Shin splints are pains in the front and sides of your lower legs, aka your shins. I would describe it as somebody trying to split your bones with a nail. It's not a sore pain or piercing pain but it's persistent and it hinders your performance. There are some exercise available to strengthen the muscles just google it.
I have shin splints, it is a pain you get just below the middle of the knee in the thibula. The pain starts gradually as you do shock excercises such as running, jumping or even play soccer, after a while the pain gets more and more intense. You will feel the pain after you do the shock excercise for at least 30 mins. If untreated it can turn into a stress fracture. It is not fun and will hamper your running because you cant run with it or it will get worse.