What sort of pain is normal/usual for a total ... - Couch to 5K

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What sort of pain is normal/usual for a total beginner in their 50's?


Can someone explain the difference between 'bad' knee pain and knee pain you get just because you're a beginner. Or.... To put it differently: Is some knee pain 'allowed'/inevitable when starting jogging, like stomach muscle pain is usual when doing sit ups for the first time?

12 Replies

That's hard one, all pain has a meaning and in general the worse the pain the more you should heed it.

I would expect that you would get some knee pain after a run, indeed I still get twinges in my left knee after a long run, but it should fade away before your next run.

I had to take lots of time off for knee pain and when I did the pain was intense but not unbearable, and thing that I would look out for is a feeling of "grittiness" or "crunchiness" behind the knee.

I would advise checking that you have the right shoes and try some knee strengthening exercises. I've detailed my trouble with knees in a few posts, but this one has a link to some exercises:


psarapsychGraduate in reply to mattaitch

Hi Mattaitch :-) - thank you so much; you've put my mind at ease... No grittiness or crunching just a dull ache that does disappear before the next run. Before I started I bought some Asics running shoes which are very light. Can't afford to go to one of those specialist running shoe places but am working on thigh strengthening anyway because I live in Austria and if I want to carry on enjoying the down hill walk I need to keep my thighs and hammies fit!! So, as looking as what I'm experiencing is reasonably usual then I'll stop panicking :-)! Sooooo excited I'm doing this - I really can't quite believe it.... Sooooo w3r3 tomorrow here I come!


Mattaitch gave wonderful advice!! I experience pain at times too in my knee. I find icing after and running cold water on it in the shower to help (advice from here) I purchased a knee support this week because of the pain I was experiencing. I know personally, when I first started, I had aches and pains the first few weeks getting my body use to the running.


Hi Gdean :-) - wow this community is sooooo supportive. Thank you for your info. While it's a but distressing to have the pain (as I thought I'd have to stop before I got going) it's a relief to know others are going thru the same thing. Will get some running knee supports, sounds like a wise idea. Thanks again :-)

Difficult question to answer because knee pain for one person might be just aches from doing a run while for another person the same pain could be something really serious.

I'm in my 50s, overweight and hadn't exercised for many years before starting this course but I had no knee pain at all. Plenty of aches in my calves, thighs and shins but the knees were good.

Best advice is to try again and rest more if it becomes too bad.

psarapsychGraduate in reply to Chewy

Chewy, you sound like you're on an amazing 'trip' - I think it's wonderful that in spite of aches, pains and a bit of excess whatsit (!!) you're pushing through. By the way, we swear by a British brand of Arnica gel by SBC - it's really pure and tonight I rubbed it over thighs, shins, knees and hips and MIRACLE OF MIRACLES... all pain gone :-). SBC Arnica Gel was recommended to us by a Homeopathic Doctor Friend - we got it on the internet, were so impressed and now my osteo and rheumatoid parents swear by it - so there's a tip...

I think from an earlier post I saw, you are getting near to graduation - good luck running through Manhattan, rather you than me :-). I wonder if the different environment will affect you greatly???


There's a lot of pressure put on all your leg joints when running, hips, knees and ankles. Listen to your body (legs included) if its nothing serious it should settle down before your next run. If you are stretching after your run hold those stretches for a count of 30 each time, and as the runs get longer do them twice over. If you develop serious pain get it checked out and stop running until it has been checked. Also take that rest day from running, this does't mean you have to refrain from other exercise though, just don't run. Your body will get used to this new exercise in time and things should settle down, good luck.

psarapsychGraduate in reply to Oldgirl

Hey Oldgirl, thanks for that information, especially about the stretches - by the way, do you stretch beforehand?? Everything I read seems to suggest the brisk walk is enough...??? Will hold the stretches for 30 - thanks, only doing 15 at the mo.

A tip I gave to Chewy which may be of general interest: we swear by a British brand of Arnica gel by SBC - it's really pure and tonight I rubbed it over thighs, shins, knees and hips and MIRACLE OF MIRACLES... all pain gone :-). SBC Arnica Gel was recommended to us by a Homeopathic Doctor Friend - we got it on the internet, were so impressed and now my osteo and rheumatoid parents swear by it - so there's a tip...

Thanks so much for the response, really appreciated :-)

SBG356Graduate in reply to psarapsych

You shouldnt stretch your muscles when they are cold, only after warming up so you could do that after the 5 min walk and before the run and should definitely do them at the end for as long as practically possible; its so important.

Thanks for the tip on the Arnica.

Not run since Sunday, because of knee pain. Thought it was going to give way on Monday coming down the stairs!. However, with ice and some support is feeling much better today. Hoping to get out again at the weekend. Next run should be run 1 of week 8, but going to take it steady and see how much I can do. Basically, if in doubt, take an extra day out. Good luck with your runs and the joints!

psarapsychGraduate in reply to caro8642

Hi Caro :-), eek about the wobbly knees coming down stairs - not a good feeling :-(! Everyone is saying "ice the knee" afterwards but I'm going to have to go with just showering them with cold water because of time constraints. Our water is icy, comes straight off the mountain so my knees will be numb the rest of the day - next run tomorrow so will give it a go. I'm so amazed to hear of you all getting near to the end - I'm not looking ahead at the schedule because I don't want to panic... has it been really difficult getting there with all those pains??? Good luck with the next run and your joints too!!


Pain seems to have been part and parcel of my running. I was very concerned when I first started because I thought that my knees and feet would really suffer. I went through a period around week 3/4 when my knees took it in turns to really hurt and I used a support, but what appeared to be the problem was my knees putting themselves back into alignment as my muscles developed - usually accompanied by a rather loud click!! I still ache after a run (I am nearly 51) but then so does my 19 year old son and very fit hubby so....Pace yourself, listen to your body, have a couple of days rest if you feel your body needs it and try and find some flat to run on while your knees sort themselves out. Rhus Tox cream is also very good for achy limbs and joints.

Happy running

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