Dear Coach: what's the best way to prevent shinsplints?
Dear Running: The catchall term shinsplints is a nonmedical term that refers to a range of overuse injuries affecting the lower leg, from simple muscle soreness and tendinitis to stress fractures. According to Bob Adams, an osteopath and chairman of USA Track & Fields medical services committee, the key to preventing shinsplints is to avoid doing too much. "Start by running every third day for 15 to 20 minutes, at 70 percent of your maximum exertion," says Adams. "Then run every other day, then run for longer periods of time." Also, observe rules of smart training: stretch and warm up; run on surfaces that are soft (avoid concrete) and level (downhills in particular can overtax lower leg muscles); and cool down with a jog or walk.
Dear Coach: My 13-year-old son looks up to a pro athlete who I believe lacks the character a role model should have. How should I discuss the situation with him?
Dear Model: You need to explain to your son that being well-known doesn't make someone worth emulating. However, slamming an athlete your son admires can alienate him, so Jack Hutslar founder of the North American Youth Sport Institute, suggests this exercise: Ask your son to name a major league MVP or a Heisman Trophy winner from eight years ago (which he likely can't do); then ask him to name his kindergarten teacher (which he presumably can). This illustrates that the people who have the biggest impact on our lives aren't famous athletes.