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Couch to 5K
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Calf muscle agony - from trying to run properly?

I've "never" knowingly run without landing heal first. Had my gait analysed and was told that actually my heal strike isn't too heavy, so to stick with it.

On Monday I (stupidly?) decided to consciously try and land on the balls of my feet. Surprised myself by managing (and did over 30 mins despite being on the mountain). Warmed down, stretched and showered, but then yesterday afternoon (Tues) my calves were in agony. They feel so tight. I can hardly walk normally (it's now Wed morning) and stairs are a particular challenge! It is a little better now than first thing this morning.

It does seem a bit strange that it was such a delayed reaction - or maybe it's something else causing the pain? (I had a fever last night - collapsed into bed at 8!).

Am thinking that perhaps I should do just a few minutes of running on the balls of my feet within each run rather than 30 mins in one go and then build up to the whole run ... or perhaps I shouldn't bother at all?

3 Replies

It sounds like it might have been too sudden a change, as you say perhaps a gradual change might be better. If you don't heel strike badly (pressuming you don't have muscle problems from it) then should you change at all? I tend to think we're all different and what's right for one may not be for another. It's your choice of course - hope you feel better soon , perhaps some calf stretches may help? :-)


I was a heal striker, like you I was told not to change or risk anyway, but did it anyway, got injured and lost a month. I wouldn't change back now though and my speeds are increasing steadily.

You're using your muscles in different way and if you don't do it carefully this could lead to injury. Don't do the whole run on the balls of your feet and switch between runs so that 1 run is on your heels. Slowly and steadily and you'll be fine.

(That's my two penneth)

1 like

It's very common to get sore calf muscles initially when changing to a fore foot strike. Definitely work it in gently, it will take a few weeks to feel natural. I made the change very early on and couldn't heal strike now if I tried. You tube is great to see what you are aiming at, search for chi or pose running.

J x


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