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4171 Views 11 Replies Latest reply: Jun 14, 2013 9:45 AM by DanielNen
carotello Amateur 21 posts since
Jun 3, 2013
Currently Being Moderated

Jun 3, 2013 9:41 AM

C25K Newbie - W3 D1 calves cramping, any advice?



I just started the C25K, and I should mention I am very out of shape. Every day of the program has been tough, but I can definitely see improvement, so I am motivated to continue.


For me the improvement may sound rather pathetic to someone who is in shape, but I noticed after week 1 I no longer needed my inhaler to run (I have asthma), and after week 2 I was able to complete the running bits without feeling like I was going to die.


My only remaining issue is that I am experiencing intense cramps on my calves, usually towards the end of the run. Today I had smaller cramps in the begining, which I was able to just run through, but the last 3 minute segment was very tough and by the time I walked home on my cool down I could barely walk, my calves were just cramping continuously.


I normally train first thing in the morning, so I am training on an empty stomach, which I have heard is the thing to do.


I'd appreciate any help, or even words of advice.



  • alancz Amateur 21 posts since
    Aug 12, 2008
    Currently Being Moderated
    1. Jun 3, 2013 10:50 AM (in response to carotello)
    C25K Newbie - W3 D1 calves cramping, any advice?

    Stretch before your workout.  Follow the link "stay loose" from the C25K home page.  It has helped me tremendously to take the necessary time and properly stretch before and after each workout.  Just finished week 5.  Don't stop!

  • GenesMachine Amateur 10 posts since
    Jul 17, 2012
    Currently Being Moderated
    2. Jun 3, 2013 4:57 PM (in response to carotello)
    C25K Newbie - W3 D1 calves cramping, any advice?

    What kind of surface are you running on? Best to begin on a soft flat track. Most high schools have a soft, artificial surface that is a pleasure to run on. Your shoe could be a factor, make sure you have a sneaker designed to give maximum cushion. I put two gel inserts in mine when I train and run on the road. Drink water, it's one of the things new runners fail to realize sometimes, your muscles need lots of water to function and grow. Divide your weight in half and drink that many ounces a day. After that it's a matter of massaging your calves and resting on days you don't run. Try some foam rolling, I actually use a rolling pin! Go easy on yourself in the beginning, running is a full body workout and a slow runner is still faster than an injured and sidelined one.


    So long as your drinking enough water you don't have to worry too much about what you must eat before you run, these are not long distances in the beginning and a 5K doesn't require you to eat specific. A balanced meal the night before and a piece of fruit an hour before is all I ever did. Then I pig out on watermelon after (which they usually have for the racers at the end). LOL


    Listen, you have a date with destiny here if you're thinking like I was when I began. I think we were probably in the same shape when we started. I'll tell you a secret, when you get to that start line it's going to really be a great feeling. Stay calm and focused, don't stop running even if you have to run slower to recover a little. Keep a steady and manageable pace and sprint that last 100 yards!!! You are the biggest obstacle between you and the finish line.


    Good luck!

  • lenzlaw Community Moderator 10,539 posts since
    Jan 18, 2008
    Currently Being Moderated
    4. Jun 4, 2013 3:13 PM (in response to carotello)
    C25K Newbie - W3 D1 calves cramping, any advice?

    The most recent research suggests that cramping usually results from muscles that are not conditioned for the work being asked of them.  The fact that you're wearing Newtons probably is contributing.  Newtons encourage a midfoot/forefoot strike, which places more stress on the calves.  Slowing down may help, or you may need to spend a few weeks running shorter distances before continuing with C25K.  Exercises to strengthen the calves and lower legs (for instance, toe raises for the calves, toe taps for the shins) may help in the long term but I don't know how helpful they'll be short term.


  • justamaniac Legend 240 posts since
    May 30, 2007
    Currently Being Moderated
    5. Jun 5, 2013 7:15 AM (in response to lenzlaw)
    C25K Newbie - W3 D1 calves cramping, any advice?

    When I started with my Newtons I also experienced tight calves.  In my case I actually had to ease into them, i.e. start a run with "regular" running shoes to let my calves warm up (a mile or two) and then finish up with the Newtons. It was a pain in the rear to do this (the shoe logistics), but it really helped.  Now I'm solid on my Newtons and my calves are fine.



  • MelanieT520 Rookie 1 posts since
    Oct 12, 2012
    Currently Being Moderated
    7. Jun 7, 2013 1:50 PM (in response to carotello)
    C25K Newbie - W3 D1 calves cramping, any advice?

    Hi there!


    I completed W3D2 yesterday and I too am having issues with calf cramping. I know that hydration is one of downfalls so I am going to try and do better!  Week 3 in general has been extremely difficult for me and I too am considering a repeat of the week. I am a new running, out of shape with much weight to lose, and had ACL reconstruction 8 months ago.  I keep reminding myself that the app and the program do not know these things about me so I look at my logs. While I see a day over day improvement on my distance and see progress in other areas, it's still a struggle. Now, if I could only find a way to get my breathing under control!


    Keep up the great work everyone!

  • GingerZ Rookie 2 posts since
    Jun 7, 2013
    Currently Being Moderated
    8. Jun 8, 2013 3:56 AM (in response to carotello)
    C25K Newbie - W3 D1 calves cramping, any advice?

    I'm just finishing Week 4 and had the same problem. What really helped me is getting my calves good and warmed up before the run. I do about 60 calf raises before I start walking, which also warms up my ankles, hamstrings, and glutes. And during the warmup walk, I don't try to set any speed records - let my body warm up gradually.


    I totally understand the "feel like I'm going to die" thing! Every single time I've run, I've been SURE I wouldn't be able to do it, and was shocked at how difficult it is! But lo and behold, I've made it through every single run so far. So you might surprise yourself and get through the 5-minute intervals successfully.


    I'm prepared to redo a week if necessary, or heck to redo it 2 or 3 times, or however long it takes. As long as we keep going, we're doing it right!

  • killclick Rookie 1 posts since
    Jun 8, 2013
    Currently Being Moderated
    9. Jun 8, 2013 12:10 PM (in response to carotello)
    C25K Newbie - W3 D1 calves cramping, any advice?

    I'm really new to the program, but I am real experienced with muscle spasms and cramps.


    I'd highly recommend the roller, and also, just as important, an EPSOM SALT SOAK. Get some epsom salts from the drug store -- a 5lb bag or larger, draw a bath and add 2-5 cups of epsom salts depending on size of the bath, and sit in it for at least 10 minutes, preferably 20. It really, really, really helps. Magnesium is something we don't absorb well through digestion, but we can take in really well through our skin. It reduced muscle cramps a lot. Also, try repeating the same week again before moving on when you're having a lot of cramping, or even going back to the week before. As long as you're doing one of the workouts, and are not skipping back more than one workout intensity, and move through them again in order, you should be ok.  Hope you feel better!

  • DanielNen Rookie 4 posts since
    Jun 14, 2013
    Currently Being Moderated
    11. Jun 14, 2013 9:45 AM (in response to carotello)
    C25K Newbie - W3 D1 calves cramping, any advice?

    Hey there,


    I want to make it really simple for you.


    • Stretch after a run. It doesn't have to be much. Just few exercises
    • Add more salt to your diet.


    That's the 80/20 principle when it comes to cramps.

    Hey, we are !

    We create personal running programs to help you rock at the marathon.


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