Couch to 5K
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Done it!

Completed the w5r1 (with lots of encouragement from lovely people on here) but now have a streaming cold and have to go see chiropracter for a sore back! Not sure if the back problem is due to running or my job so I've decided to rest for 4 days then repeat the run. I hope this sorts it out cos I don't want to quit now but I also don't want to cause any damage to my back having suffered a slipped disc 3 years ago. Anyone else have back trouble after running?

6 Replies

It's definitely best to take sufficient rest and seek advice. Ask your chiropractor for some back stretching exercises to do before and after running. Remember that you are doing an amazing thing for your body and it really doesn't matter how long it takes to get through the programme- build up at your own pace. Good luck to you!


My sciatica seems worse the day of a run. I'm just hoping losing the pounds will even things up 😕


The back pain would be most directly connected to running. The first time I tried this, I got back pain that just got worse and worse as the duration of the runs went up. I went straight through, week by week to the end of Week 4, and then went on holiday for a few weeks, at a game reserve where running is reserved for the suicidal. I had to hang like a gibbon from the frame of the game drive vehicle, and then go and lie flat out on my back, waiting for the stiffness to stabilise, and this made me realise that for me, going straight from Week 1, stepwise to Week 9, was just going to mess me up.

When I got back I reversed right back to Week 2, and I kept there. Already by the time I went on holiday, I'd realised the back pain was due to my core being weak, so I put more effort into core strength than running (and I dropped gym, where I'd been making quite a bit of progress). That sorted the problem out.

Only now I've progressed to the stage before a full scale slipped disc, so I had other issues that perhaps the back pain was protecting me from?

Translating that back across to your case, I would guess that the direct cause of the back pain is probably core strength issues. It's hard getting stable in the core. However, with your history you probably need to be really careful, because you might be heading back to a slipped disk.

I've thought a bit on how I might have avoided my back problem (this is pretty much guesswork). Number one would be to keep impact on the disks to a minimum. Measures like swopping some runs for walks would be one such way. Also allowing a lot more rest time for recovery after any run is probably essential, even when there are no niggles or hurts. Something I could have done was to put myself on the "c25k triathlon course", because I have a bicycle with a motor for any hills my legs can't yet handle, and our public swimming pool is useable even in the Winter. The run would have to be skipped on most days, but it would be possible to build fitness that way. The point of this being that it's safer to try and adapt the programme to suit your back than to adapt your back too quickly to the programme.

I hope you manage to find your way around or over this problem and will watch your progress with interest.


Hi Gary, my chiropracter has given me exercises and suggested a few days rest. I work as a nurse and had spent an afternoon doing a leg ulcer clinic so had been bent in some very strange positions! He also suggested running on grass as I run on the towpath which has been tarmacked so is quite hard. I'll wait til Sunday then repeat w4 I think and see how it goes. Thanks for your help


OK, yes, you'd have a better idea of the likeliest cause of the sore back than most of us, then. And bending into strange positions has always made my back complain, so experience suggests you're right in suspecting the job is the problem. Actually, now I think a bit more, if it had been the running you would have felt it increasing continuously all the time, right from the earlier weeks. If that's not the case then according to Sherlock Holmes, it can't be the running that's the problem.

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Having a previous injury does tend to make us a bit more cautious, doesn't it? I have a back injury from well over 5 years ago now and it still rears its ugly head from time to time. I hope the exercises your chiropractor gives you do the trick and hopefully you're given the all clear soon :-) like PlumPhil says, there's no time limit to finishing the programme.


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