Couch to 5K

Unhappy runner!

Wk 1 went fine .... towards the end suffering from shin splints. Rested for a week, bought myself some new trainers, and started wk 2 run 1 yesterday. Only managed to do 1 1/2 runs and had to walk the rest of the way - the pain was that bad. I'm beginning to feel like a complete failure. I bought myself an ice pack and some ibuprofen gel ..... Has anyone else had this amount of problems when starting out ... really doesn't fill me with any sort of confidence BUT I will not give up!

7 Replies

Can't speak for the problems with shin splints as I'm fortunate enough to have never had it but loads of us have suffered some form of discomfort somewhere in their bodies when they start running.

So, firstly, have you had a gait analysis done and secondly are your running shoes suitable? If not then it's well worth sorting that out. A good pair of running shoes makes all the difference and there are many people on here who will say the same thing.

If you're finding the pain that bad, have you considered seeing your GP and getting some adequate pain relief and some physio? I'm sure a physio will be able to advise you better than anyone about how to deal with it.

Also, do you stretch before and after your run? I know some people say not to stretch and it's a bit of a controversial thing at the moment but it seems to be the right thing for some people and not for others. I find running without stretching first to be very heavy on the muscles and hard going whereas a stretch beforehand seems to make a whole load of difference. Others will say different. I guess it's a personal thing.


Try compression socks really helped me get up to and past week 4 I am now on week 8 and no longer need them good luck nd keep going.


Are you running outdoors or on a treadmill? The only time I ever had shin pain was on a treadmill..... they say you should always raise it to 0.5 or 1 to avoid this. If you were on the roads, then definitely look at whether your trainers were properly fitted and suitable for your gait.


I don't think you need worry too much yet about being congenitally unsuited to running. Lower legs are notorious weak spots and because running uses them so much it finds you out at some point.

Mine flare up every time I step up my distance until my muscle strength catches up.

First thing to do is sort out the soreness, I find regular icing every couple of hours as your schedule allows and done gentle massage and stretches alongside side a bit of rest does the trick.

As the soreness eases off start some leg strengthening exercises as well as the running (during off days maybe?) but take it lightly until you are confident.

In ten weeks time having taken a week out to sort yourself And get the pain to subside will be completely forgotten. Pushing on regardless may just be sore enough to put you off continuing.

It may take a little while to stop having any discomfort though, mime takes a few weeks each time but I just get better at managing it.

Unfortunately no magic bullets I think but well worth the work. Each time it subsides (just this week as it happens) the feeling is wonderful!


I also run in compression socks - thanks Mark!

I look even dorkier but they are comfy :-D


I am really overweight and have had both shin and calf pain to a level I had never anticipated. I am only on W2R3 tomorrow so still trying to figure it out for myself, but this is what I have found.

My days are completely inconsistent...some days are not as desperately hard as others but I am improving.

I have started doing stretching excercises every day.. the one that seems to help the most for the calves is standing with toes on a stair and alternately allowing the heels to drop and then raising up on the toes. The aim is the lengthen the calf muscles. For the shins I write the alphabet with my toes a few times at regular intervals through the day - if you do this with your legs in the air you will see just how much it activates all of the muscles, although I would suggest not having your legs in the air in the office! I also make sure to have a hot bath and massage my legs in the water the night before my next run.

On the run days I stretch before and then after the run, I rub some ice packs over my shins as well

It may just be luck, and I am still really trying to figure it out for myself, but my last run was much less painful for having done this, so it may work for you too :)

Good luck... we can do this!


Are you sure its shin splints and not simply shin pain? There is a lot of muscle attached to your shin bone and this can ache every bit as much (if not more) than the rest of the muscles in your legs - shin splints are quite specific and are horrendous. Gillybeans64's suggestions are great - you need to stretch out your shins and exercise the muscle there in the same way that you'll stretch and exercise your quads/hams etc. I do hope you can get through this, its so disheartening when you have that kind of pain. There are ways of addressing it though :-)


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