W2 - a LOT of calf pain - advice pleeease! - Couch to 5K

Couch to 5K
86,160 members117,935 posts

W2 - a LOT of calf pain - advice pleeease!

Hi everyone,

I did W1 without any problems (obviously it was difficult but I did it without having to stop or anything) and my muscles everywhere hurt but slowly got better as normal. And I did this week landing on the ball of my foot cos that's what felt most natural and hurt least. So when I got to W2 and the lady said land on your heel I started to do this (and I don't know if this is the reason why) but W2R1 really made my calves hurt, especially the inner calf muscles which I find hard to stretch. I thought maybe it was the way I was landing and my calves would just have to be trained in a different way. The day after they hurt so much when walking. W2R2 was even more painful but I didn't have to stop and I kept at it through the pain, the day after hurt even more. But I've just done W2R3 and it was agony. It's not getting any better, but worse. I had to stop between every run to try and stretch my calves and had to walk for almost 2 of the runs cos of the pain. I feel so defeated and frustrated now I don't know what to do. This calf pain is the only thing holding me back, I don't feel too out of puff to carry on, my other muscles aren't too bad and mentally I know I could. I have jogging trainers, I stretch before and after (and now during) and I land on the heel (which now after reading this some people are saying is a bad idea?). I'm dreading the next run cos of the pain but I don't want to stop because I don't want to get out of the habit.

If I carry on will it get better? Or do I need to change something?

Sorry for the very long-winded question.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks :)

9 Replies

I used to get a lot of pain in my achiles and calf until I went to a sports shop, humiliated myself by running on a treadmill in the shop (didnt know i would be doing this os didnt have an appropriate bra on!) apparently people in the know call it having your gait measured. anyway, it really helped, i still get pains in my calves when im running but all this must be a shock to my body after years of relative inactivity, and the pain is no where near as bad as it was.

I know you say you have running trainers but did you get your gait emasured when you got them? apparently different kinds of trainers suit different people depending on how you run...

The other thing i had to do as the programme progressed was to have 2 rest days in between runs rather than 1, i just wasnt recovering enough after 1, ive found it much better that way.

Hope this helps!


Don't heel strike! It's the worst piece of advice on the podcasts.

Just run in the way that is comfortable for you and what comes naturally. Once you are running properly you can then work on form, but for now just run the way that feels best to you.

1 like

See I could swear the podcast says to land on mid foot! Not on the heel! Maybe you have just misunderstood? X


completely agree about the heel strike. During week 2 I forced myself to run this way as Laura told me too and I had to take 2 weeks off as I got terrible pains in my knees and shins. I'm now on Wk4 R2 and, touch wood, no recurrance of the problems as Im landing on the side of my foot as I would do 'naturally'.


yes, all of the above. Also, don't run while you are in pain. Don't force your gait to heel strike if it's not natural for you. Check out how you walk and run like that. Also try softer ground (park after rain, canal towpath, treadmill) so that impact is reduced. Hope you feel better soon and that you can get back to running :)


Somewhat absurdly, I found the complete opposite with the heel strike thing. I also had terrible calf pain during week 2, but when I attempted the heel strike thing like Laura said, it actually lessened and was gone by week 3. However, I don't think it matters how your foot strikes the ground, with me I think it was more about my body adjusting to exercising frequently. I would say keep at it and see if it's gone by mid week 3, but if it hasn't gone by then go and see your doctor. They'll know what it is for sure :)


agree with the above I had terrible calf pain in week 2 and limped home a couple of times, could hardly walk for the rest of the day. Got my gait analysed (very emabreesing as I could only just about manage 60 seconds on the treadmill without being out of breath). But it was worth it, new trainers and specially moulded inserts - no more calf pain. Also dont heel strike - I land on ball of foot much more natural


I've done a little bit of reading about this and although I am on no way an expert I'd say the heel strike thing on the podcasts is truly controversial. If you run barefoot you can't land on your heel or you will just wreck your knees and ankles. It's only even possible with cushioned trainers. If you naturally land on your mid foot it is probably best to continue with this and many would say it's best. Sprinters land on their heels to get the longest stride but if you look at the distance runners where stamina is more important most of them land mid foot. Usain Bolt only runs for 10 secs! We're aiming to be out there a bit longer than that. ;-)


You may also like...