I'm running much different intensities than I have, and the results are definitely showing.

There's not a whole lot to say about it, really, as there aren't many races right now, and many workouts are being done in less than optimum conditions. But I do believe I'm breaking through to different places and am hopeful they'll lead to a sub 3:15 marathon in the spring.

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