How important is it to only do three runs a we... - Couch to 5K

Couch to 5K

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How important is it to only do three runs a week? Do you have to have two rest days next to each other? I feel like in so much pain now


in my back and front of my shins after completing the first run of the second week yesterday (tuesday) after only having one day rest in between my third run of week 1. Is it best to rest them or try to do my second run tomorrow (thursday) and run through it?

14 Replies

No do not ever run through such pain ! Rest till your pain has gone . You will do more harm than good if you do . Listen to your body , I chose to ignore a niggly ankle pain & ended up having to stop running for 9 wks . If after a few days rest & ibrufen , if your feeling it's not getting any better I'd pay a visit to the doctors . Wishing you all the best & I'm sure after a few rest days you will be up & running . Good luck .


I'd agree with rockette, but have you been doing stretches after your runs? I know someone on here has posted a link to some post run ones if you do a search for it. Don't give up though, you will get through this


Poor you....I suspect it's wise to rest in between runs as Laura always tells us. I have pains in one of my ankles / shins, so I rub ibuprofen gel on. Could be imaginary, but it seems to help....


I agree with the others, we really do need to listen to our bodies! Apart from that annoying voice that says, oohhhh it's too cold, is that a black cat on the path?


I took two or even occasionally three rest days between my runs in the early days. It's better to take an extra day or so and keep going than push through and find you have to take weeks off. Although it took me an extra week or two to graduate, I never failed to finish a run and I'm sure this is why.


NEVER try and run through pain; rest is so important.

Did you do your warm-up walk first? Also, did you do your full set of stretches after? These are really, really important and you will ache like hell the following day if you don't.

If your legs are hurting, are you sure you have the right running shoes? Get a gait analysis done by a reputable running shop (this should be free) and see about getting some new ones. If you buy last seasons model, they will be much cheaper ~ and just as good ~ as this seasons.

Good luck and keep going.


Your commitment is admirable but you need rest now. You are using muscles that probalby haven't been used for a while. Time to rest and only when you feel no aches, no pain you get back out there! Good luck :)


I agree with the posts above. Never run through pain as you risk injury if you do. Take it steady and, if you find you need extra rest days, take them. If the programme takes a bit longer to complete so be it. Best wishes.


Whoever first said 'no pain, no gain' should have been shot!! Do NOT, ever run through pain.

As has been said you will do yourself damage - possibly permanent. Rest until the pain has gone and make sure you always do warm ups and cool down stretches as missing these is most often the cause of pain during and after running.


As above .... don't try 'running it off'. Shin splints (if that's what you're suffering) are very painful and will not go away unless you rest .... apart from which, it's during the rest days that you build up your fitness and your body gets stronger. As someone above has said taking more than two days rest can be beneficial ... I've certainly felt the benefit of longer rest periods.


I really have to echo everything people have said here.

Rest days are important. Running is good for you, but your muscles need to rest and repair themselves. As for running with an injury. Extreme care is needed, otherwise you will just make it worse. My mantra is 'Aches are acceptable, Pain is prohibiting'. You might find that an ice pack on your shins will help, as this will cause a tight muscle to contract. It is not an instant fix, you might need to do it for a few days, several times a day. A visit to a physio is also worthwhile, they give great advice, and will probably relieve a fair degree of the pain. Be warned though, you are probably best to rest after the Physio still, and if they are massaging a tight muscle, it will probably hurt. Worth it though in the long run.

When you do get running again, stretching is vital, maybe even everyday.

Take it easy, get rested, get better, then get back out there :-)

Definitely rest, I tripped at work, smacked my knee, ran in the evening and it was painful, did another 3 runs and ended up on codeine, paracetamol and an anti inflammatory for a month and wasn't able to run for ages afterwards. If I'd not run that first night and just left it for a week or two I would have been ok. If I feel even the slightest twinge now I slow it right down. Remember you are training your muscles and they need the rest to repair themselves. Don't run (!) before you can walk! Xx


As I understand pain is a warning telling us something. Ignoring or masking intense pain will could lead to damage. I often take an extra day it may slow my continual progress, but my bod needs it. fortunately I've been injury free so far.


My story sounds exactly like yours, but a few months ago. Luckily I am fine now, and just completed my first 5k today. I went to see a podiatrist who diagnosed shin splints. I had to rub ice along them 3 times daily, and massage which was really painful, but really worked. He also said my shoes were part of the cause. I completely rested for a week, then went to the gym and used the cross trainer for a couple of weeks, still doing my 0-5k runs on my iPod on the cross trainer, which is far kinder on shin splints than the road. Thankfully the pain has gone now, but I remember vividly my first 2 weeks of pain. Good luck :)

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