Been graduated 6 weeks but maybe it's "back" to walking?

Anyone else suffer lower back pain from running?

Will it ease off / get better?

I have no known back problems, during a run my back does not hurt at all but between runs I have been experiencing achey lower back pain.

In the weeks after graduating I ran:

Wk1: 5k 5k 5k

Wk2: 5k 5k 5k but then body felt really exhausted so went down to

Wk3: 5k 3k 5k

Wk4: 3k 5k 3k then still due to tiredness

Wk5: 3k 3k 3k then due to back pain

Wk6: 3k 3k

This week I have managed a 3k run and going for another today but feeling a bit disheartened as I want to run 5k but this makes me feel exhausted on top of my 40 hour job.

I do find just running 3 x 3k a week is enjoyable (5 min warm up 20 mins run 5 min cool down) But is it wise to run at all if I get back pain on rest days. Will persevering strengthen my back?

I alternate pairs of trainers to get the benefit from insole support.

I've changed from road running to trail running to see if the softer terrain helps.

Thanks. Advice appreciated.

20 Replies

  • Look at partaking in a core training regimen. If I have not ran or cycled for a while, I often have lower back pain for the first couple of weeks.

    There are several apps that will help you exercise your core at home with a variety of exercises. Also there are a couple of videos on Youtube for core exercising.

    Try Fitness Blender.

    But as with all these exercises, they require a determination to stick to the routine, the discipline of exercising. I am very bad at that especially if I have stopped for a few weeks due to injury...

  • Thank you. I will totally look into it

  • If your back pain is an uncomfortable deep ache it could well be a core strength issue.

    If it is more than an ache - a true pain, it may be something more - get it checked out.

    So, to improve back strength I found the short bridge really, really effective - can't remember how many I did to begin with but it was something like 10 reps x 3 sets, every day ( twice a day is better ! ) then increased to 15,20,25 reps It didn't take long for the ache's to improve.

    I found I could keep running while doing this.

    Running on softer ground is kinder to the joints, and it sounds like you have proper trainers, so that is covered.

    Please don't be disheartened, you've done brilliantly post grad. It is a time when some of us floundered without the structure of the program. Don't feel 'obliged' to run 5k every time at all - 'just' 3k will keep you ticking over nicely :)

  • Oh, forgot to say thanks for the post - it's given me some omphh top re-start my bridges too :)

  • Thank you. I'm going to look into "bridges" - what is the short bridge? :-o

    I'm just back in from a wet 5k :-) as it's my day off work. Just wanted to prove to myself I could still do it, and I feel great. I know I will pay for it tomorrow though! But figure if I can do some core strengthening exercises later today and then again tomorrow morning before work maybe it will help.

    I suppose I have just been lost on what exercises I should be doing in rest days.

    Yeah, I was hard on myself post grad to keep 5k ing all the time but following advice I just "ran for fun" and I find 3k is just nice, with the occasional 5k thrown in to prove to myself I can still do it 😀

    Definitely going to try to keep running on softer ground. Thanks

  • Short bridge demo + strength vid x

    Well Done on the 5k :)

  • thanks for you post, some good suggestions there for you to consider.

    I have a similar but different issue, I find that I am using, post graduation, the couch to 5k plus podcasts to run to and seem to be slowing down rather than speeding up ? has anyone else found this and a solution to it ?

    Kind Regards


  • I tried the post grad podcasts but didn't like the speed one as I already run at the fastest speed comfortably so I just found it really difficult to slow down to the paces that were recommended.

    I find it hard enough to get "into the zone" mentally where you can just comfortably jog at your own speed, convincing yourself that "this is just natural, no effort at all" (😂😂!!) without someone mucking around with my pace lol.

    I think if you are "slowing down" worth the podcasts then you don't really need them.

    What I have done post graduate - and it takes a bit of time, is created my own playlists of songs I really like that get me motivated (indie girl at heart but lots of dance music is just made for this sort of thing and can be uplifting and inspirational). Invest in some running cds - I have "Now that's what I call running" and "Running Trax" and pick & choose your faves.

    Stick a 5min track at the beginning and end of your playlist for warm up & warm down and then fill the rest with 30 mins (roughly) of tracks you love. Totally worth it. Then you can run at your own speed and enjoy yourself. I figure the more you run the fitter you get anyway so speed and stamina will increase in time anyway.

    I also occasionally use Map my walk (change activity to interval training) to make sure it is 5k or 3k that I'm running 😉

  • Tracy you are my running angel thank you what brilliant advice I shall go get those running cd's now where do I source them ?

  • Amazon

  • Amazon. Hope you get on ok with it and enjoy enjoying yourself :-)

  • Tracy

    thank you ran with my own music today as was back on pace with a sub 30 min 5k, I ran on for a bit longer and matched the endrurance podcast distance with 2 mins to spare.

    thank you for liberating me :-)

    Kind Regards


  • oh and I enjoyed running at my own pace, I could modulate running pace with the terrain.

    thanks again


  • Nick - You probably have a naturally high cadence ( kinda like turnover of feet per minute ) which is a good thing. Mine is dead low so i go like a bat out of hell to these podcasts ! Instead of the C25K+ try your own intervals, or perhaps add in some sprint sections to your runs. Add some strides in after your easy shorter run. Also make sure you do your long run SLOW. All these things will help improve your speed ( Don't try them all in one week though ! )

  • cool ty great advice :-) really appreciate it

  • I have used previously Endomondo. Using this app you can create your own intervals for warming up, cooling down, moderate and intense activity.

    thus you can create your own progressive training regimens similar to couch25K.

    But I also like Tracy's playlist suggestion.

  • I get a bit of lower r/h side backache, usually when I first get out of bed, then goes away, and OK running..

  • That's good to know you get similar. I've Googled "how to sleep in bed with back ache" but it's not always practical - or comfortable to sleep with a pillow between your knees 😂

  • A friend was having similar issues with lower back pain and was told he's "not using his Glutes correctly".

    A few Glute strengthening exercises later and he's seen an improvement.

  • Glutes and bridges it is! :-) Thank you all

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