Couch to 5K
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Graduates and Injuries! What would you have done differently?

So I've noticed that quite a few graduates are off running with injuries at the moment. Well at least a few of the people I recognise since I started using these forums.

I though it would be a good resource for beginners here to get an idea of some of the injuries people have got, how they got them and what they would do differently now to prevent that injury happening again.

14 Replies

So I havnt been able to run for 3 weeks now :S Well I say run I'm still struggling with walking at the moment.

I developed plantar faciitis after doing a 10k road race. My mistake was to run a road race when I've primarily run along forest and park tracks since starting to run. I also didnt run the race in proper road shoes. I've got some trails shoes that are marketed as door to trail so they're like trail shoes with a bit more padding. Not enough padding to run a road race however.

Apparently changing the surface you run on can cause plantar faciitis. Going from running on soft surfaces onto hard surfaces is not a good idea! I think I'll stick to trail running when my foot finally heels. If I was to race on a road again Id make sure to get some suitable footware as well!

Hopefully this is some good advice for someone new to running!


I'm not a graduate, but I won't be trying another parkrun until I've completed the full programme. I did a parkrun with my friend at week 5, on the hottest day of the year, and I probably didn't warm up properly - ended up with a pulled calf muscle in one leg, and a sore achilles on the other. My advice - still to the programme.


shortly after finishing c25k I got a bit over-confident & ran for longer at the gym, with the incline set higher than normal (so it was really up-hill) & I hurt my knee. I then stupidly thought that I would be able to run through the pain, hoping that my knee would feel better once it had "warmed" up & had to take a month off running altogether. so rest an extra day or so if you need it & dont hope for the best!

they say you shouldnt increase your mileage or speed more than 10% a week. a lesson learnt from experience :)

& make sure your trainers are bigger than your normal shoe size ~ another important lesson learnt after losing 2 toenails :)


I did exactly the same as Shelley except I did it outside, ended up falling up the steps at home and then persuaded myself my knees were just bashed and not the dreaded runner's knee, and did another three 3K runs. Today I ran my first 5 minutes in 6 weeks, on a treadmill, went ok I hope... but if I'd rested up at the beginning, or better still not done too much too soon, I'd have saved myself a whole lot of aggro :-(

Another thing is, there's a video somewhere with a sports doc saying if you run, you MUST do leg strengthening exercises as well, especially quads. I was running only...

Confession is very good for the soul... :-)


Stretch, stretch and stretch some more. I'm currently not running due to an iliotibial band injury and I think this could have been prevented if I'd spent longer stretching the IT band. I (almost) always spent about 10 minutes performing the basic stretches after each run ( ) but I know now that this was not enough for me. I should have been more rigorous and included the leg stretches that I know from yoga class.

In the early weeks of the C25K programme I did a 30 - 45 min yoga session on non-running days, but as I got fitter I increased my cross-training on non-running days with long cycle rides or walks. This left me too tired for anything else and the yoga slipped away. I know from previous experience when hiking, my hamstrings get tight - the more I walk, the tighter they get - and I should have known to expect this and more from running.

Now, I'm doing the stretches as recommended by the sports physio and doing daily yoga sessions when I'm slowly and gradually regaining the suppleness and flexibility I had pre-running.


Been a long time since I posted!

I did c25k in January, graduated, women's 10k in May, and half marathon in September. Originally I did a mix of bodybalance and bodypump classes, but I dropped the bodybalance class as I upped the training. The week before the half, I was pushing for longer, faster strides and something went pop in my hip. Nursed it so I could do the half, and then paid for it with three months off with hip flexor damage and an impressive physio bill.

In retrospect, I should have - not run with an injury (obvious!) and kept the bodybalance class going. I'd been tight through my right leg for a good few weeks and the yoga part would have helped.

The other thing I should have done was bought new trainers - I didn't want to be breaking in a new pair beforehand but I should have been breaking them in alongside my other pair in the month before the half marathon. When I finally started running again two weeks ago I realised that my current pair were like running in concrete and had done nearly 500 road miles. Oops lol.

So now that I'm back in training, with new trainers.. the plan is to get another pair in six weeks or so and start breaking them in before the next big run- and I'm going to the bodybalance class again.


My phsio asked me if I'd done more than 500 miles in my trainers (I haven't). but this must be the figure they use as an indication that they need replacing.

Like you, I'd have a general tightness in my leg that I should have responded to with more - not less! - yoga.


I injured my knee first time I did the Stamina pod. I was really tired towards the end-it is grueling! A dog rushed me from the front as I was ascending an incline, and because I was tired I didn't stop to get out of the way, but somehow pushed to one side and left my knee behind. I ended up with a "torn" cartilage. This was 5w ago on Wednesday. I had to see my osteopath, as my lower disc bulged, due to compensation when i was walking. It is still pretty painful. I am wearing a sport knee support. I also do the cold/hot in the shower and rub my knee after drying with Arnica jel (I got this advice from an archive post and bought it from Amazon, with anti-inflammatory). I googled runner knee injuries, and found an excellent YouTube showing the exercises to do, but I think these were preventative rather than curative, as they made the situation worse. I am still doing them, gently bently though. I do find the Arnica jel helps a lot+paracetamol 6 hourly prn. By the end of the day, having walked and gone up and down stairs a number of times it is very painful. First thing in the morning it hardly hurts at all.

Any advice welcome. I am an ex practice nurse, but not a physio so my knowledge is limited to R.I.C.E.,lol!!

A very good idea of yours Mark, by the way-thank you.

I think we need a regular Header, so that people can locate easily. What does everyone else think?

Glad you're improving Swanscot :-)

Colette x


I ditched the warm up/cool down walk and now know I should have replaced them with stretches. Not stretching led me to get tight calves and this was compounded by pushing myself too hard on the treadmill = pulled calf muscle. I always do calf stretches before & after now.


For me it was upping the distance to quickly, started B210K, progress is too quick for me and my upper legs felt funny, ignored it and ended up with bad ankle. Should have learnt from c25k, have to build distance or lengthy of Time slowly otherwise I get injured.

Can definately recommend arnica gel :-)


Agree with Phil above - I thought I could make the jump to 10km too early and although I managed a 10km run (just) I hurt my knee doing it and had to take a week or so off. In the end it hurt me more than anything as I missed out on a whole week of running. Definitely stick to building distance slowly! I learnt my lesson!

Reading all these comments about stretching makes me think I should re-evaluate my own stretching habits though... it sounds like it can have a big impact in keeping you from injury!


Asking for trouble probably but so far... so good. My main danger is from slipping or tripping, so I have invested in trail shoes. I feel quite passionate about avoiding injury or joint damage and I was shocked at the running store to see that 80% of runners sustain an injury in the course of a year. I don't know if that is all runners including elites who are by definition pushing to the limits, or people who are doing 'obviously' higher risk things such as not warming up or not taking days off running. I don't do leg stretching as part of the run sessions but I do always do the warm up and down walks (and I've been trying some beginner yoga but it is very hard) I'd be interested to know whether wearing full length leggings cf capris makes a difference through calves being warmer (I've stuck with full length)


Eeek! "80% of runners sustain an injury in the course of a year"

Hmm. Week 1, day 1 today. Very tempting to go out and do it again straightaway tomorrow, as it was so satisfying, but I am going to heed the warnings and listen to my body, which says it already wants a rest! "No pain, no gain" is not necessarily true! Thank you for this.


Great idea for a post! Like many others I ran into trouble by being too ambitious. In my case this was pounding up hills and causing some tendonitis. I think this could have been prevented by being more meticulous with the stretching and by building up more gradually. It's easy to underestimate the demands we place on our poor unfit under prepared bodies when we go from no exercise at all (in my case) to 3 times a week. All that said the health benefits of running far outweigh the inconvenience of a couple of weeks of hobbling around - the worst bit was not being able to run! The plus side is that I have lost weight and inches, I feel so much better in myself, I can run up the stairs without puffing and panting and I have discovered what a wonderful way of destressing running can be - who knew that I actually had endorphins? :-)

My advice to Greenlegs would be follow the programme, listen to Laura, take the rest days and don't think you are Mo Farrah just because you've finished week 9! ;-)


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