Knee Pain for Beginners: Hi everyone! I am... - Couch to 5K

Couch to 5K

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Knee Pain for Beginners


Hi everyone! I am totally new to trying to improve myself by running, and I do mean TOTALLY NEW. I am walking one minute on the treadmill, and then running slowly until I cannot go anymore, and then walking until I can run again. The problem is that my knees are screaming at me. I wear really good shoes, with inserts that previously helped me battle through a 3 year case of Plantar Fasciitis that kicked me almost to cripple status back from power walking 4 miles a day three years ago. (It totally sucked!!!) I am really motivated, and LOVE how good I feel so far working towards a higher fitness level!...Except for this knee pain! So my question is...Is knee pain when you first start to push yourself normal if you are overweight and starting a walk run program? Is it OK to continue without the risk of debilitating myself? I have been using a Pentrex, and ordered some patella braces a few days ago, but It is just SOOOO frustrating!!! It seems that every time I start to accomplish small steps towards my goals, major pain in some way or another rears it's ugly head. I am scared to death of a repeat of the debilitating pain that the Plantar Faciitis caused with my feet. (So far my feet are very happy with running.) So please give me any suggestions you can. Also, I have had a few people suggest different fitness applications, but would really like very very much to stick with building up to running as it is dropping the weigh off of me like nothing I have every done! :)

7 Replies

Firstly welcome.. and secondly, please check out the information links in this post...

Then..simply start this programme, C25K, which this forum follows... and you will find that the slow, steady and structured build up to running will be successful!

Slow, gentle progress.. not running until you "cannot run anymore"... this is a journey of enjoyment and not endurance.. and it works!

Link this with a sensible eating regime... check out our sister site too...which for many folk on really well when used in conjunction with C25K...

Twinges, aches and pains with any new exercise are to be expected.. real pain is not... so listening to your body is essential as are your rest days. The way that you are currently running, probably, contribute to repeated painful interludes.

Stamina, core-strength and other exercise on rest days is very useful too.

Begin this programme, when you have checked out the information on the linked post... and then keep posting your progress for excellent advice and support.

Looking forward to seeing your first run report :)


I would recommend talking to your GP.

I had agonising Knee Pain when I first started. I'm not particularly overweight so I don't think it's always the cause of Knee Pain. I think it's just because you are using bits of you that aren't used to being used!

I had to go to the GP as it was so painful, could barely walk upstairs. He recommended 2 weeks off running, but still walking, and ibuprofen 3 times a day for 2 weeks. By the time I had done that they had calmed down to an occasional slight pain.

I then went and had a gait analysis and got some good running shoes.

Then I started back but really, really slowly. Instead of running for 60 secs I did about 45. And I only did about 4 repetitions instead of 8. I then built up from there. It took a couple of weeks before I actually completed W1R1 properly but it worked for my knees. They have been no problem ever since, and I'm up to running for 25 mins now.

Hope some of that might help. Just don't give up!


Hi Melissa - firstly backing up what OldFloss says - go with the programme it works. I started out in late August I was way overweight and have a sedentary job. I was finding before running that getting up from my desk at the end of the day my knees were aching due to inactivity. When I started the program I had problems with my knees probably for the first 4-5 weeks. I bought some knee sleeves to give some extra support which mentally helped but not convinced that physically they did. Whilst I still get the odd ache i am pleased to say that the knee problems seem to have dried up. I think the new to running impact and new movements for the knees were the cause but the slow pace and rest days got me through. Good luck with the journey it’s tough physically and mentally but with it.


Welcome, Melissa!

I had bad knee issue when l started which was linked with the opposite of yours - bad shoes, hard runs, speeding. Knee can cause issues regardless of your body weight. I'm a slim guy who dif other exercises before running and it made no difference. In my case GP could do nothing so l visited a physio and an osteopath who sorted it out.

Remember, aches are to be expected in the beginning but pain is the signal that things at home ain't right. Do not run through strong pain, seek proper medical advice, find out the core of the problem and work on it, no other way.

Best of luck!


Were the shoes you're wearing the result of gait analysis at a specialist running shop? If not, then they could be contributing to the knee pain, no matter how good they are otherwise.


Hi Melissa, follow the C25K plan and you will be able to run for thirty minutes in 9 weeks. Your first week is as follows:

Begin with a brisk 5-minute warm-up walk, then you will alternate 60 seconds of running, with 90 seconds of walking, for a total of 20 minutes.

You do this three times a week, with at least one rest day between each run. This will get you running in no time, and all injury free.


Reading between the lines, if a lot of your issues are significantly aggravated by weight. Tackling that issue may help you solve the pain issues in the long term rather than trying to use running in pain to combat the weight issue.

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