Couch to 5K

My first running injury!

Hi all,

As a total amateur runner I've never had to deal with a sports injury before, so when I finished W8R1 limping I was unsure what to do next.

Ever since I started back in October I've had a pain in one of my calf muscles (probably injured it from the get-go, by running to fast for those first 60-second runs that I thought were sprints... silly me!) but after the 28-minute run (first attempt, in the cold, bam!) it's definitely got a lot worse.

Some questions: how do I treat this injury, short of going to a physio? Do I rest or run through it? If I rest, how long for? And do I then prick up from W8R2 or go back a bit?

All help gratefully received!

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Rest Ice Compression and Elevation.

Invest in a foam roller and stretch well after running and on your rest days too. Extend your warm-up walk and maybe include some dynamic stretching for this too.

Don't run on pain. No injury ever imporved through running on it, but pretty much all will get worse.

Having to take a few days rest is irritating, but having an enforced few months off running, when you could have prevented it, is even worse.

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No such thing as run through it. If it's not recovering between runs take an extra rest day and/or slow down until it gets better. If it gets worse it needs more rest. Muscle injuries don't recover by working the muscle harder. Doesn't matter if you go back a week or two. It's more of a nine stage programme than a rigid nine week one.

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All the above and what are your shoes like?

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Well, that might be the problem! Cheap old trainers I used to do the decorating in!

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If you want to run then you need running shoes and for your first pair it is highly advisable to have a gait analysis done at a specialist running shop, to find out if you have a running gait that requires support.

It is the best investment you can make in your health and fitness.

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Many thanks. I will certainly take that advice. Such a shame that I hit this snag at this stage as I did 5.2K on W8R1 and was looking forward to building on that, but it looks like I'll be having Christmas off now!

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For your consolation, l got injured (well, one of the more spectacular injuries) during my graduation run. Poor shoes and no gait analysis as a result of a money saving exercise resulted in 3 months off running, difficulty when walking and even when resting. Then l had to repeat the whole program.

When my stupidity hit the fan l spent more on a physio than l subsequently forked out on great shoes that I purchased from a sports lab where l got my gait analysis done. On the very stuff that could've prevented the whole mess.

Free GP treatment? Forget about that, mate. For that type of injury you're looking at premium physio/osteopath time.

Listen to your body and never, ever speed up! What for? Something to prove? A pro? We are amateurs doing this for fun and health.

Speed & inadequate gear equal injury, misery and cost.

You've heard it from experienced hands. ;)

All the best of luck!

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