I'm a sort-of new runner; I've been doing it off and on for a couple of years...most recently I stopped because of a bout with sciatica, and I just started up again about a month ago. I run very short distances (never more than 2 miles) and very slowly.
I have tremendous calf pain when I start running again after not having done so for a while, even though I do a stretching regimen before and after each run, plus single-calf raises on days when I don't run. If I'm not careful, my calves will be so stiff the day after a run that I'll have difficulty walking. I'd like to hear from others who may have had similar issues. Does the pain go away when you run more and develop more calf strength?
I cannot stress this next comment stongly enough; stop stretching before you run, at best it does no good, at worst it damages the muscle and connective tissues.
Fat old man PRs:
You don't say anything about your running style, or about yourself physically, or what you consider "very slowly". The amount of calf pain you talk about would suggest that you run on your toes/ball-of-the-foot. If so, this would contribute to stress on the calf muscles.
I agree, stretching before isn't helping, at best. It tends to leave your muscles unready to exercise, and may be contributing to the problem.
@Len Not sure what my running style is; by "very slowly" I mean I just do a slow jog that doesn't overexert me; physically I'm in excellent condition but I'm carrying about 10 extra pounds right now that I'd love to get rid of, hence the running. My main form of exercise til now has been cycling; I'm mostly a point-a-to-point-b utilitarian cyclist (I live in D.C., where a bike is just the easiest way to get around, so I'm on my bike every day) though I've done a few centuries within the past couple of years, which is to say that my legs/calves are put to work regularly. So I'm in very good shape and there's no real reason that I can see for this calf pain. I'll be more conscious of running on my heels and see if that helps any.
I'll also try not stretching before my next run. (Interesting that both of you say not to stretch beforehand; I always thought that was a given.)
A few comments:
Fat old man PRs:
Sorry, should have mentioned that it won't disappear overnight. Like any muscle soreness, it will takes days at least to feel better. But no calf soreness when cycling? Cycling tends to use calf and quad muscles more than running. It's also possible that you are just doing too much, with cycling and running and calf raises.
Nope, cycling has never caused me calf pain at all. And I've been cycling consistently for 20 years. Which is why my friends think it's weird that I should have so much calf pain during/after running. But yeah, I'm going to just keep taking it slowly. The good news is that the pain seems to have been diminishing (although very, v e r y gradually) over the month that I've been running consistently (as in, pain is still there during/after running, but it won't linger over the following two days).
Is *post*-run stretching still considered a thing to do? I hope so, since that and my Tiger Tail are the only things that seem to clear up the pain/tightness.
Thanks for your tips!
Yes, post run stretching is OK. If you read the article I cited above, I believe it discusses that. From your last post it sounds like you are not running every day and that's the only other thing I can think of that might cause problems. Hmm...well, possibly old shoes. Maybe even just running faster than your body is up to - which is why I asked about your pace. Being in generally excellent condition doesn't necessarily mean ready to run at the same level. But you're the 2nd "new runner" lately posting about calf pain. It's puzzling.
And I just bought new shoes two weeks ago! I sucked it up and got fitted at a real running store, with a gait analysis and everything (found out I'm a "neutral").
I think I just have to keep taking it slowly and possibly alternate a couple of minutes of running with a minute of walking (I thought I was past that, but I guess I'm not...I mean, my head and rest of my body definitely are ready to be past that point, but then my calves are like "no way! not ready! slow down!").