Running on the road is hard on the knees?! - Bridge to 10K

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Running on the road is hard on the knees?!


Hi all. I was lucky enough to learn to run and did C25K on a nice sandy beach. Now we have moved for a bit to an area where I can only run on the road and pavement. After only a couple of runs I’ve had pains in my calves and my knees are killing me! Has anyone found similar? Will getting different running shoes help? I’ve gone from loving running to not really liking it at all! Help!

19 Replies

Make sure the cushioning is good in the shoes, it could be past it's best, if in doubt visit a reputable running shop with your running shoes and discuss the problem you're having, possibly having a gait analysis and fitting for new shoes..

But mixing up the surfaces you run on may help, try more trails and grass running which is slightly more forgiving than pounding road & pavements all the time, mix it up.

jimmersGraduate10 in reply to davelinks

Thanks for the advice!


Good advice from davelinks there. Maybe try stepping back the distances/intensity a bit on the hard surfaces and once your legs adjust build it up again.

jimmersGraduate10 in reply to ancientrunner

I might have increased my speed too much!


Hi @jimmers! Most of my runs has been on concrete and no problems with knees. In fact changing to different terrains is the only time I’ve had niggles. Don’t forget to stretch after all your runs. Also checking your gait may be a good idea too.

jimmersGraduate10 in reply to Ripcurlrana71

I’ll give it a go. Thanks!


Heel striking is the common root of a lot of shin and knee injuries, solutions being change the way you run/change the shoes you use to give more protection/change the surface you run on to give you back the missing shock absorption.

If you are heel striking you can reduce the pain a bit by slowing down and or reducing your stride length/increasing cadence. Increasing you cadence will reduce the heel strike angle or even bring you back to midfoot striking and should reduce the extension angle of the leg. Think about it like jumping off a low wall, you wouldn't lock your legs straight, you'd want them bent and ready to absorb the impact/decelerate. Overstriding and hitting the heel is like jumping off that wall locked.

jimmersGraduate10 in reply to pinkaardvark

My strike has been okay before. I’ll have to look at it again. My pace is certainly improved on the hard surface but I thought that was a good thing! It’s possible I’m over reaching.


Work on your leg strength. Weighted squats, deadlifts, calf raises, eccentric heel dips.

jimmersGraduate10 in reply to roseabi

Hmm. Can’t do the squats and whatnots at the mo. I’m having hip trouble too which I’m seeing a physio for. It’s possible everything’s just a bit out of sync because of it.

roseabiAdministrator in reply to jimmers

Sorry to hear that! What about without weights?

jimmersGraduate10 in reply to roseabi

Nope. I pulled a muscle doing just body weight squats! Physio is helping a lot. It might just be from years of sitting behind a desk at work. Pains of transitioning to being more active!

roseabiAdministrator in reply to jimmers

Ooh, yes, that could well be it! Poor you. But you're heading in the right direction now 😊I suppose then as some of the others commenters have said, try to run on grass or other softer surfaces if you can. Walking to find the grassy areas will be beneficial too, so it's all good! You'll soon be loving running again xx


And once you’ve done all that, you’ll find running on hard surfaces easy-peasy compared with sand 😊

jimmersGraduate10 in reply to UpTheStanley

I hope so!


Have you had gait analysis? Are you running in properly fitted running shoes or off the peg jobs? I run on roads, including up and down steep bits, a lot of the time and rarely get any pains, just a bit of tightness in my calves sometimes after a long hilly run, and I have an injured leg so by rights ought to be having trouble. Have your shoes got a steep heel drop, by which I mean 10” or more? This can lead to heel striking which can lead to pain in some runners. Are your shoes old and needing replacement? Can’t think of anything else really 😊

jimmersGraduate10 in reply to FlickM3

Not had gait analysis yet. Shoes are indeed off the peg and possibly a bit old but I don’t think too bad. I have no idea about heel drop but will go to running shop and check it all out.


Some great advice in the replies... but remember that nice sandy beaches... even dry hard ones play havoc with the calf muscles..and the injuries are hidden too:)

jimmersGraduate10 in reply to Oldfloss

Do they!? Oh. :/

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