Couch to 5K
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Calf pain

So having finished the 9wk programme a couple of weeks ago, and managing 30 mins but not doing 5k in that time, I stepped up to running until I reach 5k.

My last 4 runs have been 5k but I have started getting bad calf pain. I have quite tight calves anyway but it has reached a point where they are cramping up so tight, like I have rocks in them, that I am having to stop running after only about 2k and try and walk it out a bit before I can go on.

This hadn't happened to me at all until now, although I was very unfit when I started - 12 weeks ago now.

Has anyone else experienced this, any advice to help?

I was trying to prepare for a parkrun but my times are actually getting worse as a result of having to keep slowing my running right down from the cramping.

8 Replies

Hi there.. go get your Graduate badge, graduate :)

Your calves.. hmm.. maybe slow down..? Try landing nore lightly and relax into your runs..

It is good, after graduation to consolidate the running, but really consolidating the 30 minutes running, not the 5K.( Many folk on here do not make that).

A mix of runs is good..shorter distances and longer. Have you done any of the C25K+ podcasts... they are so good for building up strength and stamina and distance eventually. many of have used and still use them. Maybe give them a go ? :)

1 like

Do you stretch after every​ run? These provide my post run regime. You could also do the calf stretch several times per day and maybe per run as well.


No, I am not very good at stretching out. I know I should. I normally do a rather cursory stretch or two then say I will do it properly when I get home but don't. I just wondered why it's suddenly become such a problem now.


Well look GG, you're over-doing it. It's natural to want to extend the distance that you run, but you're going about it the wrong way. Now that you can run for 30 minutes, do these three runs each week:

1) 30 minute run, normal pace

2) Longer run - try running for 5km, as slow as you like.

3) Recovery run - 2-3km.

And stretch! Get a stretching app for your mobile phone - this will guide you through a sequence of running cool-down stretches, tell you what to do and for how long. Bit like the C25K app, but for stretching. I used LoLo's 'Stretching' app from the iOS AppStore.


Also do some ancillary exercises to strengthen your leg muscles: calf raises, skipping, stair climbs, and yes, squats.


Der Squatmeister has returned!!!


Thanks for all the advice, I will try it and see how I get on. I especially liked the suggestion I was over-doing it. Till recently I was definitely under doing it.

But I do think I have been pushing myself to try and run further or faster each time and it's clearly not sustainable. So I will try mixing up my runs and give myself a bit of extra time to improve slowly.


Have you had proper running shoes fitted. I was having the same problem with just my right calf. A friend recommended I visited a running shop where they did a gait analysis and fitted trainers properly and it's been much better since.


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