Painful knees after Week 1. Is it the tarmac? - Couch to 5K

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Painful knees after Week 1. Is it the tarmac?



I'm 52 and hadn't run/jogged since school in the early '80s! I finally worked up the courage to try C25k on May 4th. On the first run I thought I was going to die and did quite a bit of stealing (lengthening walk times and reducing run time!), by the second and third I was incredibly proud of myself and looking forward to starting Week 2. But the day after day 3 both my knees got incredibly painful. I'm guessing it's because I was running on tarmac?

So I'm now half way through what would have been my Week 3 and I keep applying ice 3 times a day. I hope I can start again soon.

I was so enjoying the process that I feel quite disappointed!

7 Replies

Welcome to the forums and great job getting started... it seems the fitness rose nicely with those runs. Obviously, I’m sorry to read that you’re currently hurt. You’ve made the right call by resting... if it persists without provocation for much longer you will need to get it checked out.

The running surface can contribute to pains as the impact varies, but it could also be down to your shoes, warm up (has to be a brisk heart raising walk) running form (land your feet flat and under the body, avoid heel first) pace (slow right down, brisk walk and slow run can be the same pace, the slowest run may even be slower) and also your muscles. I suffered with my knees from 16 to 46, with daily pains... then I was pointed in the direction of knee strengthening exercises (in the guide linked below) and I’ve now been pain free for almost two years. If we manage and reduce the impacts, running will strengthen your knees. Usually I’d say to try running on grass, but right now grass is probably as solid as tarmac... if you have some trails near you they could be a good place to restart.

Here’s the guide to the plan which covers a lot of what I’ve said and will answer many more questions.

Hope you’re pain free and back out there soon... enjoy your journey once it resumes.

Stef5 in reply to UnfitNoMore

Thank you for the advice and tips!

I hope to start again as soon as I'm mended!


Could just be because your body isn’t used to it, maybe invest in some knee braces, it’s what I did, pretty affordable on eBay

Stef5 in reply to Dtay1978

I'll have a look!



the same thing happened to me on Saturday, I did dynamic stretches & 5 minute warm up walk but as soon as I started running I knew there was something wrong. Ive been running for 3 years now & never had this problem before. Im finding it very frustrating. hopefully we will both get sorted soon & be out there running again


It’s normal at this stage and doesn’t last long. I took plenty of ibuprofen. It goes in a week or so.

Stef5 in reply to Tasha99

I did without the ibuprofen so l guess it'll take longer! I'm hoping two weeks will be enough...

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