Please help! Calf and shin pain while running :-( - Couch to 5K

Couch to 5K
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Please help! Calf and shin pain while running :-(


I am on week 2 run 3, managed. To quit smoking too so absolutely loving the couch to 5k plan. Since I started I have had calf and shin pain. I presumed it was down to my poor fitness but I have had to stick to week 2 runs for an extra 2 times as I keep having to stop due to severe pain. Have tried stretching before and after but it's just getting worse. Have bought new trainers and also support bandages but nothing seems to ease it. I have to stop about 60 seconds into each 90 second run as simply cannot carry on. My lungs have improved and can cope, just my lower legs letting me down. Any tips or advice please?

13 Replies

Welcome to the forum and well done on your progress.

This guide to the plan is essential reading

and includes advice on minimising impact, stretching after every run, hydration and strengthening exercises, all of which will help.

Note that pre run stretching needs to be dynamic while post run is static.

Enjoy your journey.

Thank you


Do not ignore pain, you will injure yourself. Stop running until you feel better. Check out running posture and stride, there are some great videos on YouTube. Check out Japanese slow running in particular. It saved many of us when we started out.

You need to keep your feet under your body and take small strides. Try not to land on your heels.

Best advice: slow down! Good luck.

Willvero in reply to Speedy60

Awesome, thank you


Hi Willvero

On my 1st attempt a year ago, I was also worried by sore ankle muscles within weeks. In W3, I lost an essential rest day going on a long unplanned walk with visitors. I gave up as the pain wasn't healing.

By July, shins healed, I was jogging again with very little soreness. In W8, I lost momentum with August's continual downpour.

I'm on my 3rd attempt and completed W5R1 today - no pain whatsoever, and I didn't expect any either.

So from my own experience, I can only suggest a sufficient break to heal thoroughly before restarting. There's no enjoyment running in pain.

I don't stretch but am resolute with the warm-up and cool-down walks. I don't actually run at all - I jog 'niko niko', Slow Jogging Intl style, to exercise and tone without strain.

Hope this is of some use.

Thank you for advice

Hi I had the leg problem..but it was because I wasn't drinking enough water. I also try to run slower I'm now on week 4 ..good luck :-) well done for stopping smoking 😁you got this

Willvero in reply to Sbuk

I will get guzzling!! Thank you

Sbuk in reply to Willvero



Willvero, I feel your pain literally. I too have posted and suffer with shin pain/cramps, just the left leg though.

The thought of attempting weeks 3/4/5 when in so much discomfort at the beginning can only make you think what’s the point.

But the guidance sent has all the info and tools to let you get on with this at your own pace whilst listening to your body.

Extra rest days, the post stretching as advised all helps. I’ve started doing extra on calf and shin stretching. That’s helping me. I’ve slowed it all down a touch and forcing myself to get the water down me.

Just completed W4 R1 and I didn’t cramp or get too much pain. W3 R3 was a struggle and just got through it. When comparing it’s quite a step up in week 4.

As others have said. Keep going, stay positive and you’ll find your way to the end.

Willvero in reply to Guru10

Thanks so much, the pain is horrible but we shall overcome!!

Hi I have had the same problem. I was given this exercise to do. Walk for 20 steps on your heels with your feet pointing outwardly then the same with your feet pointing inward#. Do this twice a day and hopefully you may start to feel less pain x

Willvero in reply to Giner

Awesome, gonna give that a go too, thank you

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