Couch to 5K
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Should I soldier on?

Background: injury since July 15th Race for Life. Muscular, right leg, like the edge of the calf near the shin down to ankle.

So, in August I had a few mini breaks from running; four days here, six days there. Each time I returned to running there was still tightness/twinges/not right at all. I took the running back to 4k and tried to slowly build it up again, but things just got worse and running was very difficult(hence last blog) So about three weeks ago I plucked up the courage to have a deep tissue massage. (agony, sheer agony) I had a few days rest after this and started slowly again 20 minute to 30 minutes to 40 minutes.

Now, this is going relatively ok, BUT the leg is still not right, it is sore and hurting for the first 15 minutes or so of any run. I have to take ibuprofen after the run, ice , stretch etc. And I can feel the problem when I walk too, and it's sore to touch i.e. the injury hasn't yet 'mended'.

This week I transferred my half marathon race pack to someone else. I can't tell you how sad that has made me ( although pleased that someone ese can run it instead of course) I know there'll be other half marathons...but it just feels like another nail in the coffin.

So...I don't know whether to soldier on and ignore it, because it isn't REALLY painful or anything, just not healed, so I won't be able to do any long runs.... or have a complete break (a month or something) so that I can run injury free.

I have to add that when I don't run I seem to go into a black hole. I try not to, I try to be strong: it's just running for goodness sake, but for me it seems to keep me well-balanced. I noticed when I had the mini breaks from running that my main concern was not physical but mental, I sort of feel numb on the inside, like I'm not the person who appears confident/bubbly/ smiley at all: that person is someone else.

I tried other things like the cross trainer and swimming, but although this kept me physically good, it didn't help my mind (in fact swimming drives me crazy!)

Am I slightly mad? Probably, and definitely confused :O

20 Replies

I would take time off & let it heal completely,otherwise you could end up doing some permanent damage & not be able to run again ever


Have you thought about going to a sports therapist? from what I've read they can be very good at identifying the underlying problem rather than just treating the symptoms especially if you find one that specialises in running injuries. Its also worth checking out universities nearby that do sports degrees if they have clinics where final year students will treat you (under supervision).

Other than that I really empathise with you - and you are definitely not mad! - I havent found anything that gives me the same mental kick that running does, so dont know what to suggest. I do hope your leg gets better especially as you've been so inspirational on this site. So a big thank you for inspiring me & others, & good luck in getting your leg sorted.


Thanks for your reply Jenniej. I've just read up on shin splints (I don't know why but I thought that this was a bone thing, apparently it can also be muscular) and it's definitely what I've got. Complete rest then. A sports therapist could probably confirm this, so this is a good idea of yours.


hey sorry to hear you are still not right, i would be fed up will get back on with it but in the meantime its hard to know wh

at to do for best

have you had a proper diagnosis about the problem? a sports therapist is good idea, but maybe your GP might be helpful too. or physio - not sure but I think you can self refer to physio


I went to a recommended osteopaths and had a sports injury massage: but I was in such pain during it I didn't even ask her what the problem actually was, so I came away without a 'diagnosis' but feeling very nauseous. In retrospect she should have told me anyway.


TJ I'm so sorry to hear you weren't able to do your HM but sounds like a sensible decision in the end. I don't think its a good idea to solider on as you could end up seriously injuring yourself. You should get it checked out by a doctor or sports therapist and get a proper diagnosis. I know its frustrating but better to get it sorted and have a short break than not and risk not being able to run at all.


Hi TJ, Here is Italy we have doctors who are actually specialised in sports' injuries - they are called "sports doctors" - I suggest you try seeing if there's something similar in the UK. There must be. Their job is to help footballers back to playing after leg (and arm!) injuries. They are more than osteopaths as there is a university specialization for MDs precisely in this area.

TJ, Soldiering on is not an option, you need to heal --- I know how you feel. But get it sorted and then you can get back to running. I believa a proper specialist will have the right exercises to get you back on track. Hugs from delia -- btw who is still in plaster!


OK TJ you've had all the good advice you need so I just want to say I'm really sorry your still having problems. I hope you get it sorted soon but take that rest time and make sure its better because it makes sense to take 3-4 weeks off now than have to give up running for good because you ignored the pain. Its what you yourself would advise I'm sure. It doesn't mean no running no blogging!! Why not right a blog every few days of your experiences for the newbies I know you have a book's worth stored in your memory and on previous older blogs. Take care and don't be a stranger while your healing :)


Thanks everyone. You're all right of course! And writing it all down has made me realise that I really do need to rest for longer, not just try to plough on; not sure what I was thinking of actually. I promise I will pack all my running gear away for four weeks at least, until it is completely healed.

Now what can I do with all those spare hours which is pain free and good for the mind? Answers on a postcard please :)


Sorry to hear you are still injured. I can see from above you are going to do the sensible thing and rest up until cured. Is it worth going to docs and getting referred to a physio so you can find out what the underlying issue is?

What to do with the spare time - start you Christmas shopping???? Now that's a scary thought!


I thought of that too! Scary!!! but lots of thought needed, this will keep my mind busy; my nine year old girl is easy but what the hell do you buy three teenage boys??!


Hey TJ sorry this injury is making you feel so down.

I waited 4 weeks for my ankle to heal before I started again and was taking ibruprofen 3 times a day for that month too.

When i started back I went to week one of the podcasts to help me build up again, so that I did not push myself too much. Now back to 34 minutes running after 3 weeks of podcast use, the ankle is not perfect yet, and I am much slower now, but being out there is just great.

I did do lots of walking whilst waiting for the ankle to mend.

Hope you can bare the boredom of not running, best wishes



Burstcouch it is really encouraging to read your reply. I'm so glad you haven't been put off running and that you're still out there after such an awful anke injury. There's hope then.


Rest it up and get it sorted good and proper once and for all I agree.

At least you have done the thinking about whether or not you want to run at all and the answer seems to be a resounding yes so a few weeks now opens up a few years later and "soldiering on" will only get you down.

Shin splints is muscular though yes but also completely sortable which is the good news. It is I think not something which sorts itself out passively (by resting) as it is weakness so rest/ice etc til the pain is gone then start strengthening those darned muscles! If you don't then all you have done is got rid of the pain (not that that isn't a good thing :-) and if the muscles are not any stronger than before then.......... :-(

I find I get them as I step up distances every time and need to go back around my routines so it might not be as bad as it feels right now and it is entirely feasible you could do some light runs, if you can resisit the temptation to run on, along the way.

Some good "mending experience blogs" coming up now I feel 8-)

Best wishes, you'll be back before you know it!


Great, positive and wise words my friend! You're quite good at this running/volunteering lark :D


always happy to share war stories! I can bore you all with my sore foot O.O


Rest up but don't give up. As if you would, really. If it helps, your blog was one of those which encouraged me to keep going when I started earlier this year. So perhaps this is repaying the favour! Soldier on, but a bit later and don't beat yourself up over it.


Thank you so much Oldned. What kind words! It really does help. I am a 'keep calm and carry on' kind of girl so I will soldier on....after a sensible break :)


hi TJ. just lurking as not been on here for a while. so sorry to hear that you have an injury that has stopped your running. just after finishing c25k I overdid things & had to take a month off because of a sore knee so I can understand your frustration.

have you tried the new c25k+ strength podcasts? perhaps they can keep you occupied while you recover? or there is always knitting :)

also, did you try strapping up your shin? when my knee was bad I wore one of those stretchy bandage things & it really helped. & when I moved outside I had a bit of shin pain so would wear bandage thing on the bottom of my leg which helped until I got properly fitted trainers.

anyways, good luck. hope to hear soon that you are on the road to recovery. shelley x


So sorry to hear that your injury hasn't healed TJ! I know what you mean about feeling down when you can't run, like you are disconnected. I've started yoga which doesn't fill the gap but certainly helps with relaxation and staying in the moment.


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