Sofa to 5k made me ill should I continue?

Hi I started c25k 4 weeks ago and at end of week 3 I developed a migraine which I have never had before anyway because my face and arm went numb I had to go to Doc as they suspected a mini stroke! I ended up being checked out in A&E. This was really scary they said exercise was the migraine trigger now I am scared to carry on. I have had a week off. I am 49 and wondering if I'm too old for this type of exercise. Please can you give me some advise. Many thanks.


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12 Replies

  • Your age is not a bar to carrying on with C25k, ( there are many of us considerably older than you) but any underlying health conditions may be a good reason to stop. Few of us are medically qualified and even those who are would hesitate to give a definitive answer to your question. This is definitely one for your GP to advise on.

    C25k is an incredibly effective and safe way to start running, but if you are advised that it is not a good idea for you, then I would listen to the experts and find another, less demanding route to fitness, such as walking, cycling or swimming. Wishing you all the best and if you can safely run you will of course find this forum supportive and helpful. Good luck.

  • I was going to reply but Truffe pretty much covered it!

  • So sorry to hear of your troubles, but I do agree with the previous reply - this is really a question for your GP. Don't try running again without medical consent, it's really not worth it. That said, I really hope you find a way through this; so frustrating and yes, I bet really scary too. Take care.

  • When you say 'at the end of week 3 you developed a migraine and your face and arm went numb' do you mean that this happened whilst running or not long (up to a few hours) afterwards... or that this merely happened in the course of that week, and it is the correlation of new exercise and new symptoms that has led to the suggestion that one triggered the other?

    Of course, like any other responsible person, I am going to suggest that a follow-up discussion with your GP, in conjunction with all your notes from the hospital visit, is necessary at this point. Not least because it must have been quite frightening for you, and because you are saying that 'Couch to 5k made me ill' and wondering if you are too old for running at 49. Or there could be something that needs further exploration and there may be other factors in play.

    (I was slightly amused by IannodaTruffe's suggestion of walking, cycling and swimming as less demanding as all of them have given me significant problems on occasion whereas running has not, yet, in over 4 years, starting at 49 and with health problems severe enough to prevent me from working)

    I would be surprised if the GP recommended not running ever again (and, unless there were other factors, I would be unimpressed if they did to be honest) However, attention to making sure you have eaten and drunk enough and at a suitable time, and going gently, avoiding strong sunshine and hot weather may be suggested.

    (I had a not dissimilar scary episode years ago, and it was definitely linked (to the extent that it has a name) to, erm, another form of exercise. Thankfully, no one suggested I need give up that particular form of exercise... and I had no recurrence (others are not so lucky))

  • In my defence, GM, running, by definition, cannot be carried out and with less strenuous effort below a given minimum, or it simply becomes fast walking, once both feet do not leave the ground simultaneously on each stride. Whereas it is possible to walk, cycle or swim slowly and gently with reduced effort and still gain major health benefits.

    Knowing how much most on this forum have gained from increasing the amount of exercise in their lives, I am still zealous enough to want to encourage someone who is facing potential difficulties to stick with the changes she has initiated, as have all the respondents to her post, yourself included.

    Reading this back it sounds somewhat Po faced and defensive, but that must be because l am tired, and l hope you know me well enough by now not to think that of me.

  • I do, and no you don't sound po faced or defensive, and I appreciate what you were getting at, I think. Very prudent to say to someone "Look, if it does happen that running is not a good idea for you, there are other options for fitness"

    I am though wary of any 'it's not really running' if it isn't more demanding than walking suggestions... mainly because a) that kind of thing put me off ever trying because "runners are self-obsessed arses who look down on non-runners and tell beginners they are not really running" and b) it would make a nonsense of what I have been doing over the last 4+ years... I still find brisk walking a painful and unsustainable business (better than it was) but I can run 10k. Granted my exercise physiology (whatever the hell is going on) is atypical.

  • Hi, On christmas eve morning whilst having a cup of tea and reading the paper, the vision in my left eye disappeared completely but returned a short time later. I saw my gp who referred me to hospital immediately. I had CT and MRI scans and a batch of other tests some of which I am still waiting for. Doctor suspected a TIA - mini stoke. After MRI a doctor in hospital spoke to me and said it was a retinal migrane, nothing to worry about. a great relief. As part of the tests I had an ambulatory ECG for 48 hours as part of the overall investigation at the end of February, heard nothing until I had another appointment on Friday past and assumed that after a 2 month wait there was no problems. Turns out it wasn't a migrane but was actually a TIA.. I am 59, and what the Doctor on Friday did tell me was that a first retinal migrane usually occurs in the 20's or 30's but definately not when almost 60. I have been prescribed various medications to cut my risk of further TIA or God forbid a full blown stroke. I do have high blood pressure (a family thing - in my genes) The fact that your face dropped and that you lost power in your arm are very ominous and I would definately look for another opinion, If you look at the symptoms of TIA you will see that what you are describing looks very similar, symptions mimick those of a stroke but do not last for more than 24 hours, mine lasted maybe 20 minutes.

    I was told in January there was no problem with running but I stopped as I was very afraid. I have only recently restarted couch to 5k again from the beginning, this has all ok'd by both GP and hospital, but am very careful if I think I am overdoing it I revert to walking. Just get it all checked again

  • Thank you so much for your reply I am sorry to hear about your health problems and agree that it all needs double checking. I will make an appointment with my GP to see if they can check me over again and get confirmation it is ok to start c25k again. Thanks for advise.

  • Glad that you are going to talk it over with your GP. There are a few of us on here that starting to learn to run has highlighted underlying health conditions that needed sorting out first and with management have not stopped us starting to run. It takes so much pressure off going out for a run when you have your GP's consent if your worried about anything. Good luck with your appointment.

  • Second opinion definitely needed - glad you are going to discuss it again but maybe use a different Doctor????

  • Thank you all for your thoughts very much appreciated.

  • I absolutely agree with everyone on a second opinion and getting checked out.

    If all goes well and there is no medical reason for you to not re-start and you decide to go ahead then I can offer some advice. I suffer from migraines and at their worst, my face goes numb and I can't speak, partly because my brain doesn't function well enough to actually think straight, never mind the motor function!

    I sometimes get migraines after running - yesterday was the last time and although not debilitating, I'm still not feeling great. I'm sure it's to do with posture. I'm a great advocate of 'proper' posture but sometimes I'm guilty of slouching and tensing up my shoulders. Having not run for six months and only just getting back to it and being shocked by how hard I'm finding it, I'm certain that being hot and tired is not helping.

    So, think about 'how' you run. Are you hunching over with your arms tight in and crossed over in front of you? Do you have your shoulders up to your neck? Is your head up or hanging down? All these *could* have an effect.

    Migraines have many causes but if tension is involved this might help.

    Try to run tall - imagine you have a string attached between your shoulders and down to your lower back and is gently pulling you up. Head up, facing forward. Arms relaxed at your side, bent at the elbows at right angles and used to help push you along. Shoulders relaxed, if you feel them tensing up, roll them around, shake out your arms. If necessary, stop and bend forward from the hips allowing your upper body to drop under its own weight and stretch out - (my magic cure for any headache!)

    Whatever happens, I wish you well. You're definitely NOT too old or unfit. Make sure you're well hydrated, go very slowly and don't push yourself too hard at this stage. Slow and steady is the way to go!

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