Couch to 5K
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Shoulder and neck pain following switch to outside running


I've been running week 8 outside (parks and pavement) having completed the first 7 weeks on a treadmill at the gym. After w8r2 I started to get a sore shoulder with pain starting in the lower right neck, passing down into the right shoulder blade with some numbness in my right arm. The pain has lasted well over 24 hours since the run.

I'm assuming that my shoulders aren't relaxed enough when running and was wondering if anyone else has had the same experience or any tips for getting and keeping the shoulders relaxed. I can't imagine that my running style differs vastly as to whether I'm indoors or out. I'm wondering if it is because I would usually do 10 minutes on a cross-trainer at the gym before hitting the treadmill so my arms/shoulders could be considered warmed up I suppose. The only other difference is I wear a bottle belt to run outside whereas I was running 'free' at the gym.

All thoughts very welcome :-)

3 Replies

It could just be jarring leading to a nerve being pinched. I find pavements are harder to run on, in my case than grass, and treadmills are softer still. Maybe you could find a park for alternate runs. Warming up your upper body can't hurt either, although stretching can be counterproductive before you run (but never afterwards)

The other thing to be aware of is that running strengthens the tummy muscles so you could be straightening up and putting your neck into a less familiar position in which case stretches will help the transition.


Thanks Sarah. I think I might try some arm circles and stretches before tomorrow's session to see if that makes a difference. Fingers crossed it will do the trick. It's also just occurred to me that I'm looking up more when I'm outside (more interesting and there's no stats screen to look down at) so you could be right that I'm now putting my neck into a less familiar position and it's just a matter of adjustment.


What made me think of posture is that I was the same - in the park I had to keep an eye out for dog poop, but on pavements I can look further ahead. As you loosen your shoulders you might find tightness shifting somewhere else, in my case what seized up next was the piriformis muscle. But everything is unkinked now. I didn't really believe running was a 'full body' exercise until I caught sight of my biceps last week.....


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