Pains in the legs

I've just completed run 2 in week 4, running for 4 minutes, walking for 1 minute x 4. I struggle every week due to painful thigh muscles which I think is just because I haven't used these muscles very much for a long long time. We finished with a 5 minute run which I couldn't complete due to the pain. I probably stopped around the 4 minute point. How long will it take before I can run for 5 minutes without pain? I'm sure there's no definitive answer but it is starting to hold me back. I'm 57, about 5ft 2 and I weigh 10 stone. A fair amount of weight on a small frame. Would be interested to hear whether others have had these problems and how best to deal with it.

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14 Replies

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  • You are right that there is no definitive answer but it will get better as you gain strength.

    In the meantime you could consider strengthening exercises on non-running days. Squats, in particular, are a fantastic exercise for adding strength to the thighs/quads as well as your lower back.

  • Thanks Dunder. I'll try the squats.

  • It's correct that there is no definite timing but as you do more so the muscles will strengthen.

    The brilliant thing is that you are out there and running can only improve your fitness - and general wellbeing. Getting to week 4 = a big pat on the back! Well done

    I did a couple of the weeks more than once because i didn't feel ready to move on but last weekend ran a 5k for the stroke Association so keep it up. You'll get there xx. And it's a marvellous feeling!

  • Thanks New Runner. That's encouraging. I think some 3 minute intervals would be good to do again, to consolidate! Well done for your 5k run last weekend. You should be glowing with pride.

  • Maybe reduce the running walking ratio? Run for 2 minutes, walk for 2 minutes? And if you are still in pain maybe not run at all, and instead do speed walking? Then try running again short distances in a few weeks to see if the pain has gone away? Just suggestions but the pain you are suffering is not normal.

  • How painful is the pain? How long does it take to go away? There will be some muscle stiffness - as you say, you are using muscles that aren't used to it. They will settle down and gradually get used to it, but probably only when you stop asking them to do more than before - and that won't be for a while. In the meantime, do you roller your muscles once you have finished your run? Invest in a foam roller and look up various roller exercises for the specific muscles that ache (it will cause you more pain short term, but make you feel better afterwards!). Failing that, do some stretches post run again, to just ease those muscles out (Kinetic revolution is a great resource to find free targetted exercises for stuff like this). Otherwise, as others have said, strength work on non run days will help.

    Listen to your body - but don't let the gremlins fool you into believing you can't do this. You can. The fact you are 4 weeks in proves it. Keep going, the program is never going to be easy, but you will get there! :)

  • The pain starts quite early on in the session. I have been putting up with it as much as possible but it was bad enough to stop me from completing a 5 minute run. It is acute when running, and starts to subside once I've stopped. However I can still feel some residual pain the next day. At first I had shin splints and was so pleased when that stopped even though the pain migrated to my thighs. I felt the thigh pain was a good sign, that I was exercising the right muscles. However it is now limiting my progress. Thanks for the ideas. Another runner in my group mentioned the roller and I will get hold of one. I'm not going to give up having come this far and having all this encouragement is just great.

  • It's only week 4. If you are new to exercise the expect your legs etc to feel it. If you have your rest days, go steady, you can do it. I had knee and ankle pain, and feelings in my legs I described as electric legs, which bothered me for a bit. I kept going! You might need more than a day between runs. Be slow! 😀

    I walked a dog regularly, and set my stall out to walk as much as I could to help with my health and weight loss. I borrowed a dog! I am still doing that. Today in fact 🙂 I walk rather than drive, as much as poss.

    The slow walk jog sessions are short but will build leg strength as you progress through the weeks

    Be sure to do the full warm up and cool down 🙂🏃‍♀️

  • Thanks. I love walking too but don't feel right without a dog. Borrowing one is a good idea. I used to do some fast walking and short running sessions with my dog. She loved it and I was much fitter then than I am now. The good weather will get me out in the countryside more as we get further into the Spring.

  • Hi,

    I am on week 4 too but, I am using the 5K runner app and the intervals are bit different which may suit you better. For me week 4 day 2 is goes as follows: run for 3 walk for 2, then run for 5 walk for 3 ( do that twice). Then run for 3 walk for 2. You just get more time to recouperate in between. I have found the 5K runner app increases the running more gradually than what it does on the NHS program. That's just my opinion. Good luck.

  • I am using this app too, and i have found it seems to increase a lot more gradually, luckily for me!

  • Thanks Twiglet and Scott. I run with a group so it's difficult for me to vary the length of the intervals. However I could try that when I do my once a week practice sessions on the treadmill.

  • You might want to get some new running shoes - I had terrible knee pain after my first 2 weeks and had to stop running for a month before starting up again. I bought some new shoes and had a gait analysis done and never looked back. It's worth doing. Btw I'm 5'3 and 12 St 8 so carrying a lot of extra weight.

  • Thanks Joolez. I was hoping to reward my first mile with some new kit but I might have to do it the other way round!

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