Couch to 5K
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So sore after w1r1 Is that normal? Does it get easier?

Hi, so i completed my first run last night..... It felt like i was dying but i completed all the minute runs. So i have two questions... The first is that will someone reassure me that it WILL get easier over time? and secondly my muscles have been screaming at me since last night... It's getting better over the course of the day but my calves especially are sore and achy. Is there anything to soothe them and any way i might prevent it hurting so much on tomorrows run? Bit of background... I quit smoking last week (so have the nasty coughing up rubbish and feeling fluey feeling) and have done no form of exercise since i was at school (over a decade ago) I am at the top end of normal weight wise at 159lbs at 5" 7.

9 Replies

Ok first question - absolutely it gets easier. I've just done my first run of week 4 which had me running for 5 minutes. Like you I wasn't sure I'd be able to complete the 60 second run of the first week, so it definitely gets easier. For the record I'm 36, asthamatic, and around 18 stone....

Second question - this is your muscles getting used to the demands your putting on them - I take it you haven't done any exercise before? The trick to soothing them is simply to use them. Walk around, try some gentle stretches, and they'll get better. You'll be amazed at how quickly your body gets used to this.

Well done on taking the first step on an exciting and life-changing journey


Hot bath with Epsom Salts for the aches!

Well done.


I'll second the point that it does get easier but don't be afraid to repeat weeks if you have to. I have just done week 9 run 1 but it has taken me the better part of 12 weeks to get there. I repeated week 4 then was on holiday and disinclined to run so repeated 5 as well. With regard to the muscles - I would also suggest spending a bit of money on some half decent running shoes and maybe gel inserts which will cushion the blow a bit when running. I got terrible shin splints when I first tried running (not this program ) but decent shoes and gel inserts paid off this time round.

Stick with it as it's a worthwhile effort. I would never have believed I would be running for 30 minutes non stop and I am fitter now than I have ever been in the last 49 and bit years.

Best of luck


My right thigh was agony after my first run. I used ice packs, ibuprofen and did lots of yoga stretches. It helped enormously. I now stretch after every run and go a lot slower. It has made all the difference.


Hi yes as the others have said it does get easier, each time you recover you will be a little bit stronger and fitter. The early weeks for me were the hardest. I also hadn't run since school so week 1 was a huge hurdle for me but only last week I ran for 20 minutes for the first time in my life. Keep at it, you won't regret it and don't get too hung up about finishing in 9 weeks, we are all different I needed a 3 week break between weeks 2 and 3 as I had a bad knee. Best of luck!


I remember I thought my legs would give way beneath me after my w1r1 and climbing the stairs that night to get a shower was challenging!

I really had to force myself to go for the remaining runs that week as my legs ached so much. I'm now at w7r2 (tonight) and things have vastly improved, however, I do still get aching/stiff legs following each run, albeit nowhere near as incapacitating as the early runs.

stick with it and you'll see improvement, good luck!


Definitely stick with it. Everyone is right it's just your muscles getting used to it. I am on wk9 run3 next. It's taken 15 weeks but I am nearly there. I find the most important thing for me is the stretch. I stretch straight away afterwards and then sometimes later in the day. If I forget I can feel it more the next day. My body looks forward to the after run stretch now and if I forget just gives me a twinge to say remember my stretches. Good luck for your next run.


Thanks everybody! My legs still ache like crazy but don't actually hurt so i'm off out in an hour for run 2 though i suspect i may be a little jerky as my muscles protest!! It's fantastic to to read that it might not be like this forever, that really gives me the confidence to keep at it. I think half the problem is mentally overcoming the discomfort and going out again...

I went and spent £50 on my running shoes, (half price so they should of been 100) more than i have ever spent on shoes but they watched me run and measured my arch (?) and recommended a couple and i figure i need to look after my feet...

A few of you have mentioned stretching, apologies for my ignorance, but how do i do that?


Firstly your legs will stop hurting once you start your run, so don't worry about that.

Secondly it's incredibly natural for your legs to hurt - you haven't used them in years and now you are putting them through their paces. The aching is them actually strengthening.

Ice / cold bath after the run helps - there's a reason athletes and professional sports people use ice baths.

As for stretching, it depends where hurts (and I'm a little surprised the program doesn't build any stretching time into it).

Try this for some ideas:


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