Couch to 5K
54,924 members87,441 posts

Help from the over 50s please

Hi! I started c25k in May, had a three week break in week 2 due to a knee injury - my job involves standing all day (but only three days a week)- and my calves and hamstrings were like rock. Since resuming the programme, having learnt how to protect my knees, I reached week 7 with no breaks. I ran week 6, run 3 ok and then the second 25 minute run (week 7, run 1) with a day's rest in between. At the time of running I felt fine, albeit tired as it was hot. I stretch religiously after a longer cool down walk (10-15 minutes) every time. However that last run was a week ago because I have sustained another injury; it literally feels like a donkey has kicked me on the rear end and outside of the upper thigh!! Not a sciatica type pain but a deep dull ache. Resting eases it: I have just had a few days off with just gentle walking and sitting in the car. It would get worse the more walking I did. Back at work today and, after nine hours standing....ouch!! That's after a week!

Despite the frustration I know I have to let it heal.

My question is, have any fellow over 50s had a similar struggle to complete couch, and can you give me any tips? Are my old muscles going to get me to the end and, hopefully, allow me to continue running?

Sorry it's a bit of a long post!

16 Replies

I am well over 50 and so far I've not had any problems during the C25K (just finished week 8).

A few weeks before I started I had a lot of pain which I thought was my sciatic nerve but it turned to be something else. I went to my GP and he recommended me seeing a physio. She gave me 6 treatments which fixed it. The physio gave me some Pilates exercises to do and I do them after each run.

It might be worth you going to your GP and/or a physio.


Thanks JayBeeToo. Congratulations on reaching week 8 :)


I was 57 when I started just over a year ago and like you I spend most of my working life on my feet. I had no problems completing C25k but did encounter lower back pain afterwards, when I was pushing my distance up to 10 miles. I have done core strengthening exercises for months and thought that they had done the job, but just recently I have had a niggling recurrence and am beginning to think I might need professional help. Don't be put off. Running is empowering because it forces you to learn about your body and cope with those aches and pains which are inevitable for our ageing bodies but it also gives us oldies a huge boost in that we are fitter (in my case anyway) than since we were kids. That newly discovered zest is too valuable to allow a few aches and pains to get in the way. We have runner on this forum in their seventies, so we can't get away with thinking we are past it in our fifties.

Good luck and tell us how you get on.

Keep running, keep smiling.


Thank you! Believe me, I don't intend to stop! I hope you get your back problem sorted :)


I am 67 - have run 500 klms since January , and fortunately have had no problems ( except sometimes for mysterious and intermittent things like my toes went numb during a run this week??)

To be honest, I don't know why I have had no problems - I did have a minor case of shin splints in the very early stages but they have gone long ago. I am short and "stocky" - actually I have always been "solid" and "muscular" - so I don't think I have the physique to be a "natural" runner.

I have run mostly in NIKE Free5.0 shoes - these are minimalist shoes and I do not run on my heels. I don't overexert myself - and I think that many of those who I see injured are trying too hard.


Thanks Bazza 1234, that is very encouraging. I think I need to ease up a bit. I run lightly and not on my heels. I might investigate new shoes :)


I think you are definitely onto something with all that Bazza.


Thank you for your reply. I don't stretch before a run; just a slightly longer walk that the 5 minutes on the podcast. Since the knee thing I've been really careful about post run stretches; maybe I need to add a few more!! Happy birthday for when it arrives- 50 is the new 30!! :)


Hi, I'm 51, started the plan in March and graduated in June. I had problems with week 6, not due to any injuries, but I just could not run continuously for the required time, so I repeated this week a few times before I was eventually able to progress. I was then able to complete the program without any problems. Since graduating I have been just concentrating on running 4-5 km three to four times per week. I get the occasional calf pain, but this usually disappears after a few cool down stretches. I never skip my cool down stretches. In the last few weeks I have been getting a lot of lower back pain, I'm not sure why.....I've had back problems before and have had physio treatment, so have gone back to the exercises they prescribed.....thankfully it has now improved.

I would say if you are experiencing pain/injuries you should see your GP and have it checked out. I hope you stick with the program as it will give you such a good sense of achievement, pride, fitness and self esteem.

Good luck....sorry I waffled on for so long!


Thanks AmberC. I will stick with the programme. I think I got a bit carried away with Laura telling me I could definitely do the longer runs. I had no problems with the 20 minute in week 5, or the first 25 minute. I probably should have rested an extra day or two before the second 25, until my body gets used to it. I hope your back carries on behaving itself! X


I'm 54, I got shin splints 2 weeks into the programme, I couldn't believe how painful it was...I got my gait analyzed and bought some proper shoes - I hadn't realised my old ones weren't really suitable for running. That was eye watering too, really expensive! Especially as at that stage I didn't know if I would stick with running. New shoes have made such a difference though, and I'm faster in them too! Get your gait analyzed if you can and bite the bullet over the cost of shoes, it's well worth it.

1 like

Thanks Curlygurly; I have been toying with the idea of gait analysis and suspect that the trainers I am using aren't ideal for road running. It's interesting to hear what a difference your new shoes made. Have you graduated?


I'm 52 and did have some knee problems early on - I then made sure I did my stretches after each run but also on rest days and often had 2 rest days. You might want to get the hip/thigh pain checked out if it doesn't go off as could be a hip bursitis. Like curlygurly I found gait analysis helpful.

good luck and hope you can get through it


Thank you :) x


I'm over fifty, graduated over 2 years ago now.

I am very willing to believe in just being lucky (or unlucky) in terms of injuries.

However, if I have made my own luck this is how I believe have done it...

1) I do not run on roads. I have really felt the difference on the rare occasions I've done it (perhaps 3 times in all the time I've been running) and it has not been a good one (although you do get naturally faster times). I note that my father still has all his own joints running in his 80s and he stays off road. There's luck in this of course as my circumstances mean I have a choice of where to run which not everyone has.

2) I do not stretch before or after my run. I have been ill and mostly in bed for decades and there is a distinct possibility that doing lots of stretching when I first got sick was a factor in my illness becoming as severe and prolonged as it has been. I'm very prone to muscle spasms. I do my walks before and after, and I do other exercise to improve all round fitness at other times, particularly 5-10 minutes gentle yoga first thing every morning.

3) Since I ditched running in walking boots, I've run in minimalist shoes (the only times I haven't was on a fitted pair of trails and I couldn't feel what I was doing, my knees knocked together and the pain following was grim - they went back) I do wonder if it is much easier to be aware of your body in these lighter weight shoes so you don't push too hard.


So many interesting points. I have heard of minimalist shoes. Where I live it is either road or uneven, thistly grazing fields. I do 20 minutes of yoga every morning; although I did drop it on run days. Thank you for posting.


You may also like...