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Couch to 5K
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Knee's Again!!

Will I ever make it to w1 r3?

Although not as painful as my first attempt, my knees are not enjoying this just yet!

On my first attempt I completed the 1st week days 1 and 2 with no problems until the knee pain kicked in, left leg only. I was on pain killers and limping for 2 weeks.

Attempt 2 saw me again complete the first 2 days then the pain kicked in again! This time not as bad as the first, but more on my right leg and pain killers not required.

Am I right in thinking this is just my legs getting used to the new exercise? Or am I doomed to suffer knee problems?

I'm going to try again once the pain subsides, but how many more times should I try?

14 Replies

Not sure if this will help...I had knee pains in the early stages which have gone since I changed from road running to woodland track runs...softer and easier on the eye!! Also, looking back, I realise that I took off running too fast in the early stages & spent the following weeks learning to slow down my pace...think that these changes have helped me (just at week 9 now).


This is good advice. I had the same problem too and was advised to rest the knees till they stopped hurting, then run on grass. It was dull as I went round and round a playing field ad nauseam, but it gave my knees the chance to strengthen up before I took them on the roads again. If you haven't used your legs for a long time, the muscles which support the joints need to be retrained to hold the bones in the right place so they don't get damaged, and the impact of road running doesn't help. Don't give up, but just take it really slow and gentle and see if you can find somewhere 'softer' to run.


I'd love to give trails a go, the problem is I work days, my wife works evenings, so I'm limited to early morning town runs before the kids get up.

I really do hope it's just my legs getting used to the new activity because I feel amazing after each session I've completed so far.


That's a shame. I'm lucky that I live close to woodland trails. Haven't run on the road for several weeks, until a three minute, end of run burst yesterday... I can feel it today, so am convinced that increased pace and impact from the road contribute in my case. As useit said, taking it slow and steady is the way to go...maybe take an extra rest day or so, between each run, until your knees get used to the new activity I also love the buzz I get at the end of each run! :D


With a bit of hindsight I would've continued some sort of physical activity after leaving school, instead of waiting until my late thirties to get fit and fight the expanding waistline!

I will conquer this!!!


With a bit of hindsight I would've continued some sort of physical activity after leaving school, instead of waiting until my late thirties to get fit and fight the expanding waistline!

I will conquer this!!!


There's a big support muscle above the knees which with some exercise to strengthen it may help. A simple exercise is to stand on a step, one foot at a time and do dips. If your balance isn't too good stand sideways on the step with the lifted leg on the drop side while holding onto the banister/handrail. Dip for 10, change leg and repeat. Do 2-3 sets to start with, you can increase as time goes on by either doing more sets or increasing the number of dips. This strength exercise was one a Physio gave me after I had been in a splint for 8 weeks with torn cartilage after a ski accident.

The other thing to think about when you are running is how you are placing your feet, try not to heel strike a mid foot strike is better. If you are feeling pain up your shins running into your knees it could be the on set of shin splints which is often due to heel strike.

Running shoes can be another reason for pain so make sure your foot wear is appropriate for running.

If your knees and/or shins ache after running once you have had a nice warm shower turn the water to cold and run over any aches/pains its a good time to do it while your body is still warm and although it sounds harsh the aches and pains will feel fired and this will cool and sooth, its easier than icing later.

Don't forget to do some running stretches once you have finished your run too, although perhaps not so necessary in the early days its a good habit to get into.

Hope this helps a bit and good luck, we all got a few aches and pains when we first started out but don't run through bad pain you will do more harm than good. :)


Thanks oldgirl, all tips and tricks greatly received and taken on board.


Hope it didn't sound like I was preaching, I get carried away sometimes!!! :) :)


No, not at all, I want that graduate badge next to my name too! So I'm definetley going to take advice from those who have it.


I was very unfit when I thought about staring c25k, so rather than get on with w1r1, I spent two months going for a 3 mile walk three or four days during the week and a slightly longer walk on the weekends (eventually building up to walking a marathon across the Yorkshire Dales, feeling damned proud of myself). I think that created a foundation that made the running so much "easier" ("less hard" is probably a better expression) when I eventually got onto it.


Sounds similar to my experience - did week 1 ok and 2 of the week 2 runs then on the 3rd my left knee played merry hell.

Ended up having 3 weeks off from running and 4 visits to a physio. In my case the physio put it down to overuse - from suddenly running after years of doing nothing.

I also think part of it was the force I was putting through my knee by trying to run too fast. So when I started running again, after 3 weeks, I started back at the beginning and did 2 runs from week 1, then 2 runs from week 2 to build back up. I also made sure to run much slower than I did in the original attempt.

I also do some stretches and exercises that the physio gave me and I'm now due to do the 3rd run of week 4 tomorrow.

I would definitely take some time and make sure you're clear of knee pain before you carry on, and then when you do pick it back up slow down, even if you think you're going slow you can go slower!

It's also worth reiterating the comments about your running shoes - if you haven't already, seek advice to make sure they're right for you and provide the correct amount of support and cushioning.


Seeing your post made me sign up to this forum to lend some moral support.

I totally sympathise with your situation - same happened to me in June of this year. Just letting you know you are not alone with your knee problems. I rested and then eased back into it and am now up to week 4. So it is possible to get through it.

After W1 R3 my knee began to hurt and i was limping around for 4-5 week with damaged cartilage and muscles. Then we went on holiday and i only got back to C25k in august.

When i started W1 again i was really paranoid about my knees so i only ran for 30 secs at a time to let my knees get used to it. The following week i ran a bit longer etc. until i was doing the full W1 set.

In the end W1 took 4 weeks!!! I also did W2 twice and then normal for W3 & W4. It sounds a bit extreme But it felt right for me and my knees. I'm a 52 year old bloke and have never exercised since i left school so i don’t think my joints were up to it.

One other thing - When i bought the running shoes the guy in the shop recommended some gel heel inserts. I bought them, but being old and daft i did not use them when i started running, but after the knee injury i put them in as an extra layer of cushioning for my joints. Might be worth a try?

Onward to W5............. :)


Thank you ever so much for the advice!

It's very assuring to know I'm not the only one to suffer this way, and to know that the plan is still possible.

I think I'm going to take little bits from you all. Wait for the pain to go, put a few more walking miles on the clock, build up the strength in my knees and then start the plan again slowly.

Although a little impatient at times, I'm not going to let this break me. I'll keep you all informed of my progress. I've found this forum a great place for advice and support, I'm glad I've found it.


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