Letter from a Board Member

From fields to roads

By: Matt Sherman

I’ve played soccer since a time not long after I started to walk. I played just about every position (except goalie, too much standing around) but eventually I developed into a central midfielder, a position in which you need to be able to cover the field. On a slight digression, I’ll admit to being a more offensive minded player so I did tend to put a little more effort into my runs towards the opponents net than on the way back. See included photo for the proper running form when cutting around a defender.

When soccer season would come around, we started off the fall season with a week of conditioning exercises. These were said to be “optional” but the quotation marks on that are absolutely fitting. The dreaded activity for the week was running repeats on one of the local roads, very fittingly called Upham Hill. My junior year of high school, our soccer coach encouraged us to run track in the spring in order to help get some conditioning in for soccer. I signed up and ran the mile (and sometimes the 800) with the JV squad. I enjoyed the team workouts but absolutely dreaded the meets. I was a soccer player who just wanted to stay in shape and wanted nothing to do with a competitive track event!

I didn’t know it yet, but that season of track planted a seed that would come back later. Jump forward a couple years and I was playing small sided intramural soccer, but also going for some runs along the beautiful lakeshore path right outside the dorms. Playing intramural soccer on smaller fields with a fraction of the players, I started to realize that the sport I loved might be shifting towards something I used to do, or at least to something different. I no longer had “my team”, the friends I grew up with playing soccer during the summer and fall. Writing this now, I still feel the strong pull of nostalgia back to the “good old days.”

During my third year, a few of my friends were running in the Madison Mini Marathon in 2012. And to preempt the question of “what is a Mini Marathon?” I’m going to just let you know that it’s a half marathon. Anyways, I remember seeing all the runners at the finish line and thinking “I want to feel the way they do right now, finishing a hard race and soaking it all in at the after party!” So when the registration opened up for the next year’s race, I signed up first thing. Signing up for a race gave me a target and running gave me something that I could do myself, or with friends.

When I first moved to the Upper Valley, some of the first people I met invited me to sign up for the CHaD Hero Half Marathon. And I’ll admit that coming from the midwest, the hills in that race beat the crap out of me! Not long after, another new friend invited me to sign up for the Covered Bridges Half Marathon the following summer. I’ve always been pretty lucky signing up for events or tickets that sell out quickly, so I got my place! I finished that race and found that I absolutely loved the snack tent at the end! Of course, the course was beautiful and the music along the way was inspiring, it goes without saying.

Sometime after running a few half marathons, I decided to make the jump and try to knock the marathon off the bucket list. I won’t go into too many details here, but the Mount Desert Island Marathon is such a beautiful course. Note from my finisher’s photo that I really learned to enjoy that finish line feel, still one of my favorite moments!

As for my future, I haven’t yet made the jump to the ultra marathon, but I’d love to make the effort some day! We’re certainly in a beautiful area with some wonderful races. And if you’re a former (or still current) soccer player like me, reach out and say hi sometime and we can reminisce about soccer tournaments and the joys of playing in the rain!

Member Submission

Lone Run Challenge - March - Wear The Hat

By: Tim Smith

I was a little stumped for a Lone Runner Challenged for this month, so I reached out to a few of my running companions (people who ran with me before the pandemic).  I told them that my only idea was something related to the Boston Marathon, which is normally in the middle of April.  But 26 miles on one day is too much (except in a race), and 26 miles for the month was clearly too little.

 Geoff wrote back and suggested a "Mud Season" theme.  This made me go back and re-read Robert Frost's poem from where we derive this season's nickname.  

 Two Tramps in Mud Time - Robert Frost

(excerpts from)


Out of the mud two strangers came

And caught me splitting wood in the yard,

And one of them put me off my aim

By hailing cheerily “Hit them hard!”

. . .

The sun was warm but the wind was chill.

You know how it is with an April day

When the sun is out and the wind is still,

You’re one month on in the middle of May.

But if you so much as dare to speak,

A cloud comes over the sunlit arch,

A wind comes off a frozen peak,

And you’re two months back in the middle of March.


That description of April is so true!

 But then Dorcas wrote and reminded me that the Boston Marathon is held on Patriots' Day (April 19), the day of the Battle of Lexington and Concord, and maybe there was a tie in there?  Actually, the way I remember when the marathon is, is to recall the opening lines of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's poem


Listen my children and you shall hear

Of the midnight ride of Paul Revere,

On the eighteenth of April, in Seventy-five;

Hardly a man is now alive

Who remembers that famous day and year.


from: The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere


(Note: he rode on the 18th, to raise the alarm for events on the 19th)


Patriots', mud and marathons are all great suggest, but instead I challenging you with the thread which ties them.

This months challenge is to share the poems, songs and lyrics which you carry around in your head while you run. They may be poems which inspire you, or songs which which get the blood racing, or . . .

 When I was in college, undoubtedly the favorite song for the team was Springsteen's Born to Run

 `Cause tramps like us, baby we were born to run

 but maybe your a more melancholy runner

 The long and winding road . . .

 or maybe a bit more profound

 they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, 

and not be weary;

and they shall walk, and not faint.

 I personally am greatly attached to the idea of adventure in stepping out on a road, because of the great possibilities:


The Road goes ever on and on

Down from the door where it began.

Now far ahead the Road has gone,

And I must follow, if I can,

Pursuing it with weary feet,

Until it joins some larger way

Where many paths and errands meet.

And whither then? I cannot say.



So this month, send me the songs that sing in your head while you run, and let me share them with our community.

Member Submission

Lucky’s Coffee Garage: a Gathering Place for our Running Community

By: Hannah Task and Scott King

The Saturday morning running groups are about more than just the run. Lucky’s Coffee Garage in Lebanon is a great place to gather after week-end runs and connect with fellow runners while enjoying delicious food and drinks. Runners also appreciate Lucky’s’ central location, unique decor true to its gas station history, and welcoming staff. As organizers of the Saturday morning run and Couch to 5K groups, we asked several regulars to tell us more about their perspectives on Lucky’s.

At Lucky’s, runners share lively conversations and stories. Jim, a longtime UVRC organizer, says, “I have really missed seeing my running friends during the pandemic and look forward to reuniting again soon at Lucky's. All you have to ask is, ‘How did your run go?’ And the conversations just go on and on”. 

Tim, another UVRC organizer whose accomplishments include developing a virtual racing app, likes to listen to and share stories with other runners, such as those about injuries or races. Sara, a running enthusiast and volunteer, also misses going to Lucky’s in person and hearing stories, such as Tim’s about pet-sitting for Alberto Salazar. 

There are times when spouses or children have joined us after our runs. Annabelle, for example, joins us on the runs in a stroller and is a great joy to have at the table. Her family is the only one Scott knows in the running group in which three generations attend Lucky’s: Annabelle, her mom Jen, and her grandmother Laurie. 

Lucky’s facilitates new connections with team-mates and other people. RJ, who frequents Saturday morning runs and volunteers with the Couch to 5K program, first had a long conversation with Nancy and Geoff, UVRC runners and organizers, at Lucky’s. He and his friend Matt, a fellow UVRC runner and Couch to 5K volunteer, were in a book club and asked for recommendations. “Nancy was cycling from book to book with all these really interesting stories she’s read. It was great, I lost track of time entirely. It was a great community-building moment”. 

Tim once connected with someone sitting behind him when he overheard that person talking about getting into running and wondering about the local running community. He turned around and told that person about the club, and the person joined in with some club events after that.

Nancy has found it fun how particularly in the summer, people would join a UVRC group as they finished their runs, “and as some people would leave, more people would join”. Dorcas, another UVRC organizer, says “I love that the 9:00 runners would come around 10:30 and the Couch to 5K runners [who meet at 8] would still be there . . . you had a chance to hang out with them as well”. 

Lucky’s serves tasty coffees and teas and delicious pastries. Luke, an avid runner and triathlete, commends their “high quality coffee options and homemade baked goods”. For those of you who like to visit in the afternoon, Lucky’s offers an “ever expanding menu with creative sandwich and soup choices”, in Jim’s words. Anticipating a treat at Lucky’s can be “a great incentive to get out and run, because you know that you can stop at Lucky’s and reward yourself”, says Nancy. 

Favorite drinks and food of runners we spoke with include the Fuego del Zorro (a chili-flavored mocha), coffees of all varieties (regular, Americano, latte, cold brew, mocha), popovers with maple butter, breakfast sandwiches, the spinach-feta biscuit, and the avocado toast with pickled onion and a special aioli (garlic mayonnaise). 

RJ first tried his favorite Lucky’s drink, the “Party Time” (Mexican coca-cola mixed with root beer) after a tough run: “I just remember feeling so refreshed and relieved . . . to sit down and be like: this is exactly what I wanted, I feel like a wilting flower that has finally been watered again”. 

Members of UVRC appreciate the local, independent nature of Lucky’s. Sara toutes the local ingredients and coffee roasters Lucky’s uses. Regarding the building’s history, Luke says “I think it’s cool that they renovated an existing space - the gas station . . . that’s pretty unique”. RJ appreciates this repurposing too from a sustainability perspective. Tim likes how the building’s history shows up in fun details such as shelves made of old engine parts and the license plates on the walls. 

The Lucky’s staff are welcoming and seem to find enjoyment and purpose in their jobs. Kristin, a Couch to 5K member, comments how accommodating Lucky’s has been to our larger groups. Nancy has noticed how the Lucky’s staff seem to be working towards a shared mission. Sara appreciates the creativity Lucky’s staff put into their work: “I have a very common name, so when I order coffee, I won’t give the baristas my name, I’ll tell them my name is Batman [to avoid a mix-up with another Sara] . . . Lucky’s draws the most ornate Batman drawings on my cup, and it’s made me very happy during Covid”.

We often attend Lucky’s in large numbers. One Couch to 5K member mentioned how at one gathering we pushed two booths and two tables together. Scott remembers that day, and how one could get lost in all the conversations going on. Scott found it best to stay involved in a conversation with perhaps one other person next to him. 

Lucky’s is centrally located in Lebanon, convenient both as a post-run destination and a place to grab a coffee while walking around town or visiting another local spot. Luke has sometimes brought Lucky’s treats to the nearby CCBA playground with his son. Dorcas appreciates Lucky’s location too, and how it caters to all sorts of people recreating on the nearby Rail Trail, from families to others walking, biking, or running.

Lucky’s has adapted to Covid with an easy online ordering system and contactless pickup through the Odeko app or Lucky’s’ online square store. 

Pre-Covid times, runners with whom we talked enjoyed the indoor and outdoor seating options at Lucky’s. When Lucky’s reopens for in-person service, the café will be offering expanded patio seating. 

Pick up some coffee and a pastry to go for now, and we look forward to the time when we can all meet up at Lucky’s again!

Hannah Taska and Scott King

Member Submission

Crawling From The Wreckage

By: Judy Phillips


“(Just Like) Starting Over”

Thoughts From An Older Runner

Practice run along the York, Maine coast the day before the race.

I’ve been running and racing for 40+ years, so indulge me in my old rock song references. These are the lyrics that resonate as I, once again, attempt to restart my running after injuries. I was quite blessed that the first 20+ years of my running were injury-free, despite high mileage and frequently racing (including a marathon) on little/no training due to my work schedule. I’ve written about various injuries before, so I won’t detail the list, just note the most significant were various broken bones and back injuries sustained as a passenger in a car wreck 12 years ago, and two broken wrists on the way to the start and during a 15k a year ago. Suffice to say, I’ve never regained my pace prior to the accident and it’s a struggle to get my level of fitness and endurance back. The adage that it takes longer to heal as you get older is one I resisted until that accident, and I’ve since learned it is true.

But I persevere. I always say - and I’m not selling my abilities short, just being truthful - I have zero athletic ability or talent, but I am blessed with determination. Any accomplishments I’ve attained - running, professional or otherwise - just reflect hard work and focus. This is why I always advocate running as an “accessible” sport, particularly to younger folks looking to get fit. It’s simply one foot in front of the other, with a modest investment in equipment (shoes), and no reliance on another to participate. It’s a solitary effort, to me. It’s wonderful to have a running partner - I did for years before I moved to the Upper Valley after marrying and joining my husband and his son in Vermont. I miss that, but I gained something else by sharing my love of this sport: my husband started running and racing 11 years ago, and it brings me so much joy when we do a race. We’ve only run together twice, however; once at our college campus when back for a Notre Dame reunion, and a few years ago he slowed his pace in a local race because he worried I’d get lost. That is a real possibility, as injuries have slowed me and in smaller races I’m often alone (which I love! When I was younger and faster, I would actually slow my pace to run in a “hole” by myself), and I have a terrible sense of direction in races as I get lost in my thoughts. He’s a natural athlete, it turns out, and far more competitive than I, plus his legs are about as long as I am tall, or so it seems, so I run alone. But I am so grateful for each step, no matter how painful due to residual issues. As I’ve written before, “not quitting” while running through pain is a victory for me.

The downside of being an older runner can be the well-meaning but sometimes off-putting remarks from the sidelines. I get more “atta girl”(s) these days as my white fringe poking underneath my cap and struggling gait reveals me, as well as “you can do it!” (Yes, I KNOW! And I actually have, HUNDREDS of times...) and “good for you!” (Why, thank you for your vote of confidence in my ability!)....but the one that gets me every time: “way to go, young lady!” The latter especially rankles - and this is not a feminist statement, just me - because I hated that condescending expression when I was a young lady....it always seemed to preface a reprimand from an adult. Ugh! I admit, these comments can bring out my inner feistiness. I did say in response to the latter term at a race a couple of years ago: “thanks, OLD MAN!”. I’m not proud of that, I should note.

This past weekend, we did our first 10k in a year in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. It was Millennium Running’s St. Patty’s 5k/10k Pub Crawl. MR has organized several Covid-compliant, in-person events, and we’ve participated in three so far. I truly believe MR’s are the best races, for all the reasons we runners appreciate. MR welcomes runners of all ages and abilities, the events are fun and exceptionally well-organized, the races attract the friendliest runners, and the MR team is always kind and supportive, which means so much to this older runner.

The race was originally supposed to be held in Salisbury, Massachusetts but the logistics became complicated so John Mortimer, MR Owner/Founder, quickly (and seamlessly for participants) moved the course to the Pease Tradeport in Portsmouth. We’ve run many races in this multi-corporate campus, and it’s ideal - plenty of parking, typically closed to traffic, some modest variation in elevation; offering easy-to-follow, well-marked courses. The only drawback is that it’s wide open, and Saturday was very cold with high winds. Apart from the fact that we both are not in the same physical condition as a year ago, this was especially challenging to run, fighting head- and cross-winds the entire time. But we did it, and we’re thrilled! We needed this to get us back on track. We had begun a moderate training regimen the weeks before - for me cross training on the bike and elliptical, low mileage running on the treadmill, just the latter for my husband - and we each did a four mile run the day before under similar but slightly warmer weather conditions, and were fine. Not so, so far this week, as we are both ridiculously sore still, but I chalk that up to the calendar. I had a miserable showing but I ran every step at an awful slow pace. I just found out I took third place in my age group - I’m guessing there were just three of us. 

I’ll take it! Every step brings joy, and is a blessing. I’m so thankful that that shy, unathletic young woman decided to take up this sport all those years ago. “Way to go, young lady!”

Happy running!

Member Submission

All in this together! CVR/UVRC/GMAA

By: Donna Smyers

I joined UVRC recently and nearly always belong to GMAA even though I live near Montpelier and am quite involved with Central Vermont Runners. I joined because so many of my friends and other CVR members are also members of GMAA and UVRC and both clubs put on great events and have interesting workouts emailed weekly. Races from both clubs are within about an hour drive of my house, and running clubs put on the best inexpensive races without commercial hoopla.

In this almost post Covid year, it will be great to get back to some in person events. I somehow became over-raced doing >20 virtual events last year and am not motivated to continue beating myself up on my own. That’s what the rest of the field is for, right? As of now, CVR has 2 upcoming races that we hope we can hold with appropriate social distancing strategies. Of course, Governor Scott could make things change, but right now the outdoor recreation event guidelines seem to allow what we are planning. I’m hoping I can meet some more UVRC members at these events—at a 6 foot distance of course!  

April 24 is the historic Paul Mailman 10 Miler and 5K in Montpelier. Paul Mailman 10 Miler is one of the oldest continuously held (2020 doesn’t count) races in Vermont. As of now, we have the permits and plan to start in small waves based on projected finishing times. Here is the page with all the info: https://cvrunners.org/cvr-races/paul-mailman/.

I am the race director for the Adamant Half Marathon and Relay on May 8. This race changed from a 20 Miler to a Half Marathon in 2019 and then of course was only Virtual in 2020, so we are only actually holding it for the 2nd time. It is a very scenic hilly course, but you can split the course 8/5.1 miles with a relay partner. We had quite a contingent of Dartmouth Running Club members attend the 2019 event, so they may make the trek up from the Valley again in 2021. You can check it out here: https://cvrunners.org/cvr-races/adamant-half-marathon/

I hope to make it to the Upper Valley for some events as soon as possible and hope to see some of you up this way soon!

Member Submission

What is Age Graded Scoring?

By: Tim Smith

You may have heard that this year the New Hampshire Grand Prix is using a new scoring system.  In this new system, we are all ranked by our "Age Graded Score", and then points are given based on our ranking.

So what is Age Graded Scoring (AGS)?  

In a nutshell, your AGS is the percentage of the speed you ran compared to the world record holder for your age and gender.

But before we get to AGS, I would like to step back and consider a "graded score".  Which is a better performance; a 5:00 mile or a 40:00 10K?  We all like to talk about our finest performance, but how do we compare sprints to marathons?  

This is a problem which spans more than just road racing and for a century has been addressed in the case of decathlons and pentathlons.  In the original decathlon scoring tables, if you tied the world record in an event, you would score 1,000 points.  If you ran half the speed, or twice the time, of a world record, you scored 500 points.  If you threw half as far, or jumped half the height, you scored 500 points.  In fact, the decathlon scoring system has evolved since then, but the idea of this point system has a great simplicity and attraction.

Graded scoring is usually out of 100 points instead of the decathlon's 1000 points,  but it is the same idea.  You can calculate it as the percentage of the speed you are running compared to the world record for that event.  Since you and the world-record hold both ran the same distance, you can also write it as

Score = 100 pts x (world-record-time)/(your-time)

So which is better; a 5:00 mile or 40:00 10K?  The world record for the mile is 3:43, for the 10k it is 29:17.  So 5:00 is 

   3:43/5:00 = 225 sec/ 300 sec = 0.75 = 75% or 75pts.  

Where as for the 10k;  

   29:17/40:00 = 1757s/2400s = 0.73 = 73% = 73pts.  

They are very similar performances!  

By the way, did anybody notice that I mixed in men and women's results?  A man running a 5:00 mile is a similar performance to a woman running a 40:00 10k.

So now, what is "age-graded-scoring"?

The idea of age-grading is that a performance should be compared to the world record for your age.  So replace the "world-record-time" with "world-record-time-for-my-age".  

Except even that is not quite right.

In the Figure below are plotted, with blue dots, all the best times for the Women's Half Marathon for ages 5 to 93!  But there is a bit of a problem here.  Betty Jean McHugh ran faster at age 78 then she did at 77. Evy Palm (age 46) beat out Nicole Leveque (age 45).  And there are no times between Margaret Davis (age 88 year, 2 days) and Gladys Burrill (age 93 years, 109 days)!

So instead of using the raw age-best times, a smooth curve is passed through the lines, which is called the "Age Standard".  Age graded scores are calculated by comparison to the age standard, not really the world record.

As one final note, since world-records improve, the standard also changes and every five years a new set of tables and curves are published.  The green curve is the 2010 standard, whereas the red curve is the 2020 standard.  It looks to me as if the change has been primarily driven by the performance of Deidre Larkin (age 85!)

There are similar tables and graphs for men and women, ages 5 to 90's, and distance from 1500 meter to 200 miles, on both roads and tracks.  

We are a sport which revels in our numbers!

Hit the Trail

Hartford Town Forest/Hurricane Forest Wildlife Refuge, Hartford VT

By: Jennifer Hansen

Trail: HartfordTown Forest/Hurricane Forest Wildlife Refuge, Hartford VT

Map/Directions: Link Here

Percentage Runnable: 100%

Elevation Change: Lots of ups and downs

Distance: I was introduced to this system via local trail races and decided to explore further on my own. It's a small system that's easy to get to know. I enjoy parking near the dry Wright Reservoir and running several connected loops - Pond to Creek to Beacon to Tower Trail, to WB Brown, to Moose Brook, to Simonds Way, Up Pine Drop, back down WB Brown all the way down to Beacon and back around Pond. It's about 5 miles total with lots of elevation change so it's a good fast workout. I run the loops going the other way for variety.  

Ease of Navigation: All of the official trails are very well-marked with signs and a different color of blaze on each loop of the system in the town forest side. 

Parking: As shown on map: on Wright Reservoice Rd. across from UVAC or on Reservoir Rd. 

Extra: There are dozens of trails branching off with white, diamond-shaped, hand-painted numbers; someone has obviously catalogued the system extensively. It seems possible to explore any of these as an out-and-back if you want to go further. I am curious about whether these are mapped and how far out they go. 

If you want to combine your run with some bouldering, just down the road from the Wright Reservoir parking area are some pretty rocks (below).

Runner Profile

Randall Reynolds

By: Matt Sherman


Randall Reynolds


White River Junction.

Where are you from originally and what brought you to this area?

Higganum, CT and I moved here after college for a job opportunity.

What do you do professionally? 

Electronics Engineer/Freestyle Snowboard Coach.

How long have you been running?


How long have you been running competitively?


Why do you run?

To find more sideways windows and covered bridges.

Recent memorable moment while running?

The pemi. Lots of ups and downs in mood and elevation. Lots of rain too, but a fun experience nonetheless.

Best athletic accomplishment and why? 

2010 USASA National Champion in Snowboard Halfpipe. This was my first big contest with international contestants.

If you like to race, favorite race distance? Why?

5k because I preferred a shorter high intensity misery. And my family only runs 5ks.

If you like to race, notable race moment? OR most memorable race?

Run 4 Love in Armonk, NY. I appreciated reuniting with college friends to commemorate our friend, Jamie.

Training partners?

A couple. Mostly my significant other, Elena Karis, and occasionally friends Chris Welker and Dan Shea.

Cross training activities? 

Snowboarding, skateboarding, mountain biking, road biking. Mostly board sports though.

Favorite local running route? 

Jericho Road to Jericho Street and back to WRJ. 

Favorite post run treat? 


Strangest place ever run?

Aberdeen Proving Ground. Because of the restaurant Olive Tree. Which seems to be a knockoff of Olive Garden.

Any notable streaks or other unusual running events?

I planned a Tour de Fenêtre for the Upper Valley this fall, but cancelled due to injury. Next year.

What made you start running?
I wanted to run better in a memorial race for a college friend. I did not meet my own expectations the year before, so I joined the running club a couple months beforehand and haven’t stopped since.

Who is your running “idol”? 

Joffrey Peters.

Are your reasons for running now the same or different than the reason you first started?

No. I started solely to train to compete with my friends, but now I enjoy the workout and time for contemplation.

Why did you join UVRC? 

To train for a 5k I committed to run with friends.

Ever run in a costume? 

Does flannel and ski goggles count?

The only running shoe for me is __________. 


Ever been injured? How did it happen? 

Yes, I injured my hamstrings this summer. I don’t know how it started, but most likely from not running and not stretching.

Hot or cold weather runner?


Morning or evening runner? 

I prefer morning.

What is your motivation? 

Witch windows mostly. Additionally, I enjoy getting lost in thought to clear my head.

I run therefore I ______________.

see new places.

How did you become interested in running?

Most of my college friends ran track. Spending time with them helped me appreciate the atmosphere and culture.

What is your favorite race?

Run 4 Love 5K.

Favorite running book/film?

Born to Run/Forrest Gump?

What does your daily workout consist of?

It depends on the season, but lots of stretching with core work. I aim for 30-40 miles of running a week with lots of cross-training

How about favorite work out?

Run uphill to a good view a couple times.

What is your diet like?

Lots of beans and leafy greens, but no peanuts or meat. And no chickpeas before exercising due to an exercised induced allergy.

If you could run with anyone, who would be the person?

Jamie Love, my college track friend who died my junior year.

Additional input or comments? People to mention?

Run fast and take chances? 

What else should the club know about you?

Former sponsored athlete in Freestyle snowboarding and I have a slightly unhealthy obsession with Witch windows. 

Aside from running, what are your hobbies?


What’s your favorite pre-run meal?


What question would you like to ask in next month’s Runner Profile? And what is your answer to the question?

How has running changed your life in a 20 - 60 word run on sentence?

Running changed my exercise routine and increased my fitness level, but more importantly for an introvert, I pushed/improved my social skills while broadening my friend group in the process and had lots of type I and type II fun in the process.

Ask the Coaches

What do you find the best way to avoid shin splints?

By: Krissy Flythe

Got a question for the coaches? Send it to newsletter@uppervalleyrunningclub.org and I'll send it on!

What do you find the best way to avoid shin splints?

Krissy Flythe

Greg Hagley

I'll be brief. Shin splints are usually related to two things, running form and training progression.

Running form. Most often (not always) shin splints are related to a running form with a heavy heel strike or excessive forefoot strike. 

Training progression. Most often (not always) shin splints are related to increasing running mileage too quickly. It may also be related to changing running surfaces or transitioning to different running shoes too quickly. 

Let me know if you'd like me to elaborate.

Greg Hagley

Greg Hagley is a physical therapist at Dartmouth-Hitchcock in Lebanon and a certified USA Triathlon Level I coach.

Carly Wynn

My thoughts on this seem to fall into two categories: strictly DIY and strictly "needs the help of a professional." I hope readers will be able to make use of the DIY ones, and take away some useful questions to ask the Docs, if they opt to seek professional assistance.

Pre-running considerations:

1) Shoes that are in good condition, and match the shape and flex of your foot and ankle. Consult a PT or podiatrist if you're unsure, and trust your own body and how it responds to various shoes. You don't necessarily need a shoe or insole designed for feet like yours, though they may be a good place to start if you've been having trouble with other shoes. Replace old and worn shoes.

2) Your plan: just getting started with running? Amping up your mileage for a long race? Take mileage increases slowly and with caution, as you would to avoid any overuse injury. Check in with a coach if you're unsure.

3) Conditions. Softer surfaces are a nice relief from the pounding of road running; consider incorporating them.

Body considerations:

1) Are you actively strengthening and mobilizing your feet, ankles, and calves? Be sure to incorporate exercises for the fascia in the feet (towel toe curls, short foot drill, etc.), dorsiflexion exercises, calf & hamstring stretches, calf raises, toe & heel walks, and posture exercises. I recommend regular strength training and injury-prevention, "prehab," to all my athletes. Again, check in with a coach or PT if you're not sure what to do, or are having trouble incorporating prehab regularly into your routine.

2) Have you gained weight recently? Regardless of the cause, and even if your overall health is better at a higher weight, remember that your body will take time to adjust to the higher impact, as it would if you started running with a full backpack. It will adjust, but again, take it slowly and gently.

3) Your stride: do you use your major muscle groups (especially glutes?) Do you distribute weight through the foot (as opposed to heel striking/toe-running?) Sometimes, these things are hard to assess without the help of a professional and a videotape, and it is always possible that trying to correct a stride that is long set-in can lead to more problems. But I would be remiss to not include that the way you run affects how pressure is distributed.

Carly Wynn

Carly Wynn is a personal coach at www.CarlyOutside.com, and can be reached at Carly@CarlyOutside.com

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