Couch to 5K
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Muscle fitness

Completed week 3 still finding it hard on my legs, calves particularly.

Took two attempts to complete week 4 run for first time.

Again it's mostly my legs that don't seem to be getting strong enough yet. It hurts towards the three minute mark and after 5 minutes I found it hard to walk for about a minute of the 'rest' stage.

Recovery afterwards is not overly long though and I don't have any muscle pain in the days after so maybe I am getting stronger.

I do go slowly with jog sometimes at least feeling slower than walking but finding the pace is tricky as too slow is harder on the legs.

After turning my ankle last week I did one session (not an 'official' one) on treadmill in hotel fitness centre while on holiday. I actually managed 3 five minute run intervals with relative comfort so was rather stunned to find week 4 runs so hard on the street,

9 Replies

You have to remember that the street is very hard and unforgiving on the leg muscles compared to a treadmill. Try some power walking on one of your rest days that may help build up your calf muscles. If you have the use of a gym you could also do some leg press and step machine exercises etc ask one of the stafff who will be able to advise on the best equipment. It sounds to me though that you are doing just fine, it takes a body a while to adjust and get used to all this sudden activity so don't get anxious, relax into your stride and it will be much easier. Good luck :)


Week 4 is diabolical. :-) Just follow Oldgirl's excellent advice, get through it as well as you can and on to week 5 - much more civilized and the music's better too. Good luck!


my first thought is trainers as you said your legs were better on the treadmill, which cushions the impact on your legs, knees, ankles etc.

have you got special "running" trainers? I did all of c25k on a treadmill with neutral basic adidas trainers & then when I did venture outside got terrible shin pain. went for a treadmill test & a new pair of trainers (found the ones that did the job with arch support & bought them cheaper on ebay) & problem solved. my 13 year old daughter needed support trainers aswell as she used to get awful pain in the top of her legs at the front thigh area when she started running using my neutral trainers.

if you think that you want to carry on once you have finished c25k then trainers are a real must!

& make sure they are a little bit bigger for you, maybe a half or full size bigger than you wear, or you might just lose a toenail or two :)

shelley x


Yes, I went to a proper running shop and got the right trainers.

Thanks for the suggestion though.


took my daughter & me a few runs to "settle" into our new trainers. perhaps cause you then work muscles that werent working properly before??

hope legs improve soon. x


Thanks. I got them right at the start.

Taking consolation from the good recovery time. :)


Stretching afterwards can help ease the pain somewhat if you are not doing that already as Laura just recommends the cool down walk. You tube can be useful for videos that show you the correct technique.

Standing up and down off your tippy toes can help strengthen your calf muscles simply using your body weight if you do that in sets of 10 however many times you like a day.


I had major issues with my calves when running during the first 4 weeks of the programme. If it's tightness while running but not a ongoing ache afterwards, it's more than likely just your muscles getting used to it. Do lots of stretching after you've run, especially heel drops from a step as this is great for tight calves and achilles. This has definitely helped me.


W5R1 this afternoon. This was planned for Thursday but I was too ill to even sit up for more than a couple of minutes most of Thursday.

It wasn't until the third 5 minute run that my legs started to complain but even that wasn't as bad as it has been. Breathing still needs to stabilise. I thought I'd manage that a little better as a clarinettist but like a beginner clarinettist it seems to be the breathing out that's not working properly. Recovery seemed to take some time. Not much short of the allotted 3 minutes.

Onwards and upwards!


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