Couch to 5K

Aches & pains


I've just finished week 5, run 1 and am really enjoying it! But is it normal to be a bit achey the day after? I often feel it in my glutes or thighs, like I can tell I have worked out. Should I stretch more?

I have 2 kids under 3.5, so there's never much "rest", but I have been taking at least a day off between runs.

Just don't want to do myself a mischief! xx

7 Replies

It can be a bit achy.. and the small ones will keep you pretty busy too!

Warm up well... if you are running outside, put your stuff somewhere to be warm when you put it on...

Slow and steady is the way... hot shower and maybe massage after the run too. Some strength and flex exercises on your rest days, ( link on the NHS pages) might help too.. get the small ones stretching with you :)

Listen to your body, it will very quickly tell you what feels'normal' and what ain't right... :)

1 like

Yes, it's quite normal for the muscles in the legs to feel stiff and achy the following day, due to the force they're placed under, while they repeatedly contract and relax with each foot fall.

Also bear in mind that as the amount of time spent running increases each week, the muscles are continually adapting to the increased distance, while also growing in strength and their efficiency to process oxygen during exercise.

However, as their endurance and efficiency improves, the aching experienced does become less severe.

As suggested by Oldfloss, massage is certainly a good idea, as it encourages blood flow to the muscles, allowing for the removal of lactic acid. However, a trigger point massage stick would be worthwhile investment, for use both before and after each run to encourage loosening of the muscles.

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It could be that you're pace is a little too fast so you're exercising anaerobically rather than aerobically. The lactic acid buildup can cause delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS), so you feel achy, feeling this way is okay though, as long as you're aware that it's DOMS and not an injury!

Slowing down a little might help if it's inconveniencing you, and make sure you warm up and warm down :)


As garyc said, it sounds very much like DOMS, which, if the case, is pretty harmless. Make sure you keep moving, DOMS can be made much worse if you rest the muscles to the point of inactivity (with little ones I don't think you're in danger of this). Hitting the muscle group again, for light exercise is best. So, if they're aching and you're not experiencing a shooting pain or anything that feels 'off', then keep running on them, nice and slow. Keep your legs moving on your 'rest' days, perhaps a walk if you have the time, would help.


A bit achey is normal and fine. It might go away, or you might get used to it. Sharp pain is not ok, it leads to injuries.


The cold weather can make your muscle aches as well. I love running in warm weather because all my muscles feel loose and I can run so easily non stop. Please do take it easy. :)


Thanks everyone! I do feel better if I move about on my rest days.

Week 5 run 2 done ✅ today! The dreaded 20mins coming up at the weekend! Eeeeeek! Xx


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