Just finished day 2 week 6 of C25K. Having no issue with the running, but having knee and back of calf (maybe tendon) issues. Ran day 2 week 6 using a knee brace, finished the run but now limping around like an old man. At 51, I am beginning to learn that I have to listen to my body a little more than I used to. But, here is my question - Should I go to a Dr.? (don't think that is required at this point), just rest it?, run through it? or are there any special exercises I can do to help it to recover faster? (I am sure there is a lot I don;t know). Thanks, in advance, for your help.
Under these circumstances, I would take a break from the program, but stay active in a low impact way. Reschedule your target 5k and don't miss the company. No point staying on a runaway train, bail out before you crash. There'll be another one coming down the tracks with a better future than running in pain.
If mild activity, and perhaps some massage of the calves, does not result in noticeable improvement, a more serious situation is possible that might require medical attention of some kind. Whatever you do, don't just take some pain pills and keep chugging away. Most doctors who prescribe them to runners also tell them not to run. Sadly, we often only listen to half the prescription.
If the back of your legs are feeling like burning and swelling, then you'll just need to rest and stretch them more. Your body is building more muscle, and the fascia around the muscle groups isn't particularly stretchy. It needs time to adapt. I went through this and it's very frustrating, but it's temporary.
On the knee thing, the kind of pain, where it is etc., matters a lot. Along the outside of the kneecap, or directly under it, usually indicates IT band tightness. Do some YouTube research for foam roller exercises. If it persists, find a good sports massage therapist. A good one is magic. There are other causes of knee pain, but this is what I can offer in terms of "been there".
To further the great comments from JamesJ and AndyG, I also recommend laying off running for a few days. If it doesn't hurt to walk, then go walk a few miles. With regards to stretching, be careful about stretching a pulled ligament/tendon/muscle - it will only exacerbate the injury. Whatever it is that you pulled in your calf, it needs to relax in order to heal, otherwise you are just re-tearing it. I am however a big proponent of stretching; I stretch pre-run and post-run (I'm old and I need it...), but I 've learned the hard way to not stretch an injury. If it hurts, don't do it. With regards to your knee, that could be so many things, but it might help to lay off the impact of running for a couple days. It may, as it was in my case, be that you simply need to strengthen the muscles that support you knee. I used to have knee problems, but after experimenting with a variety of knee exercises, I no longer have knee problems.
As someone who is getting into race training from knee recovery I can speak to this (I'm also having some of these issues and am just getting started). Do strengthening exercises. For example, learning to do a proper bodyweight squat and incorporating this and similar other exercises has enabled me to begin my training with limited discomfort. I think the calf is hard to get at without running or jumping so it may be the last bastion of getting to the "otherside". But try to augment, it really helps.
I recently rehab'ed myself of back of the calf pain that plagued me since my last HM. The issue was being 53 and very tight - and I had layed off stretching. Stretching is a difficult thing I think - if you don't stretch, you're going to get injured (like this calf injury). And if you stretch too much or incorrectly, you're going to get injured. The challenge is to find the right amount.
Being a runner over 50, you're probably tight as well. If you aren't already, you probably need to be stretching your calves, achilles, hamstrings, IT, back, etc. Don't stretch prior to running (walk and do active range of motion things like squats, lunges, leg lifts). When you do stretch, be gentle and never push to the point of pain - ESPECIALLY if a muscle is hurting.
I definitely recommend the strengthening exercises. They help in lots of ways, but start and build weight and reps slowly. I started running 4-years ago at age 56. Knees, ankles, calves, etc. gave me all sorts of pain. I used alot of ice and NSAIDs during my first 6-8 months. Once you can rule out serious stuff, definitely do active recovery and post-workout stretching. Keep at it and you'll do fine. I recently finished my second marathon and 8th half. That feeling can't be beat.