Knee problems: Hi, I’ve made it to week 3 but... - Couch to 5K

Couch to 5K

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Knee problems


Hi, I’ve made it to week 3 but injured my knee on the program. It started a week ago and was so painful. I took a week off to recover. Picked up the program again today and got the same knee problem ☹️

Please help. I would like to continue the program but it seems as though I’m physically unable.

11 Replies

I’d suggest going to the ‘Strength & Flex’ section. Lots of good advice on there for people with knee issues. Good luck, hope you’re knee recovers so you can enjoy running again x

Justdoit4uGraduate in reply to Mands50

Thank you, I will have a look at this. I thought I would slow down to just walking and attempt to strengthen myself with squats and lunges. I was just so keen to continue with the program after always hating running.

Justdoit4uGraduate in reply to Mands50

Where do I find the strength and flex section?

Mands50Graduate in reply to Justdoit4u

If you go to the communities page (on bottom of Home Screen) and type in Strength and Flex - hopefully you’ll be able to access it x

Me too, my knees are an absolute disgrace. There’s a million different knee pains, and without knowing yours, or possessing any kind of medical training beyond putting on a plaster, here’s what helps me manage it and (try to) improve it.

1) Warm up surrounding muscles.

Cold/tight Quads, hammies, calves etc can stress your knee. YouTube is a good source of info for warm-ups/mobilisations etc.

2) Strengthening Exercises

Go in gentle though, I’ve found some of them (particularly squats and lunges) aggravate rather than improve. I actually ended up searching knee strengthening for old people (I’m 37) and that seemed to be a good entry level.

3) Running knee supports

Like neoprene knee socks or similar, they give your knees some compression and support whilst running.

4) Speed and Technique

Try and go nice and slow, and keep a nice short stride. Over extension is a killer. Keep upright posture, straight back, and maybe a slight lean forward. Your knee shouldn’t land out in front of your torso by any stretch.

5) Warm down stretches

As important as 1) and lean on YouTube again for post run warm downs. Same muscle groups as earlier are key, but if you are running off kilter due to unconsciously trying lot to load one knee, you will affect hips, back, ankles, so go seriously on everything.

Side note - do all of the above for both knees/legs. Balance is very important.

6) Anti-Inflammatory Cream

I apply a load of deep heat pre run and then volterol after everything has cooled down.

7) The most important one

Come on here after every run and moan like crazy. It certainly helps me!

Good luck!

Justdoit4uGraduate in reply to PaulS83

Wow. So many things to try. Thank you for all the detail.

I was applying ibulieve all week and then after I started the run again yesterday. It has helped me keep moving.

I also got knee support bandages to help me through that week and had hoped it would help me on the run yesterday, however, I still somehow over did it.

I slowed right down and worked on short strides so had really hoped I would be ok but I could feel slight aggravation and then as my day progressed my knee was getting more stiff and painful. I will have a look at if I am stepping out in front, instead of underneath, my body when I try again.

I had thought, I guess wrongly, that the warm up walk and cool down walk would be enough but it seems I must do additional stretches too.

I will try to incorporate all of these things, thank you.


My knee started playing up in week 3. I stopped the running, used an ice pack frequently and did the Strength and Flex programme for the full 5 weeks before starting c25k again. I also bought a knee support and I wear it if my knee twinges, but on the whole have been fine for the last 4 months.

Justdoit4uGraduate in reply to Rising60

Thank you. Wow, I hope I can get to 4 months of no knee problems too. I must keep going.

I have been using heat and am finding relief and it seems to be healing me better this time.

Thinking about it all I feel like I don’t know enough about running and perhaps I should have read up on it before starting the program. Because it says “couch” to 5k I thought it would be enough just to get straight into. I have been walking for about 1.5hrs a day and had thought that was a perfect place to be to start running but I never knew knees would be a problem at 35!


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, dealing with injury and strengthening exercises, all of which will help.

If your pain persists or recurs consult your GP or physio.

Enjoy your journey.


Really sorry you are having knee trouble. For me, I had to rest the knees completely, and not load them with squats or lunges until they were pain free. There's lots of strengthening you can do that doesn't involve a bent knee but gets the thigh muscles stronger. Look up the runners exs on the NHS website for example and leave out the bent knee ones til you're pain free. And certainly, seek health professional advice if the pain persists. Best of luck.


I just wanted to update how I’m doing. I had knee issues, took a week off, tried again, needed just the usual 1 day off and was back on it. I made sure I paid attention to how I was running and to try and distribute weight evenly over each leg and tried running lighter (not sure if that makes sense!). I applied ibulieve if required and believed that I’m not going to keep getting pain and my pain isn’t going to get worse. I am not doing any long term damage because I am resting when I need to to recover from an injury. Anyway, it worked. I haven’t had pain again. I am doing great. I’ve made it half way and I have just completed W5R2! 😬😬😬

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