"Tight" Legs and "Stiff" Lower Back

Dear All

I hope that this finds you all fine and dandy!

I started running in Jan this year and have done 2 x 10k's, with another planned in October.  It is my intention to do a HM by the end of the year and I also reg'd for a charity place in the London Marathon next year!!

My introduction to running has not been without its problems and I have to say that my body has protested BIG TIME all the way! 

I have had hamstring issues - which were resolved with osteopath and stretching - followed by shin/calf issues and a bout of Plantar Fasciitis.  I severely over pronate and am now in custom orthotics.  I "broke them in" with my day2day shoes first and then gradually introduced them into my running shoes (had to get new neutrals - ASICS are ace!) and have been running with them for a month now.  I basically took my running back a notch or two and essentially started from scratch.  In the last month, I have been doing max 5k runs so as not to knacker myself out and let my biomechanics settle.

Please note that prior to January, my body was a temple of wine & fags and I seriously had no exercise regime at all!! image

I haven't lost any weight with the running and am still considered to be overweight.

Anyway....getting to the point.......

I have always suffered with stiffness and tightness in my joints and muscles and have had limited flexibility.  To that end and to help with tight muscles and facilitate better stretching and flex, I started doing Yoga and now do a 20-30 min sesh AFTER each run.  In a good week, I run 3-4 times.

Since doing the Yoga, I can now touch my toes - WOW!  Hadn't done that since I was 13! - so I am chuffed.  However, when I wake in the mornings, I am as stiff as a board!!  My lower back is achey and it takes a good hour before I start to loosen up.

I would really like to run in the mornings before work, but given my current predicament, this could prove challenging!

Additionally, when I run, I am still experiencing lower limb tightness and discomfort and have to stop regularly to mobilise and stretch.  I have been trying to adopt the CHI running principles and make efforts to watch my posture and alignment when I run.  My biggest challenge is learning to actually relax my legs, etc when I am concentrating so hard!! 

Would Cod Liver Oil help?  Y'know to lube up my joints?!

I am wondering if all of this stiffness, etc is basically my body just aligning its new biomechanical position with the introduction of the orthotics.

Does anyone have any additional advice re; activities, exercises, supplements or therapies that may help with the lower back discomfort and leg (hamstring  & calf tension)?

Oh yes, I also have a sports massage every month.

Any advice from my wonderful learned chums here at the forum would be gratefully received!!

Thanks in advance

Hayley x


  • Well done on getting this farimage

    As a fellow orthotic wearer, I'd say it was probably partly due to that and probably partly due to your body being put under considerable amounts of strainimage.

    Stretching works for me - I'm a tad over 21 (well, perhaps a bit more than that....image) and find that I stiffen up so I make sure that I incorporate stretches into every day (obviously in private - would put a few people off their cornflakes if they caught sight of me trying to stretch my hamstringsimage).  I also joined a pilates class so do some of that at home - again every day.  I'm a bath person, so while I'm waiting for my bath to fill in the mornings, I do a 10 - 15 min pilates session combining strengthening with loosening up.

    Probably sounds a bit extreme - but it works for me, so....image

    You could search for back exercises - the inverted v is a good one as it does back, hams and calves.  If you're having sports massage every month, perhaps you could ask the therapist for some exercises.

    Keep at it thoughimage

  • Hia CBJA

     Thank you so much for responding - I appreciate that!

    I am just back from a 5k run and whilst it wasn't easy (it never is!) the lower limb, hamstring and butt discomfort wasn't so bad.  I was paying particular attention to my posture and found that it helped to stop, realign and then move on.

    Like yourself, I am also over 21 image (36 and 3/4 to be exact!!) and am fairly pragmatic in the view that it took 3+ decades for me to get into this state of disrepair (!) so it is only realistic to expect that it will take a while to sort it out!

    Thanks again for your help - stretching is the right thing to do!



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