Sore calves- should I continue running or rest? - Bridge to 10K

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Sore calves- should I continue running or rest?

slothycoffee profile image

I have been running since 2018- I usually run between 4-8km with no issues. However, 3 weeks ago, I ran 5km in a pair of trainers that probably aren't designed to be run in. I had intense shooting pains in my calves and could barely walk for a few days. I figured I might have shin splints so rested for 1 week with no exercise. Then I did a gentle 5km run in my normal running shoes. The calf pain returned and I had to rest up for another whole week. Then I did a gentle 2.5km run... I still had calf pain but pushed through it. I have been doing leg stretches every day and applying ice packs, I even had an ice bath the other day.

My calves still feel a little sore. I really want to go for a run later but idk if continuing to run will cause injury. If the gym was open, I could go on the cross trainer, exercise bike or even go swimming which is lower-impact, but running is literally the only exercise I can do at the moment. If I go for a walk it doesn't give me the same feeling of accomplishment as running does.

I should probably mention the soreness/pain is a burning sensation along my inner calves. Have any of you experienced this before? Should I push through it and just do slow shorter runs or rest completely for... multiple weeks I guess and get out of shape :( .

10 Replies
Irishprincess profile image
IrishprincessAmbassador

I’ve never had shin splints so can’t advise but I did run a very long run in old shoes recently and suffered with a burning pain in my calves for a few weeks afterwards.It was actually quite painful even when walking. I rested for about five weeks and started off very slowly when the pain had gone with short runs (3K, 5K). I did stretch my calves every day and foam rolled, not sure if that helped, I think they just needed rest to be fair.

Based on my experience, and our symptoms do sound similar, I’d suggest you need to rest for longer and don’t run until the calves are pain free. And I hope you’ve got new running shoes!

Thank you, I wasn't keen on the idea of having to rest for 5 weeks but I think i'll have to as even going for a walk hurts my calf muscles at the moment.

Irishprincess profile image
IrishprincessAmbassador in reply to slothycoffee

I think that’s the best thing you can do.... take care and keep us updated.

Irishprincess profile image
IrishprincessAmbassador

PS, you won’t get out of shape or lose your fitness in that length of time, just keep doing what you can even if it’s upper body work. It’ll all help your running.

Dexy5 profile image
Dexy5Graduate10

I think shin splints give pain at the front of the legs along the boney part. I haven’t had pain in the side of the calf but the golden rule is not to run through pain or taken painkillers to allow you to run pain free. As Irishprincess says, It sounds like you need to give your leg a rest. If you’ve torn a muscle, you can do a lot of damage by continuing.

Maybe look at the NHS site for information on calf strain and see if you can work out which muscle is hurting, and look for next steps. Good luck

Hi slothycofee,

I am now hopefully at the end of this, as my calves begun to let me down since November last year. I’ve been through denial and kept running, despite being impossible to keep up; long story short, my advice to you would be not to ignore it, as it could only get worse. Put a tennis ball under your calves, maybe you have a massage ball similar in size, and try to identify the ‘knots’. That was my case anyway, and the knots will only disappear with daily massage. If that’s your case too, the stretching won’t be enough, you might need targeted massage (plenty of tutorials on YouTube). In case you don’t do it already, make the foam rolling part of your daily routine.

Good luck, stay safe.

It’s so annoying when you get an injury. I had physio a while back and the physio lady said to roll a tennis ball 🎾 up and down the sore muscles. Maybe you could try it very gently to start with? I hope you get back to running soon.

Tony1978 Bridget007 I currently use this muscle massager from the Body Shop, would this be good enough? My boyfriend massages my legs for me every evening, they still feel so sore a week after my last run :( . thebodyshop.com/en-gb/body/...

If it makes you happy, it can’t be that bad 😀 I’ve been taught a very good deal. Whatever I do, I try to change it, at least a bit. I change the running itinerary, the surfaces, the pace, the duration etc. I certainly lack spare time (married, child, key worker etc.), so I can’t follow the perfect receipt, for which I’ve been in poor running form for the last three months - I hope I’m coming back 🙏. My point is, there’s no one thing that’s going to improve your wellbeing, no single answer. Sore muscles still need low amount of work, they will keep feeling sore if you stick to the couch; can’t run, then stretch, walk up and down the stairs, go for a ride. Following the same line, give a try to a foam roller, listen to the tennis ball. Find your way to fight it back 💪

Good Luck!

Don’t forget the basics, check your shoes, make sure they aren’t to blame

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