Skip navigation

12480 Views 9 Replies Latest reply: Jun 6, 2010 5:27 AM by RunStephRunCO
mrsgoose8 Amateur 33 posts since
May 10, 2010
Currently Being Moderated

May 31, 2010 7:22 AM

Neck/shoulder pain after running...

Seems bizarre, but after running my half marathon yesterday, my neck and shoulders are really stiff and sore. Am I holding my upperbody wrong or something? Anyone else have this or have an advice??  (my legs are fine, I have a sore foot from my too new orthotics, otherwise it's my neck that really hurts today, lol!!)  thanks in advance!

First 1/2 Marathon- 5/30!!! Completed!!! 2hr30min49seconds (good time for me! )

  • dwm082 Community Moderator 1,063 posts since
    Dec 14, 2007
    Currently Being Moderated
    1. May 31, 2010 1:52 PM (in response to mrsgoose8)
    Re: Neck/shoulder pain after running...

    Odds are good that you were tensing your shoulders as you ran. Since I see that this is your first half-marathon, I assume that you're not accustomed to running that distance. If that's the case, there's a very good chance that your form degraded somewhat in the later miles, which often leads people to tense their shoulders up. (I know it happens to me!) That would contribute to sore shoulder, arm, and neck muscles post-race.


    Along the same lines, I noticed that when I was going into my first half-marathon, I had the same problem, but mostly with my left shoulder. I realized after a while that it was coming from checking my pace and distance obsessively on my Garmin. I reduced my Garmin-checking and the problem largely disappeared.


    Congrats on finishing your half-marathon, by the way!



    2012 Race Schedule

    Providence Marathon (4:48:55)

    Buffalo Half-Marathon (2:03:16)

    Chicago Marathon (October 7)

  • dfitz* Legend 612 posts since
    Aug 20, 2008
    Currently Being Moderated
    2. May 31, 2010 10:03 PM (in response to mrsgoose8)
    Re: Neck/shoulder pain after running...

    My neck often feels a little stiff the day after a race or a hard workout. Good advice to keep your shoulders relaxed, and shake your arms out once in awhile. You don't raise your arms a little while running so that your elbows stick out, do you? We've had other discussions on these boards about "flying elbows." Whenever I see people running that way I wonder how sore their deltoid muscles will be the next day.   In the ChiRunning world they remind us to swing our elbows straight back just a little (not swinging your hands across your body).


    Your head should also be in a neutral position... some people tilt their head back a little; others slouch forward. In ChiRunning they tell us to "lengthen the back of our neck." This just helps us visualize the straightest neck / tallest posture possible. This really helps my comfort level and efficiency while running. I still feel a bit stiff-necked the day after a race, but it's more of a fatigue-type feeling. Maybe it's just a symptom of the recovery process.

  • Dog-lover Legend 373 posts since
    Mar 5, 2008
    Currently Being Moderated
    4. Jun 1, 2010 9:04 AM (in response to mrsgoose8)
    Re: Neck/shoulder pain after running...

    I had the same problem when I first started getting into longer training runs.  The more you run the more your arms and shoulders will continue to strengthen and you will probably be able to hold your posture better longer over time.  I started doing light weight upper body strength training early on which really helped a lot with my arm and shoulder fatigue. There is a lot of good weight training info specific to running on the web so you might want to do a little research it might help..  Congratulations on your 1/2 marathon also!!

    Quote from Bob Moawad  " You can't make footprints in the sands of time if you are sitting on your butt. And who wants to make buttprints in the sands of time"

    2008 - Grandma's marathon - 4:51            2011 - Get in Gear 1/2 marathon - 1:46

    2009 - Get in Gear 1/2 marathon - 1:49    2011 - Green Bay marathon - 3:51

    2009 - Grandma's marathon - 4:13            2011 - Grandma's marathon - 3:45

    2009 - Twin Cities marathon - 4:02           2011 - Minneapolis Pride 5k - 21:31

    2010 - Grandma's marathon - 3:58 ya hoo!

    2010 - Twin Cities marathhon - 3:55

  • BethAprilLucas Rookie 1 posts since
    Jun 2, 2010
    Currently Being Moderated
    5. Jun 2, 2010 6:49 AM (in response to mrsgoose8)
    Re: Neck/shoulder pain after running...

    I had a similar problem recently. I thought it was odd because I usually have no issue with that on my long runs. Then it occured to me that the sports bra i was wearing was a tad bit too tight. I am pretty large in that area so the increased tension on my shoulders from supporting the girls was causing crazy pain and tension. So I guess I am advising that you should make sure that you have a good fitting sports bra.

  • RunSarahRunNJ Rookie 5 posts since
    Dec 19, 2007
    Currently Being Moderated
    6. Jun 2, 2010 1:03 PM (in response to mrsgoose8)
    Re: Neck/shoulder pain after running...

    I am relatively new to running longer distances and have this problem terribly. I've noticed that towards the end when I am getting tired is when I really start to tense my upper arms, back, shoulders, neck and chest. Sometimes I have trouble breathing days after because my upper torso hurts so much. It's something I have to check on later in a run, "am I tensing, where are my arms?" "relax". I focus on breathing into my lower abdomen rather than upper chest helps. I try to do a few small neck and shoulder rolls and look down for a few breaths to watch my stomach go out as I breathe. It helps refocus me and keeps me straight for a little while at least. Good luck, I know how painful it can be!

  • Debbie95301 Rookie 4 posts since
    Apr 26, 2010
    Currently Being Moderated
    7. Jun 3, 2010 6:22 AM (in response to mrsgoose8)
    Re: Neck/shoulder pain after running...

    It would also help to get regular adjustments from a chiropractor!  That helps me!

  • JasonFitz1 Legend 578 posts since
    Jun 19, 2009
    Currently Being Moderated
    8. Jun 3, 2010 9:22 AM (in response to mrsgoose8)
    Re: Neck/shoulder pain after running...

    The same thing happened to me during my marathon two years ago - I stiffened up after mile 22 as my form suffered.  My shoulders were tight for two days after the race.


    Fixes: gym/core work for your form, a bigger aerobic base so you don't tire as easily, and I'd suggest a massage for your shoulders and neck.  Do you have a foam roller?  They work wonders.


    Good luck!  - Fitz.

    Strength Running
  • RunStephRunCO Amateur 29 posts since
    Mar 11, 2010
    Currently Being Moderated
    9. Jun 6, 2010 5:27 AM (in response to mrsgoose8)
    Re: Neck/shoulder pain after running...

    I wish I could remember which thread I read it on, so I could refer you back to it.  But I read that somebody was advised by their chiro (?) to carry a stick in each hand while running.  It helps to have something for your hands to focus on and your shoulders tend to tense up less.  The more texture/bumps the sticks have, the better.  Better distraction, or something.  I have yet to try it, but I keep meaning to give it a shot.  I can get a tense neck after a really long run...doesn't generally happen on regular runs.  So I can't tell you if it works for sure, but it's worth a try. 

    5/8/10 Grand Valley Half Marathon 2:31:31 - first race...just getting started!

More Like This

  • Retrieving data ...