Couch to 5K
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Painful calf when running - help/advice please?


I have not done any running since I was a kid & I've now decided to do the C25K to lose some weight as well as to improve my fitness.

I got through wk1 of C25K & enjoyed it, but on the third session I started to get a 'cramp like' feeling in my right calf during the 60sec. Runs, that went away when I stopped running.

I've now just got half way through the first session of wk2 & had to stop as the pain in my right calf was excruciating & I started getting pins & needles in my foot.

As I've never done any running before, I wondered if anyone had any advice?


5 Replies

Now, I'm no expert but I have suffered calf strain.

It might just be your body reacting to exercise after so long, but it could also be something a bit more serious.

If it is just muscle strain - Run slower!! This is the key piece of advice for any new runner. Most of us set off much too quickly in the first few weeks. A slow, steady pace is fine.

Make sure you're not over-stretching your stride, keep your feet in line with your body, not out in front, land mid-foot, not heel-first, and try not to land too heavily.

Make sure you do some gentle stretches when you get back (there's plenty of advice on these on the site) and either ice your calves or use something like Deep Freeze or ice bandages and possibly iboprufen gel to relieve the pain.

But the pins and needles bit is what concerns me. This could possibly be something else, perhaps a trapped nerve or achilles strain. Then again, it could simply be that you have your shoelaces tied too tightly...and no, I'm not joking - they could be restricting the blood flow!

Take a few days rest, have another go and if you have the same problems, maybe a visit to the doctors to check it out might be a good idea.


Thanks so much for your help with this, I really appreciate it. I think I'm going to concentrate on how I'm running - as I'm hoping the problem lies here due to the fact I haven't done any running in so long. I'm also going to check my trainers as I'm using a pair I've had for a few years (never really got any wear out of them, but following your advice I think it could be beneficial to get a pair I know fit me!

Again, thank you so much! This has really helped me!


Another thought! What shoes are you wearing? Decent footwear can make such a difference. Doesn't need to be expensive, got my £60 Nikes in a sale for £17.50. Maybe a visit to a specialist sports shop to get your gait analysed would be useful.

Good luck!


Are you doing any warm up and warm down stretches? It really goes help loads! I have long term issues with tightness in my calf muscles and make sure I stretch really well before I start to run.


Thanks for your comment, I appreciate it! I was doing warm down exercises, but not any warm up ones, just warm up walking & a little thigh stretch & calf stretch along with some sit-ups prior to the C25K session.

Following your advice I'll start warming up thoroughly before a run & see how I get on with that! Thanks so much for your help!


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