Couch to 5K
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The difference between injury and just muscle aches and pains

I am 49 and got up to week 5 of the plan, I found that my legs tired before I got out of breath, but I felt great after finishing. After week 5 the longer runs left my knees and hip clicky and painful. My shoes should be ok as I had new ones after a gait analysis. I was really proud of myself for running 5-6 mins, but now feel deflated as I was hoping running would be the miracle I need to help me lose weight (5 stone), but maybe it's not for me. How can I tell if this is normal and I will get stronger or if it is something more serious.? Has anyone else suffered and carried on through the pain?

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I have developed a sore knee and I am resting it and having a break from running for a week. Mint is normal to have some aches as your run times increase but these should recover when u have rest days. Strengthening exercises should help protect against injury too.

You could always try low impact exercise to maintain fitness, swimming, cycling or walking so not all is lost. As far as weight loss is concerned, exercise in itself is not likely to help u lose. Perhaps consider calorie counting as a way to make sure you can reach weight loss goals. I recommend My Fitness Pal as an App, it is free and you can set goals, monitor calories and there is a very useful forum too. Julie

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I have never had anything clicky, but from around the middle towards the end of the programme, the muscles around my knees used to get very stiff and achy; the next day was worse, then it all disappeared again and it never hurt while I was actually running. These days the next day aches are much less - and it tends to be different muscles aching at different times.

I would say put up with soreness afterwards for a day or two at this point, but be very careful if it hurts during the runs or if the aches don't go away. Definitely best to get medical advice first then rather than running through pain as you could be doing more damage than you are aware.


I get clicky hips! I'm 58 nearly.

You'll be fine. Have patience. Rome wasn't built in a day, nor were running legs. You have to get stronger to your core. You'll have to work on that as you progress through the weeks.

You will get stronger and you will lose weight providing you eat healthily and don't feed yourself after short runs. Yo won't need any extra food til you're running further than 10k

Keep up with the sessions, after having a few days rest if needs be, eat plenty of protein, lots of veg and fruit, keep moving, and you should see the weight start to shift.

When you do your sessions go nice and slowly. No hurry!

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If it's any consolation - I got my first running blister today after running 1500 klms over the past 2 years or so.( I'm 69) I have always had problems with shoes and socks - have never been able to find the right combination. I got new socks this week which I thought were "perfect" - they felt so comfortable with my shoes on. Went for a 20 K training run today, had to take socks off at 4K mark as my toes were swollen and "numb", ran next 10K with no socks ( much better) but then started to get a blister -- socks went back on for the next and final 5K. I'm going to try my wife's calf length stockings next time!!!


BTW - there is only one way that exercise will lose weight - that is , to exercise as a diversion away from the kitchen when you feel the "munchies" coming on. As soon as you are tempted to eat outside of the normal meal times -- out the door you go!!!! :)


Thanks for everyone's comments, some good advice.


Hi lard legs, take a rest for at least a week and if you can afford it see a qualified Physios and take the advice you are given.

I speak from very very painful experience, I started c25k late last year with a similar profile to you. I ended up unable to walk at all for three months and I still limp. I lost quite a lot of work and thus half my income as a direct result.

Good news for me is that having developed an exercise habit I eventually switched to weights, swimming and cycling and yoga. They deliver the same endorphins as running without the terrible wear and tear. I am now training for the non impact bits of the triathlon . I have lost 20lbs and have a plan I believe in to lose the rest.


You could go back to the shop where you got your shoes for advice, most of them give you a month to try them out - or has that passed now? I'd still go back..


One change you could try is to find more forgiving surfaces. My Dad is almost 82 and is still running with all his own joints. I asked him once if he'd never fancied running a marathon and he said he liked his joints too much to do all that road running. So when I took up running I was not about to go grinding my cartilage into oblivion by slamming my feet on tarmac and I stick religiously with off road. (I am fortunate to have the choice to do that) On the very rare occasions I have run part of the time on tarmac, I have really felt it afterwards. I don't run too many times in a row on forest tracks or rock either. And I keep it gentle and light.

One thing occurs to me - most of us would say that if there is one thing wrong with the NHS programme it is the advice to hit the ground with your heel first. If that's what you've been doing, then changing that might make all the difference.

You might well find some benefit from stretching. I'm not personally a fan of doing it straight after a run (though many here find it essential) You could look at the NHS Strength and Flexibility podcast programme. I do 10-15 minutes of yoga every morning now, with an eye to what I need to counterbalance the running and have found it really helpful. I don't think I would have got into it without running.

You say you got up to Week 5... but then you say the longer runs left you with clicky painful joints. So which runs were doing that?

Don't forget that people who do no exercise at all and are overweight get painful knees and hips! It is worth finding a way to make outdoor exercise work for you as it provides a lot more than the gym or the pool (I had far more trouble with grinding and clicking joints and out and out sickening pain from swimming, although it has improved with persistence although the profound boredom hasn't so much - a virtual swim log helps so I can imagine where I have got to on my journey)


I agree with a lot that has been said. Your body is in on a journey and it takes time for all the muscles and joints to adjust to the new exercise. Some of us took a lot longer to progress through the program as we were waiting for our bodies to catch up with us. I would say while your body is having a little complain think about extra rest days Inbetween runs and stay at a week that is comfortable. Even if you stay there for a few weeks you are still off that couch. I walk on my rest days as I like the feeling of being mobile and outdoors. You use slightly different muscles when you walk to when you run. Stick with it, I am sure your body will catch up soon and if your really worried as we always say on here "if in doubt check it out" with you gp.

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