Beginner Running

c25k and muscle soreness

posted over 7 years ago | Report

Hello all,
I started c25k a bit over a week ago (12/8). I've never been a runner and am probably about 10-20 pounds overweight (190lbs/6'). I do walk most everywhere - don't have a car - so I'm not completely inactive.
Week 1, Day 1, Wed: this sucked. Dressed badly so was very cold, wasn't well hydrated, only ran 5 of the 9 times the program called for and walked the rest.
W1, D2, Fri: much, MUCH better. Finished the program and felt good.
W1, D3, Sun: finished the program but didn't feel as good as after D2. Finished with muscle soreness mid way up on my inner thigh.
W1, D3a, Tues: repeated a week 1 program on account of soreness and not finishing day 1. My inner thighs started out sore and never recovered.
W2, D1, Fri: started week 2 after giving myself the extra day off to help muscle recovery. Warm up was fine, but felt my right inner thigh when I switched to running. By the second run it hurt, so I walked through the next 3 runs. It felt better and I ran the last 2 (total running=6 minutes in 1.5 minute sessions) but it never went away.

So my question is how best should I handle this? I don't love taking the extra day off all the time, but I don't want to push too hard and end up not running either. Is muscle soreness something possible to run through or is that a bad idea? Any suggestions/testimonials/whatever are very much appreciated - thanks!


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  • Ease your way into it. Delayed-Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS) sometimes does not hit until the 2nd or 3rd day after an intense workout. I always ease my way back into running after a long hiatus like last year precisely because it takes time for me to recover the first few weeks I start.

    Rest is key in any training program. Don't push it if your body is telling you to take it easy.

    Keep at it.

    posted over 7 years ago

  • Welcome to the journey! Firstly: Don't Give up! You CAN do this.

    you're not doing anything wrong. It's going to take a while for your body to adapt to what you're throwing at it. Listen to your body, and you may need to repeat Week 2, and then repeat Week 3. Sore muscles are 'good' pain. it's your body telling you that you used it hard and well. You'll have good days, and hurting days. Good weeks and weeks where your legs feel like lead. That's all part of the process.

    These won't be the last pains you'll feel as you push your body into running. Treat each one as an obstacle that needs to be overcome to reach your goal. Rest, Stretching, cross training, strength training, and most importantly... consistency. No- it doesn't get easier- but you will build up to longer distances and be able to go faster. Enjoy the trip.

    it has taken me 3 years to get through it all. Therapy, doctor visits, chiropractor visits, so many people (and doctors) telling me to just buy a bike (I did) and next month I will stand at the starting line of my 1st marathon. Fully prepared and ready to slay the distance.

    posted over 7 years ago

  • Thanks, Michael. That's sorta what I was thinking too, and why I downshifted to walking when needed. I think I'll just walk this Sunday and plan on picking up the running program again Tuesday to give my legs a chance to heal.

    I'm doing this on my own so it's nice to be able to get advice and make a plan that doesn't feel like quitting. Thanks again!

    posted over 7 years ago

  • Great advice, Morey - thanks! I'll scale back a bit this weekend and continue the path next week. Good luck next month!

    posted over 7 years ago

  • in reply to what Morey B. said:Welcome to the journey! Firstly: Don't Give up! You CAN do this. you're not doing anything wrong. It's going to take a while for your body to adapt to what you're throwing at it. Listen to your body, and you may need to r... read more

    Great advise, Morey. Best of luck with your first marathon!

    posted over 7 years ago

  • Hi Matt,

    Well, you've got the first step down- deciding you want to run a 5K!

    I did a C25K and it took me 3 attempts to finally get past week 4 before I was able to do the 3 miles. There are several things that helped me:

    1. If you don't feel warmed up after what the program says, keep walking until you feel ready to run. Mine program said 5 minutes, but I frequently did 10 minutes.
    2. Even if you feel strong enough, don't do anymore than what the workout says.
    3. You can never stretch enough, even throughout the day.

    Although I never believed it until I experienced it, it will get easier. Keep at it!


    posted over 7 years ago

  • Thanks, Tori.
    The advice about truly warming up is very good - today I made an effort to walk very briskly during warm up and the running went much easier without any holdover soreness. Though I did start to feel the sore muscle (it didn't hurt, it was just saying hi) during the 4th 1.5 minute run. When I started the 5th run, though, my left calf cramped, so I walked the rest of the workout. I was encouraged by not being held back by the soreness from Friday, though. I'm not afraid of repeating days/weeks of the c25k program, so the cramp is just a minor inconvenience. I'll also make a point of stretching more often as there's no way that can hurt. And at least for the next month, there's next to no worry of me pushing myself past what the workout says. :) Thanks again!

    posted over 7 years ago

  • Matt, it depends whether your soreness is from delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) or whether you have injured yourself by pushing too hard the previous week. If it is from DOMS then you got no problem running through it as it will wear off once your body has raked in enough warm up. For the latter, you cannot and must not run through the pain as it will lead to further injuries and probably lay you off for the next couple of weeks/months. Make sure to stretch enough before working out.

    Don't follow the c25k plan word for word because every body has a different way of easing into things and what works for others might not be perfect for you. Tweak the workout a little depending on how you feel. Maybe lengthen the stretching time, etc. Perhaps you can slow down your pace when you run, that is something not written in the workout regime. Go at a comfortable pace where you can hold a conversation but not too slow to the extent that you can sing.

    Good luck on your workout Matt!!!

    posted over 7 years ago

  • Matt, definitely definitely take the extra day off. If you think you might need it, then you do. It took me almost 4 months to finish the C25K, because I pushed too hard and injured myself.

    I would say that if you're on week 2, and you can't do all the workouts, you should feel free to repeat week 2 in its entirety. Now, I'm not saying that you should repeat it if you succeed by the skin of your teeth -- some of the workouts made me think I was going to die, but my doc assured me I wouldn't, so I pushed through. But you should be able to finish the entire week. If you honestly can't, repeating the week will still be a quality building block for you, and meet your goal of slight (up to 10%) weekly increases.

    At all costs, avoid overtraining. You *will* get hurt if you overtrain. It's just not worth it. And stretch AFTER your workouts. Concentrate on your inner thighs if that's where your pain is coming from. Gently but persistently, and after every workout.

    I found (with the help of an expensive athletic physical therapist) that I was training too hard, not stretching enough, and asking my muscles to do something I wasn't strong enough to do. So a little bit of strength training for your quads and hammies might help also. Forward lunges, reverse lunges, and squats perhaps? You should be pleasantly sore, but not _hurt_. I'm not sure I'm smart enough to describe the difference.

    Good luck, and keep posting on DM! Many of us have used C25K. I finished C25K in February 2010, and will be lining up for my first marathon in February 2011. Take it slow & steady & you'll definitely get there!


    posted over 7 years ago

  • Nothing wrong in repeating weeks. This is a marathon, not a sprint. Couple other things you can do as well.
    1. stretching. Do it at work, before working out, after as well. The more the better.
    2. rolling. Get a foam roller and use it on the calves, hammies, quads, gluts, lower back, and hips (at least). Look online for instructions on how to do it to get the most out of it.
    3. Ice baths. I just turn on the cold water, getting in as it is filling (less of a shock that way) and putting some ice in the water. I fill it until my legs are completely covered as well as my lower back and soak for a good 10 -15 minutes, tho usually I can go 20.

    posted over 7 years ago

  • I finished the C25K program in September and I was never a runner, either. When I started out, I had some muscle pain that felt more than just from using muscles that I didn't use regularly.

    I went to a running store and got fitted for a pair of motion control shoes. I tend to overpronate, particularly on my right foot. After a few times running in these shoes, the muscle pain went away. I haven't had any problems since.

    I was just wondering if you had shoes professionally fit before starting out. I know that I didn't want to spend the money, if I wasn't going to stick with running. A friend insisted that this was my "issue" and I'm so glad that I listened. In the end, the shoes were no more expensive than if I had bought them at Foot Locker and the customer service was amazing. They even let me run in the parking lot to see if I liked the way they felt before buying them.

    Just a thought. Good luck with your running program. C25K changed my life. I love it. (I finished B210K, too).


    posted over 7 years ago

  • in reply to what Cindy S. said:I finished the C25K program in September and I was never a runner, either. When I started out, I had some muscle pain that felt more than just from using muscles that I didn't use regularly. I went to a running store and got fitted for a pa... read more

    A very good thought, Cindy. I haven't bought fitted running shoes yet. I was planning to go and splurge but I was waiting to prove to myself that I'd keep with the running first. I think you're right, though, and that I'll make it a to-do this week before I bump up to week 3. The difference between week 2 and week 3 is frightening to me! going from running 1.5 minutes to 3 minutes at a time... :-)

    Congrats on your success! Speaking as someone closer to the the couch side of things, 10k is quite an achievement.


    posted over 7 years ago

  • Hey Matt-

    I agree with Cindy's thought on shoes. Also check to make sure you're tweaking your hydration an nutrition to help with the added strain of the new schedule. Bananas and lots of water are your friends! Try also adding a multivitamin to fill in the gaps.

    posted over 7 years ago

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