Wk 2, calf pain and running form

2nd run of week 2 today - it's been a long time since I've run but I have been fairly active with hill walking. It's therefore surprised me that my lower calves are becoming sore during / after runs - but I've seen the helpful advice on this site and will try it out. Thanks!

I was surprised to hear the advice in the podcast to run landing on heal (or heal-strike). From what I've read else where it is a bad idea as running is not like walking but more like jumping and you'd never jump and land on your heals. It doesn't take much of a Google search to find expert running sites that advise not to run on heals (eg Polar or Runners World). Is there a reason for the contrary advice in the podcast, or is it something that would be better corrected in due course?


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8 Replies

  • Do what comes naturally, but don't try to land on your heels. I'm surprised that the NHS hasn't corrected that part of the podcast, because it's an open invitation to shin splints. You will find that various muscles will complain to the management over the next few weeks, because they have been woken up by running. Give them time, massage and epsom salts, and they'll get over it. :)

  • I agree with mfamilias, heel striking is not recommended and I remember querying this when I used the app, some time ago now. Surprised it hasn't been changed. In the days of good old Laura, on the app, they used to also advocate breathing in through the nose and out through the mouth. Fine if it works for you, but not set in stone. I breathe mainly through my mouth and it has never caused me any problems! I know other runners who do the same, so I think it is about doing what feels right for you. Hope your calves settle down. If not, it may help to go and get gait analysis to make sure you are wearing the right shoes for running. 🙂

  • From what I have read recently there is huge debate about this now. Some research suggests switching from heel to mid or forefront simply moves the risk of injury from the knee-related to calf-related. It is also now recognised that even if you are a forefront stricker it does not mean you have good technique and that over striding is the new 'evil' .

    Maybe when I get nearer to being an elite runner I will look into foot strike in more deapth, but for now, at least I am running!

  • Most of what Laura says is gospel but that is one of the only parts I'd suggest ignoring! Run in the way which feels most natural to you.

    If you don't already, I would suggest stretching before and after runs, especially in this cold weather. As I live in high heels (apart from when running of course!) I have really tight calves and need to stretch them out before the warm up, between the warm up and runs and after the run too in order for them to not ache or feel sore. I would also really recommend a gait analysis. It really does make the world of difference to have shoes which support the way your run and can clear up all sorts of niggles.

  • I also need to do heel dips etc for my calves. Since also using a foam roller after all runs and where possible before runs the calves are behaving nicely! 🤞🏼

  • Makes such a difference doesn't it! When I first started the programme I could stretch my calves just by leaning slightly forward. Now I have to push right deep into a wall to feel a stretch. Shows how much my calves have changed and how much difference stretching has made!

  • There is other dubious advice in the podcasts too, in my opinion. Trying to match your breathing to a stride pattern was multitasking beyond my feeble brain's abilities. So after struggling briefly, I went back to what comes naturally. Just the other day, when trying to address my form in all respects, as I return from injury, I realised that my pattern of breathing pretty closely matches what was recommended, but I believe it is unnecessary to worry about that at the earliest stages of running and constantly causes people anxiety on this forum.

  • I agree about the breathing...I am just a total beginner but just go with what comes naturally and the find after a bit it all does seem to have some rhythm to it...that's when I'm not gasping for breath lol

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