Couch to 5K
53,026 members85,110 posts

Wk4r1 and sore heels

Yay, I got out in the lovely weather today and did my first run of week 4. I felt really good and managed to do an extra 3 min at the end, before cooling down. Feel really proud of myself and I continue to look forward to improving fitness levels further.

But the last time I ran, and even more so today, the first few minutes of the run, I have had really sore heels and a little in the knee area. It feels like I'm slamming my heels down too hard, but I think I'm more of a mid foot runner, and have new shoes to support that. After a few minutes, they feel fine, and don't bug me for rest of the run, but have to admit to feeling a bit sore now. I do cool down and stretch out.

Any ideas of what this is? Am I more of a heel runner than I thought, and therefore need to check my shoes, am I not warming up enough (I do the 5 minutes quite briskly), is this usual?

Thanks in advance

8 Replies

Hi J, well done on completing w4, you have every right to feel proud. I remember starting to feel really excited about my runs around this point, week 5 is a great week.

About your heels, have you been following Laura's advice about hitting the ground with your heel first? Now, somebody please correct me if I'm wrong, but I've read this isn't terribly great advice. I think I may even have read on the nhs site that you should aim to hit the ground mid foot. I will try and find the link for you. Have you had gait analysis done by the way?

Edit: see third paragraph :-)


Thanks mimsi. I went of a gait analysis a few weeks ago when I bought my shoes, but he said that it only was really beneficial if you are NOT a mid foot runner, which I think I am. He watched me running outside in various shoes, and seemed to agree that I am, but did say that my heels touch lightly. I haven't adjusted how I'm running, so have ignored Laura on that! But maybe I touch more than I thought :-/


It sounds to me like you may be heel striking more than you think. Be cautious about changing your stride too radically though. Alternatively, maybe your calves get tired and let your heels slam down each stride. Maybe try some exercises where you walk on your toes a bit. If your calves firm up a bit, you might not get so tired and allow your heel to hit so hard.


Thanks rfb, I think you may be right that I heel strike more than I thought! As it seems to hurt at the beginning of a run, I hadn't considered it was due to getting tired, but maybe it's sore from tiredness on previous run?

I have also just read that some women who usually wear high heels struggle wearing flat trainers, and at only 5foot, I guess that could be me. I do wear flat shoes, but you never know. I'll look into exercises though, thanks

1 like

If you've been running one way and you switch to another, you'll use different muscles and tendons, so there's an adaptation time to respect. Remember that it's connective tissues that also get involved here. I think once you're on the midfoot, your Achilles tendon starts to work harder, as to the planar faci..something that run under your arches. Muscle aches that don't feel too painful, you could probably tough out, but if it feels like it might be the end, ease off a bit, and give yourself the time to adapt.

I think if you searched YouTube, you'd find videos on heel strike, and while it's bad. First thing would be that you have none of your natural "shock absorbers" working for you. You land with a straight (albeit rotating/ pivoting) leg, so the shock goes straight up the bones, basically to your back. I think you have the same shock force if you're landing on the mid foot, but now the foot stretches, your Achilles stretches, and your heel also strikes and takes some of the shock, and then as you go through, the tendons spring your foot against the ground. It all takes longer, so peak force would be lower. Shoes help (and one of the reasons heel strike has become so common is because modern running shoes have enough cushioning in them to hide the jarring effect).

I think Bazza recommends running a short distance on even ground, barefoot, to get a feel for these forces (he does recommend it, I just forget for exactly what), and if you do this, your feet will tell you what's happening to them. Land on the heel, and I guarantee you won't feel comfortable with it for long. Perhaps instead of all sorts of speculations about how the physics might work, just do an experiment, running various ways, barefoot, and feel if you can feel how the impact hits. It's amazing just how much more sensitive bare feet are than shod feet.

Are you a heel runner? If so, then you might want to gradually break the habit (but careful; you can hurt yourself doing this).

Well done on your run BTW. You're coming along nicely if you've got a bit of extra fuel left in the tank at the end. I also used to "burn" mine whenever I had any.


Thanks Gary. Interesting about running barefoot, I think that may be worth a try. I have been told that I lightly heel strike, but maybe it's becoming more pronounced. I believe I run on my mid foot usually.

I will look at some videos too, thanks for the advice/info


I had this, about week 3 it started. Good old Scholl do a gel-padded insert for sports shoes (which I popped in to my running shoes and they really did help). Try those and also if you need to rest, do. You don't want it developing into planar fasciitis and ending up in agony all the time. Also pay attention to how you run.


Thanks, I'll try that 😀


You may also like...