Couch to 5K
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Calf problems!

I'm only on Week 2 but my calves (sp!!) feel really uncomfortable when I'm running. They feel achey from the word go. What could cause this? I make sure I do the warm-up and warm-down walk each time, and always make a point of stretching my calves out when i get in I think it's gonna be my legs not my lungs that cause problems but I soooooooooooooo want to do this. Any suggestions gratefully received. Thanks.

3 Replies

I completely empathize with you. I had exactly the same experience. My calves were really painful at the beginning, especially at the start of week 2. I wasn't sure I'd be able to make it to week 3, honestly. My daughter is studying to become a PT, so I asked her what to do and she suggested stretching a lot before the run and on my off days. I have to admit that I also had to stop about half way through the course during week 2 to stretch some more before I could even think of finishing. The other thing I read was to slow the pace, which I also did. I also took Aleve about a half hour before I ran (another suggestion I read somewhere). All of that helped a lot and now I've finished week 3 and can easily go the distance without stopping.

I found a post on the Runner's World Forum (see link below) with some good exercises that have been really helpful for me.

I decided to stick with a pace that allows me to finish and not worry about how far I am getting at this point. I also do some of these stretching exercise throughout the day, every day. If I'm waiting for a file to process on my computer, I stretch. Waiting for the microwave, I stretch. watching TV, I stretch.

Hope it gets better for you, too! Hang in there.


I just ran everything very slowly (on the basis that even very slowly was way better than sitting down) and didn't have any real aches or pains all the way through. I didn't get to 5k in 30 minutes (still way off that) but to be honest, I'm not bothered by that - I can run for 30 minutes and that's made a huge difference to my fitness.

I'd be very wary of stretches before running, other than the warmup walk, as research has shown that it's during 'static' stretches before warming up that most injuries happen.

You might well find it useful to do some searches about running form, as how you land on your feet can make a huge difference to leg/joint pains (don't land on your heels for example, and don't stretch your legs out ahead of you, land below your body weight).

But slow and steady covers a lot!


I had calf problems from week 2 as well, first one leg then the other. Each time it felt like a knife going in. Had to have a few days off the programme. Frustrating but taking it slowly helped and after about five weeks of sporadic running, I was ok. Eight months later and I am now up to 25 minutes, no calf problems at all, just the occasional knee twinges or tight hamstrings.

So glad I stuck with it though.


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