Prospect Park Loop
My favorite Girl Scout cookie is Shin Splints
Please, if you don’t already, follow me on Strava. I am legit. I’m creating elite content for you all on there. I’m straight up running 3.5-4 miles at a time, and while I’m running, I’m rotating the perfect Strava caption on an axis in my mind. Here, I just thought of one: “Big boi season”
In the past year, I’ve taken a renewed interest in running—and, by extension, Running Culture. You’re all freaks. Serious runners are a breed of people who apparently have tibias of steel, the collective cardiovascular strength of a damn cheetah, and an insane tolerance for feeling like shit. This guy straight up runs a marathon every morning.
In my own life, though, I am simply trying to be chill. I love running; I love a daily routine of getting outside, I love getting up early to get something difficult done first thing, I love the idea of perhaps a strenuous trail run on the weekends, etc. I have defied Nature’s Edict: namely, that people of South Indian descent are meant to eat a pound of rice at every meal and not move too much afterwards. If you can get something out of running, it’s great. But to dip a toe into these waters means to dive headfirst.
The world is a vast and infinite treasure trove of information, and yet no information may be as widely proffered, with as much confidence, as running advice. I’m talking r/Running, RunnersWorld, r/RunningShoeGeeks, The Runners Forum, Global Triathlon Network, the whole nine yards. There are recommendations for the best running shorts (with pockets or without, 5” or 3” or 2” if you’re nasty); which foam roller feels most like a massage therapist’s hands; the fanny pack ideally designed to carry all your shit but not weigh you down; best frozen myofascial release ball.
I’m not sure this is healthy, intellectually or physically, but if you Google a question like, “How do I improve my running form?” or “Best stretches before and after running” or “Fastest way to shit before run,” you are presented with 7 billion people each iterating on the previous guy’s answer with some other twisted bit of guidance, until, finally, you are so deep in the comment thread that the latest answer is abstracted from all reality and someone is talking about how they’ve just started a “Breaking Bad” rewatch.
The underlying question here, which I will now state explicitly, is that I have been suffering from shin splints. The real answer should be, “Go see a doctor.” But instead, I’ve convinced myself that running is just a matter of the mind, injury prevention is simply a series of small tweaks to a process, and whatever professional advice one needs can be outsourced to millions of strangers on a forum. Expertise is now forged by a devoted community of obsessives, each with the correct solution to every problem. You can’t trust reviews for a product on its website, but if you find that someone has recommended it, and it is at the top of the thread with the most upvotes? Now that’s an endorsement. I spent months looking for “best running shoe reddit” before acquiescing to, um, going into the store and trying some on. And yet! I will keep looking up “how to beat shin splints” for the next few months before I decide to see a physical therapist.
That being said—does anyone know how to beat shin splints? Please email me with any thoughts. Also, let me know if I should just give in and buy some damn Hokas.
I ate a bug