Couch to 5K
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Advice needed as suffering with painful legs!

I'm currently on W5R1 which has taken me about 7 weeks as I've been doing each week more than the suggested 3 times. Every couple of weeks I feel like I'm doing really well and progressing and then I end up with really sore calf muscles. Tonight I had to give up after the first 5 minute run as they hurt too much. I just wondered if anyone had any advice on quantity of runs and time off. I'm trying to go running every other day so I never have more than 1 night off. Do people find it better to have a few consecutive nights off or does it not really matter? I guess I'm just very keen to keep getting out there to get fit and lose weight! Thanks for any help.

6 Replies

Hi Jenster, I used to get really tight calfs, but a friend suggested compression socks, i got fairly cheap ones from amazon and have been fine ever since. With regard to rests inbetween I go Monday Wednesday running play netball Friday and run again on Saturday and with the compression socks I'm fine. it may be wise until your calves feel alright to leave an extra day in between. Also I do long stretches of calves after I have finished running, holding the stretches for approx 30 seconds. Hope something helps for you, good luck.


I'd take an extra day's rest, at least for a while. You may be doing more harm than good by running every other day if it's causing calf problems...and I speak as one who developed a problem in a calf that kept me off for three weeks!

If your body is saying "I need more rest!" then listen to it or you could find it shuts down on you. Make sure you're properly hydrated, do some gentle stretching exercises after the run then ice your muscles for about twenty minutes. Oh, and make sure you are not taking too long a stride, keep your feet in line with your body, not landing out in front of it. And I know we keep saying 'slow and steady'..but it's true! Don't try and go too quickly, make a conscious effort to stay slow.

Remember, this is not a race - it doesn't matter how long it takes. You are out there and that's what counts! Good Luck!


Agree with the others - and especially dottiemay's point about stride length - make sure you're not landing on your heels (I know Laura suggests that's a good idea, but the website says the opposite, and many people have commented on heel-striking causing problems for them). Landing mid-foot tends to be more comfortable for knees too.


mmm - then I wondered whether I was getting mixed up, so went off to read a bit - this link might (or might not!) be useful if you're *not* heel-striking.


Don't worry at all about repeating weeks - I did that at least twice for all the weeks from week 5 onwards ! You're doing so well just keeping going - don't underestimate that.

Two things made a big difference - advice I got from other people but passing on. I'm not skinny and I'm not young.

Do some dynamic warm ups for 5 mins at home before you head out for the 5 minute warm up walk on the podcasts.

This will give you a bit of an idea

the ones that helped me most were kicking up my heels to my bum, walking on the spot bringing my knees up to my chest, wiggling my ankles and a bit of jogging on the spot and swining each leg back and forward.

Run slowly. As slowly as you can. You can worry about speeding up afterwards.

After - stretch. Really. You'll think it's boring and it is a bit - but it made a big difference to how sore my legs were.

The ones that made the biggest difference for me were hamstring stretch - and calf dips on a step. You should find loads of info on line.

Keep going - you'll get there and who cares how long it takes.


Thanks to you all for the advice. Run evenings now set to Monday, Wednesday and Saturday so hopefully the 2 days off every week will help. The legs are starting to feel a bit better so will try again tomorrow evening but won't push it if I still have a problem. Have ordered some compression socks in the hope they may help a little & will do more stretches and warming up before going out. Cheers again.


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