Couch to 5K
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Calf muscle pain

I've started the C25K a couple of timessince the winter but can never manage more than a few runs before I get quite intense pain in my calf muscles. I'm stretching/warming up before running, stretching afterwards, I've got a roller, I've had my shoes checked in more than one place and I'm doing calf strengthening exercises but it still keeps happening.

I'm desperate to be able to join my friends on their 5K+ runs and I'm getting quite down at the thought it may not happen.

I weigh a bit more than I should but I'm trying to sort that out and I'm swimming and doing exercise DVDs to try and maintain at least some levels of fitness but I want more!

Has anyone else had a similar experience and managed to overcome it? Any further ideas on what I can do?

I never thought I'd say this but I want to be a runner! :)

6 Replies

That sounds really frustrating libby, especially as it sounds like you are doing and have done all the right things! All I would suggest is a trip to a physio either through your GP (for free) but he or she will have to agree it's necessary, or go privately.

I really hope you get it fixed.


I can only comment from my personal experience -- I used to get a lot of sore calves during earlier runs , but as I have run more, they have mostly gone away. I do very infrequently get sore calves even now -- but I am thinking that it comes when I use low heel to toe drop shoes -- all of my shoes are what you would call "minimalist" shoes , very light with very little support of any kind - but the majority of them ( I have about 6 pairs :( ) have a heel-toe drop of 8mm, but I also have 3 pair with heel-toe drop of only 3-4 mm and these tend to strain both my Achilles and calf muscles.

I can only say -- keep on keeping on - but don't let your desire to keep up with your friends get in the way of your need to keep on training. It will slowly all come to you.


I had this for the first few weeks. My daughter does sports massage and this did the trick for me. It hurts whilst the calves are being massaged but afterwards there is relief! After a few sessions, the calves stopped hurting.


I also suffered a lot of calf pains early on. I used ice packs (the reusable ones that go in the freezer) and warm baths. I found that this made the pain manageable and I was able to keep running through. I still sometimes get pains but find that running helps.


Hey, I had the same. You sort of just get through it. I never thought I would make it but I'm on 28 minute runs now without any calf pain. I think you just have to keep going and get through it. What helped for me was to cut my runs so that I got two complete days rest between them, instead of just one. Good Luck!


Thank you for all the replies. I think running through is basically the way forward. I asked in the running shop and that's basically what they told me to do too.

I watched some YouTube clips and read some stuff and found a few places that said runners should be able to do 30-40 calf lifts on each leg and I could only manage 10 a couple of weeks ago. Hoping if I keep working on those I should get there.

It really does make me feel a lot better to know other people have suffered and got through it.

Thank you


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