Post Grad Aches & Pains: Hello fellow runners... - Couch to 5K

Couch to 5K

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Post Grad Aches & Pains

Kesky profile image
17 Replies

Hello fellow runners!

Quick question to all re general running aches and pains - I am a fairly newly qualified couch to 5K graduate (and before you ask; I’ve had gait analysis, have comfy trainers, stretch before and after runs, honestly don’t run fast 5K takes me 45 mins) -But my question is does anyone else ache more now they’re running? I’m not talking nasty pain but l often get achy and weak feeling ankles, a bit of a calf niggle, and sore knees - but knee strengthening exercises are a revelation with this and really helping. I absolutely love running but these constant niggles make me feel older and not fitter! Is this my body telling running is not for me - or is this just my running legs strengthening and do the aches just go once youve been running longer?

Thanks 😬

17 Replies
icklegui profile image

Hmmmmm. A few questions to see what else there might be:

Are you doing dynamic stretching before runs? Static stretches are probably not good on cold muscles.

Are you taking a rest day? Could you try more rest days?

Are you running on new, different surfaces to before?

You say knee strengthening exercises are helping - good, keep doing them! - are you doing any other exercise to support your running?

... Do you think there's something else that you should get checked out?

I started aching more, a bit, but I think it was because I was getting lazy with my post-run stretches.

Hope you can work it out!

owmeknees profile image

I’m glad you asked this because I’m experiencing similar things. Graduated 2 weeks ago and whilst I’d had trouble with my knees earlier on in the program I’d got things under control through doing the knee strengthening exercises. However, since graduation I’ve experienced lower back ache the day after a run and have ongoing niggles in my left thigh and calf. I’ve noticed I’m actually limping and feeling quite uncomfortable sometimes on my rest days. Running in itself doesn’t seem to hurt at all and my running doesn’t seem compromised but I’m worried I’m doing some long term damage and will end up on the IC. The niggles are really starting to niggle on the rest days - I’m taking two at a time at the moment. Should I rest up until the niggles have gone? I’d be grateful for any advice/suggestions too. 😊

Pippayoungart profile image
PippayoungartGraduate in reply to owmeknees

I did get a few niggly aches and pains initially, but they don’t sound as uncomfortable as yours. Mine seemed to go after the rest day - if i were you i think i’d try taking two rest days after each run to see if that helps?

Kesky profile image
KeskyGraduate in reply to Pippayoungart

Thanks! Have started leaving 2 or 3 days between runs already l’m hoping it’ll help.


ArthurJG profile image

I’m not a graduate yet but was going to ask the same question in much the same way. Got new shoes in week 2 and been problem free since but now, in week 7, feeling calf muscles and knees. Would be grateful if someone pointed me towards the knee strengthening exercises that have been mentioned?

owmeknees profile image
owmeknees in reply to ArthurJG

Kamia profile image

Your aches and pains sound like mine. I’m on week W5. I’ve put them down to the longer run times and my legs not being strong enough yet.

Could this just be your problem? C25k is only 30 mins of running and I don’t think most people reach 5k from what I’ve read while doing it. You’re now doing 5k over 45 mins so further and longer running times than the app. Maybe they are just strengthening getting use to the new runs or maybe I’m not taking mine seriously enough 😬????

Hope it all sorts itself out for you.

Kesky profile image
KeskyGraduate in reply to Kamia

Thanks Kamia - bodies are mysterious!


Kesky profile image

Glad its not just me! I am the same as you! the actual running is going fine and l feel l could run for longer - perhaps thats the problem and lm doing too much too soon. But it’s almost like clockwork the foot feels better and the blonking hip starts talking. I am only 46 not overweight and have cycled for years so l guess l thought my legs were strong but it’s literally like l have niggles in places l didnt even know l had nerves.


Kesky profile image
KeskyGraduate in reply to Kesky

Apologies no such thing as a blonking hip.... blinking


owmeknees profile image
owmeknees in reply to Kesky

I think I am just going to persevere through the niggles a while longer. I’m already taking two rest days and this has helped, I guess as long as the niggles remain niggles we should press on, given that the actual running is ok. Maybe it is just a case of giving muscles time to strengthen and aches time to settle down. If things actually get painful then it would be time to stop and rest up for a while. Hopefully they won’t though! Good luck with the rest of your post grad journey! 👍

Kesky profile image
KeskyGraduate in reply to owmeknees

🤗 good luck owneknees l feel your pain.


Ripcurlrana71 profile image

Hi Kesky. Personally I ache less than before. My aching stopped after the first few weeks of C25k. I put this down to getting fitter and doing strengthing exercises on my rest days. This has helped me strengthen my core.

The only time I got my knee niggle back was when I ran 7k last week- my furthest distance to date. Again I think this was because I was pushing my body harder than it’s been used to. All ok again now.

I would definetly recommend stretching/core work/extra days rest. Hope that helps. 😊

Kesky profile image
KeskyGraduate in reply to Ripcurlrana71

Thanks Ripcurl - l think l’m pushing myself too much. Completed a Parkrun in 35 mins the week of graduating and had to take nearly a week off after! Now back to my happy pace but think l should stick to my usual 30 mins for a while. And yes core exercises would help. Good luck with your running too!


Ripcurlrana71 profile image
Ripcurlrana71 in reply to Kesky

Thank you. The consolidation time can be quite testing I found. Good luck with your runs too. 😊

Equi-geek profile image

I’ve seen others post about the 10% rule - only increasing your run time by 10% per week and it’s a good idea. But so is allowing the body to repair and recover. I’m not a physio but I did a bit of exercise physiology on my equine masters degree - so physios please correct me if I have this wrong....

Even though humans replenish glycogen in muscles in about 24 hours, building muscle comes from tiny tears that need to repair. There is a good blood supply so 48 hours should be OK for recovery from minor damage. Some parts of the body have lots of individual muscles that allow functionality if one is damaged. In other parts, one muscle tear can bring movement to a halt. Bones will still be remodelling themselves, even after 48 hours and laying down more ‘impact protection’. Micro-cracks can appear if there is too much repetitive load too soon and soreness and heat follow, but it should resolve after a few more days of rest. Tendons (connecting muscle to bone) will start to take up the strain when the muscle fatigues, so a tendon injury in a human can be gotten around with careful rehab and attention to fatigue in future. Ligaments, (bone-to-bone stabilising structures) can again be put under unnecessary strain when muscle fatigue in the area sets in, or through poor movement and conformation. Ligaments dont have any muscle attached, don’t have many nerve endings, and these can just tear without much warning. They do repair, but the collagen structure isn’t as springy as the rest of the ligament so will always be prone to further tears where the scar tissue meets the healthy tissue. Tendons and ligaments don’t have much blood supply (which is why they are very pale) so repairs can take longer than broken bones. Cartilage and joint capsules don’t tend to repair, so pain caused by wear and tear will tend to create small compensatory movement and this can cause problems due to overuse elsewhere.

So it’s worth working with a physio and paying attention to muscle fatigue and pain anywhere that isn’t muscular. Lots of anatomy images on Google to help you understand where the pain might be coming from. The occasional reliance on tendons and ligaments during a one-off event might be ok, because then they will repair slowly under prolonged ‘normal’ use, but repeatedly pushing beyond the fatigue point could really be setting up for trouble. The app seems to help us build up fitness quickly and safely, so we can push a bit in those early days, unless we were completely sedentary, as the repetitive impact is minor in the grand scheme of things. But, left to our own devices beyond 5k, we may be aerobically fit and feel fresh, but the rest of our body might be taking a while to catch up! Hope that helps with deciding whether to rest or run.

Kesky profile image
KeskyGraduate in reply to Equi-geek

Wow - thats very helpful thanks for this.😃

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