Happy Trails!

By Stacy Thompson

If you’ve read my earlier posts, you know that I enjoy a good hike and, even better, a good challenge.  Although I’ve always loved the outdoors, hiking only recently became a favorite pastime, as I decided to follow in the footsteps of a pretty incredible mother (mine) who felt the pull of the peak.  Since her first climb six years ago, we’ve been on some incredible journeys together – but in finding joy in our journey, we have to prepare and prepare hard.  In truth, the hikes are amazing, but our prep time together is the greatest gift that leads to our ultimate goal.

So how do two land-locked, Lexington County natives living at 292 feet prepare for Machu Picchu (7,972 feet), base camp of Mt. Everest/Kala Patthar (18,514 feet) and Kilimanjaro (19,431 feet)??? One foot in front of the other, in stairwells, steps and trails anywhere and everywhere we can find them!  Maybe our fellow hikers with the benefit of high altitudes in the vicinity have an advantage, but we make the most of what we have available to us, and to date we have met every challenge.

Here are a few of our favorite spots to train and enjoy the outdoors in the Midlands (leaving out the parking garage, of course!)—

  • Columbia Canal and Riverfront Park – still a work in progress and still recovering from the Great Flood – the flattest path you’ll find and a great place to train for a 5k, 10k or ½ marathon – particularly nice on cooler days, as most of the paths are sun-filled!
  • Sesquicentennial State Park – probably better for the bikers, but these trails are accessible and have campsites available for overnights, if that’s your thing
  • Congaree National Park – I’ve only explored the shorter trails and the area by kayak, but plan to venture further into the area to see what this National Park has to offer
  • Cayce Riverwalk – accessible from the amphitheater off Gervais or the lot off Naples in the Avenues of Cayce – one of the easier boardwalks and trails for bikers, runners, hikers and dog-walkers – this trail is continuing to improve/expand and cannot be missed – and speaking of ‘don’t miss,’ be sure to check out the chainsaw artistry of Wade Geddings while you take in the beauty of the Congaree
  • Timmerman Trail – venture down the 12th Street Extension in Cayce toward SCANA to find this gem of a trail – eventually downtown Soda City will meet River Rat as the Timmerman Trail / Cayce Riverwalk will join with the Columbia Canal and Riverfront Park for miles and miles of enjoyment – until then, Timmerman Trail does not disappoint!
  • Harbison State Park – we’ve been hiking the park for a couple of years now, but still manage to find new areas, new parts to get (semi) lost in, and new trails that have us marveling that we are still within the county limits! Trails for bikes, hikes and pups – what could be better (nothing, based on the look on my boy Lincoln’s face!)  There are trails for newbies, those wanting a little challenge and those looking to take it to the next level!

 

LMC Heart & Sole Five Miler Training Tips – Shin Splints

Today marks the one-month countdown to the LexMed Heart & Sole Women’s Five Miler! Two of our Every Woman Bloggers bloggers, Crissie Kirby and Lara Winburn, have been hard at work training for the race.

When runners increase their training, many are affected by shin splints. In fact, shin splits is the topic of our next training question, from Crissie, for Health Directions Wellness Coordinator, Amanda Castles.

Crissie: My shins give me a terrible fit. What is the best way to prevent and treat shin splints?

LMC _133Amanda: Shin splints are very common among runners and often occur when your training routine has recently become more intense. With increased activity, the muscle, tendons, and bone in your shin may become overworked. This is what causes you to experience pain along your shinbone. The good news is that most cases of shin splints can be treated with rest, ice, and other self-care measures.

Here are some tips to help you prevent and/or treat your shin splints:

1. Make sure that you are wearing proper running shoes for your feet specifically.  Running shoes are designed to support the arches of your feet (whether you have flat feet, medium or high arches) and the mechanics of your running motion (taking into consideration which direction your foot rolls as you run as well as which part of your foot strikes the ground).  If you need help determining the best pair of running shoes for you, local stores such as Strictly Running and Fleet Feet can help you find the best fit for your needs. Running in shoes that are not worn out and provide proper support for your feet is key to preventing shin splints.

2. Avoid running hills while your shin splints are causing pain.

3. Stretch your calf muscles. You can see a calf stretch demonstrated in our Heart and Sole training video of stretches. You may find it beneficial to stretch your calves before and after your training run. Just remember to do your warm-up before stretching as we do not want to stretch cold muscles!

4. While sitting, trace the alphabet with your toes. Be sure to perform this activity on both legs. You can do this particular activity several times per day.

5. Icing your shins will help to reduce the inflammation. You should ice for 15-20 minutes at a time and you can do this 2-3 times per day.

6. Over-the-counter anti-inflammatory pain relievers, such as ibuprofen or naproxen, can also help to reduce the inflammation and any pain you may be experiencing as a result of your shin splints.

7. You may find that you need to scale back the time or distance that you are logging with your training runs for a little while. Avoid the activities that cause you pain, but don’t give up all physical activity. Try other low-impact exercises like swimming or biking so that you can stay active.

Leave a comment to let us know how your own training is going or to leave a word of encouragement for Crissie and Lara!