Couch to 5K
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Week 1 Run 2 tomorrow & I'm aching like crazy

I did W1R1 yesterday morning and it went fine but in the afternoon (Monday) my muscles really started to hurt in my legs and hips, particularly my thighs and hips. I'm trying to ignore it lol.

I am due to go on my W1R2 tomorrow morning and I'm wavering on whether to do it or not.

All the usual, 'I'm so unfit, I'll never do it, I'm rubbish, I hurt too much, I can't do this' is going around my head.

I would really like to do C25k but the demons in my head are talking!!!

Please can I have some words of encouragement.

Will the pain in my legs/hips ever go? Is it something I should worry about?

30 Replies

You don't have to go every other day take tomorrow off, go out the next day, you need to give yourself time to recover, it's not a race. Slow and steady and have fun the pain will go away your legs just have to get used to it.


Taking 2 rest days is not a sin :) and yes, the pains go away, just as soon as your body gets used to doing an activity that it hasn't done for a long while. If you push yourself too hard too quickly, you will end up getting demotivated and end up back on the couch! Not worth it!

And as for the 'I'm too unfit' argument - I couldn't walk up a flight of steps without gasping for breath when I started, ached everywhere, and thought I was mad to start running at 49. I can now run 6km, albeit quite slowly, but I can do it, and still getting fitter


Aching muscles, sore bones are all common problems for newbie runners and if you need to take an extra day to recover, so be it as you do not want to risk injury as this could prevent you from running for weeks! At the beginning, I actually wondered if I was cut out for running as I ached so badly! I hate to give in that easily though and one tip that I found absolutely invaluable is to stretch after you have done your run and your cool down walk. As a result I found that I no longer ached nearly as much and I now always, always stretch.

These stretches are yoga type and I hold them for up to a minute each. I have done yoga before so I am familiar with these stretches, but I am sure there are some on the NHS website. Perhaps someone can post a link?

Those demon voices, (I call mine: "Saboteur Me,") are common, so find a "Positive Me" voice to cancel those negative thoughts out. So, "I'm so unfit" becomes, "Not for much longer," and it might help to find a personal mantra, such as, "On my way to a fitter, new me!" or "Push on for Body & Mind Beautiful," or something that resonates with you. Remind yourself why you are doing this. I had so many reasons and I am sure you do too but running will give you more than you know at this point in the plan so do stick with it.

You really can do this, ya know. There are people on here in their late 60's and they have graduated. It is good for your mind and your body. Just by taking the first step on the plan, you are already on your way to a fitter, healthier lifestyle. This is a sound investment in your health and it may just become your new drug!! I never believed it either :D

I am well on my way to being Fit & 50 :D

Well done on taking that first fitness step xxx


This programme is so well designed to take you from complete couch potato to fit enough to run 30 mins non stop. So be confident in it: most of us had done nothing for years exercise wise before starting this. It doesn't matter how long it takes to get to that end goal, so don't be afraid to take a little longer if you need to. However, the sort of aches and pains you are describing sound fairly normal - I definitely experienced them and over the next few weeks you'll get more confident in judging the difference between those aches and pains that pass and the one's you need to keep an eye on nd give yourself an extra days rest.

Well done for getting out there!


Yes it does make your legs ache and yes its hard to do it when the voices are saying its too hard but it is so worth it. I'm 61 and I've gone from non runner to running 1hr16 minutes non stop in a 10k road race last week and my legs don't ache hardly at all so yes it does stop aching and YES IT FEELS GREAT and YES ITS WORTH IT keep going please believe me it will change your life:-)


Very well done indeed xxx


thanks xx


I can't really add anything useful to what has already been said. If you need to take an extra day for rest then do so - nothing is written in stone. One thing I must stress to you - get rid of those demon voices telling you negative things. You CAN do it, you are only unfit until you've done a bit more of the programme then you will amaze yourself. I started last year and gave up at around week 3, mainly due to demon voices - not from my head, mind, was people in my neighbourhood resented me losing weight and getting fit deliberately trying to sabotage me. I have since moved to a new area and got back into the swing of things. I repeated weeks 2 and 3 then continued with the programme as it is and I have now done the first run of week 8. I am signed up to do the Race for Life in June. So, you CAN do it, take your time, go slow and steady and you WILL get there. Just look to this community for support and encouragement. Good luck and best wishes.


I think this is totally normal! I remember the first week my muscles were in agony for 2 days after the run! I had to spray deep heat on them just to go to work! I've now finished week 5 and no longer have that and can manage fine :-) looking back I've almost forgotten how sore I was initially!

It will get better, keep going and if you need extra days, take them :-) good luck!


I was taught on a course a few years ago to picture that voice as a "poisonous parrot" on your shoulder repeating those same old phrases, one thats really annoying and unhelpful, and you have to do everything you can to shove it off and run free! You really can do this, please believe in the programme and yourself and you'll be amazed how far you can come! i quite often have extra rest days inbetween runs , see how you feel.......... good luck and keep on posting, this forum is a great motivator! :)


I am definitely going to imagine my little saboteur as a poisonous parrot. Thanks for the tip :)


yes give it a big swipe with your hand :)


that poisonous parrot is going on at me tonight. I am going to firmly push it off my shoulder!!! Thanks for the tip too :)


Wow! What an amazing bunch of people you are! Thank you so much for your words of advice & encouragement. Some wise words indeed.

I've decided to have an extra rest day so that's settled.

Am sure I'll feel less achey by Thursday.

Am trying so hard to banish the negative thoughts. I really want to do this.

My local park has a 5k park run & I'd love to do that someday. So I have a goal in mind.

Thank you all, you are great :)

Oh yes. I shall be stretching after a run/walk now too !!!


If you check the results of your local parkrun, it will give you a good indication of whether it's a slow one or not - the slowest pace in my local is about 45 mins, bushy park is about an hour - I used to go along and walk/run when I started running - it's only this last week, 8 months after my first park run, that I actually ran all the way round. I was only a week or 2 into running when I started doing parkrun. It's a nice way of keeping track of the fact you are improving all the time.


Please do stretch after every run. To cut a long story short, I am a returning runner, I used to run a lot but had to stop a couple of years ago due to severe muscle spasm around my hip and glutes. The reason? Many years of inadequate stretching after running finally caught up with me. I graduated in March and it still crops up every now and then if I push too hard or don't get enough rest. I sometimes took extra rest days during the programme too if I felt I needed it. Far better to take extra days and keep going than push through and end up unable to run. Good luck!


parkrun is great you really should do it! we had from small kids of 5 or so to an amazing road running lady visiting in her seventies making it round the other week, loads of different abilities but a good thing to try, i've done 5 now, good luck for your next runs... :)


I agree with all the others but suggest you do a bit of brisk walking tomorrow to try & ease the aches.

It is achievable!!


You could also think about taking up yoga or Pilates to do on your rest days as this could also help to loosen up your muscles and relieve the aches. Cheers.


I find that sometimes the answer to the aching is not to have an extra rest but to go for a run! (Provided I have the non-running day between runs)

I suspect that you are probably running on a hard surface and running faster than you need to. I found it tremendously hard to pace those 60 seconds. It only needs to be a running motion, it doesn't need to be faster than you can walk.

Fitmo's suggestion of doing some stretching stuff on your non-running days is a great one.

Oh and the other thing is... are you stretching before your session? That might be why you are hurting. Many people swear by stretching afterwards but I find even afterwards disagrees with me and I find it much better to do it separately.


Stretching, hydration, an extra rest day, a hot bath and, if you want, pain killers. The aches are a bunch of little injuries and if the pains are that troublesome, a dose of aspirin or other OTC pain killer might be justified.


I was amazed WHAT ached after my first go - not just my legs and hips but my tummy, sides and arms too. Just shows how much of an all over workout you are getting :) I just gave it a few days until it passed and then did the second run. I was nowhere near as achy on the second run.


Well I'm feeling less achey today but still a bit of pain so I will just stick to the dog walk today and go on W1R2 tomorrow.

I don't think I'm going too fast, I think I'm shuffling rather than jogging lol. If I went any slower I'd be going backwards!!!

I'm a member of a gym too, so I could go to yoga (there's only one pilates class a week and it'd not at a good time for me), so I shall give that a go.

Also may try swimming and sauna/steam inbetween runs/shuffles!

Don't think I need pain killers as it's more of an ache than a stabbing pain. Not keen on taking them unless I really have to.

Re hydration. I have a drink of water before I set out and I had a pint of water when I got back on Monday.

I didn't stretch on Monday before or after, so I will give that a try - thanks for the tip!

Right - I'm off on a dog walk. Same route that I shuffled on Monday. I'll probably do it quicker walking with the dog that sniffs every 5 seconds!!!


Oh, sauna would be sooooo lovely!


Good luck with your run tomorrow and I look forward to seeing your positive post. Cheers.


I am on my third attempt to do c25k. The first run each time left me very sore the next day. However it is also the only time on each attempt that I ever felt like that. My advice is trust the programme, ignore the negative voice in your head and get your a**e out the door! I start wk 8 tommorrow, good luck to us both.


Well, I've just got back from watching the Manchester City match at the Etihad against Sunderland in which Man City played appallingly for the most part. God knows how we managed a draw! I'm tired and wired. My negative voice is saying... have a lie in, don't run tomorrow.

I KNOW I have to beat this negative voice. I do want to run.


When I started I couldn't walk far. My legs ached after a short while and at times I was even out of breath doing really small things. I started by being inspired by friends who were similarly unfit and had managed to do it. I realised that 'running' just meant slow staggering, and much to my amazement I managed week 1. I had lots of advice about proper stretching when I finished but despite this, I could hardly walk between runs. This carried on til about week 5. When the runs got a bit longer, I changed to running every 3 days as I needed the extra time to recouperate. Before I started and for the first few weeks I had pain in my hip at nights, and often during the day. The only thigh pain I had was walking as I realised that when walking I had started to walk bent, and I had to learn to stand up straight and it was then when I felt the stretch in my thighs. I can't say you should run tomorrow as I don't know if you have any real problems, but I feel that many like me have to get the muscles strong again to have any chance of getting fit and healthy. If I'd have stopped, things would have got worse. I was half way through week 7 and realised that I hadn't had any pain for about a week. I'd had ankle trouble, so got new trainers, but haven't had any more trouble with this either despite not always wearing my best trainers to run. I wanted to be able to keep up with my grandson who is two. I now can which is brilliant. I had a couple of weeks out due to not being able to fit runs in and now have just got a treadmill. Good luck if you do go out tomorrow. Let us know how you get on.


Thank you all for your advise.

I did my 36th parkrun yesterday , got a PB of 40.19 still can't break the 40min marker.

I have started training3 times a week run/ walking again to try get faster.

I have been trying to run pulling in my bottom and sucking in my stomach as I have read about but this must have used muscles I am not used to using and boy do I ache today. Not just my knees but my hips.

I cannot stop pushing to run all out instead of a steady pace. I see others doing it so much quicker and at 65 I feel I have to prove myself as a runner.

My son wants me to visit for the weekend and join him at his parkrun when he does his 50th run next month . I don't want to show him up but feel I may have to stop myself running so hard or I will be hobbling around his house the rest of the weekend. Should I stay or should I go?


You won't show him up. He should be super proud of you. Just do it in your own time, enjoy being in the same park run as your son and make sure you get a photo of you both at the finish line.


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