I am sure similar questions have been asked many times before, and having done plenty of research, there is a wealth of information, and conflicting information on the internet!
So, we are hoping someone can help us with our specific problem, and aimed at our specific situation.
To make things simple, here is some info.
• Beginners to running, started end December
• Currently doing runs 4x a week, about 30 minutes each run, covering 4-5k distances.
• We believe we are already quite fit, being used to walking lots, and don’t get out of breath after each run.
• Age 32 and 34
In January, after our first few weeks, my wife got an injury having sharp pains in her left leg calf muscle. This recovered fairly quickly, so running presumed.
Then a week later, my wife gets an inflamed right knee (which was extremely painful to even walk on, or weight bearing, identified by the doctor). This put her out of any running for 3 weeks. I had a painful left lower leg and was put out for 2 weeks with walking and weight bearing painful.
After a couple of weeks back from the break, we both got injuries again. This time, my wife with left ankle a pulled muscle and a pulled hamstring in the left leg. This time, I get a an injury which causes pains down my right hand upper leg, lower leg, and foot with sharp pains even when walking. This has been going on for a week so far, and it’s still there.
We was trying to do some leg/foot exercises to build up strength in these areas, but we already do 100 star jumps to build the carf muscles four times a week since December.
Every time we recover, a week to a couple of weeks later, something else happens. Before our first run, we didn’t stretch before and after, something we presumed caused the injuries, so since then we have always stretched before and after.
Also, it is not as if we have carried on running, as soon as the injuries had the first sign, we stopped. The strange thing is that with all the injuries, they start off mild, and after a few days became painful, despite not even running. In my case, in the last two injuries, I have not even had any sign of pain on the day of the run, only the following day. We don’t think these are just Doms, as they have been all over a week, and involve sharp pains.
What is everyone’s advice, should we;
1) Reduce the number of runs from four to three per week.
2) Run for less distance
3) Follow a training programme of part walk-running and building up to expand more running.
4) Do more exercises to build strength.
5) Carry on, since so far these injuries have been all different.
As I am sure many have had the same, these set backs are a major blow to ones confidence in running. Something we both want to do and build for the rest of our lives, and competing in races.
I would suggest you back off, make sure all your injuries are resolved, then re-start using a program like Couch-to-5K (C25K) at http://www.coolrunning.com/engine/2/2_3/181.shtml
In spite of being reasonably fit, your muscles, joints, tendons, ligaments, etc. take time to adapt to the stresses of running. So a much more gradual introduction is recommended. The injuries you've had sound pretty typical of the "too much, too fast, too soon" syndrome of many beginners.
To kind of add to what Len has written, it sounds to me like y'all are suffering from TFFFS (Too Fast, too Far, too Frequently, too Soon). Slow down, cut your running back to the point where you have at least one rest day between runs, and when the time comes that you're able to run without injury, run further not faster. Once you're able to run say ten kilometers or six miles at a crack for most of your runs, then start speeding things up.
Fat old man PRs:
Thank you so much. We have decided we will start the couch to 5k when ready again. I have to admit with each run at the same distance I was always shaving time off doing it a couple of minutes faster each time. That was never planned l, it just happened without intending to speed up.
We have the nike running app so will follow the coach programme on that.
Once again. Thank you for your help.
Employ variety. Most of your running should be at a VERY comfortable pace and distance. Employ a variety of speed and distance, but make sure that neither is of “to the limit” variety at this time.
Don’t increase either speed or distance until what your current average run is both easy to accomplish and quick to recover. Once you increase either in a given run, make the next two runs shorter and slower and well within your comfort zone. Think of increases as only occasional events and ALWAYS employ rest (days off and easier runs) in the progression.
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It does not seem that your milage is excessive, and the problems recur even after you back off. I would suggest you make sure your running form is proper. It would be helpful to have someone observe you and give you feedback, but failing that, read up on proper mechanics and form and try to assess each other. If you are having problems with injuries, check out chi running (book, dvd, website, etc.). The techniques taught cause less pounding to the body, which for many people greatly reduces discomfort and injuries. Proper form goes a long way in injury prevention.
It takes a long time for tissues to get strong enough to run a lot. Your cardio will improve by leaps and bounds in the beginning leading us to believe we can increase mileage and speed, but it's a trick. I fall for it every time. I don't run a lot in the winter and summer, because I can't stand extreme temperatures, but I almost always start overdoing it in the fall and spring after my heart seems to get back in shape in a couple of weeks. Pull back on the reigns. It is never really necessary to run everyday. Some people do it, but it doesn't necessarily have a fitness advantage. Giving your body time to recover and start fresh is the best thing for you. If you feel you need to exercise everyday, hop on an elliptical or something that doesn't pound your body as much as running. You will feel stronger and happier the next time you run, when your calves aren't sore.
Just one other bit of advice that I haven't seen posted. Make sure you are running in the right shoes. By that I mean, go to a proper sporting goods store (preferrably a running specific one, if available) that is equipped to do an analysis of your running on a treadmill.
I recently did this after years of buying what I assumed was the right shoe. Turned out I was wrong. Not only was I not buying the right shoe for me, it was costing me more than the one I needed.
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Some good advice on here already. But I want to second what bbee42 said about the shoes. When I first started running I was buying shoes that looked good and said "running" on the box. I had knee pains for a while, I would get pain in my arches, and shin splints. I was constantly on again/off again in running because it bothered me so much. I finally went to a running specific store and had them help me find a shoe that was right for me. This was a couple years ago and those shoes were amazing. My running form changed because of the lower heel, I haven't had knee pain since, and overall I felt a huge difference in running. Now I know the style I need and can order them online, but getting the first pair with someone knowledgeable is definitely a must.
Another common newbie mistake that leads to injuries is stretching, and there is definitely conflicting information out there. Prior to a run, do NOT stretch. You want to walk for a few minutes, then do deep knee bends (squats), butt kicks, leg lifts and lunges - a few of each. Do your deep static stretching some other time. And btw, you should have a full body stretching routine that you do regularly.