Sore calves and front foot running


I would love to take up running but, having done some sprinting in my youth, I am naturally a front foot runner and find it very difficult to run any other way. This would be fine except I now find that if I run any distance I get very sore calves very quickly and the stiffness can last for up to two weeks. This really puts me off running but I would love to find a way around it. Does anyone have any advice?



  • A good long stretch really is the only thing I can suggest. 
  • Get yourself a decent pair of runing shoes - look up a good running shop such as Up & Running, and go and get your gait analysed.  This will tell you the kind of shoe that would suit you best.  The right shoe makes ALL the difference, as I can testify. 

    And plenty of stretching of course!

  • take it slowly with forefoot if your calves are aching it will pass - just don't push the distance too soon. 

    And stretch 

  • Typical things that can cause calf pain are

    • overstriding (landing on forefoot ahead of centre of gravity)
    • pushing off from landing
    • artificially holding heels up(its OK to let heels drop to touch the ground if they want to - even as a forefoot runner, important thing is to have no tension in feet)

    play with increasing your cadence and deliberately shortening you stride to see if that helps.

    Consider seeing a Pose method or Chi running coach to fix any technique issues with your forefoot style

     good luck

  • Agree with banjobax.
    Take it very easy and your calves will adjust. From what I've read, forefoot running can injure your toes in the long term though, so aim more for the midfoot.

    I'm currently trying to get off my heel, so have had to start running almost from scratch (mih!). Only did half a km yesterday (barefoot on treadmill) as I'm being careful to ease my forgotten foot muscles into it. But the feeling is completely different - much more enjoyable than clunky heavy heel striking.

    Good luck.
  • Sprinters land forefoot. Typically distance runners don't but many go from sprinting to distance and land forefoot by default.

    Some people teach themselves to land forefoot and others do so naturally without thinking.

    Methinks that you are starting out running too far. Those of us who have taught ourselves to forefoot strike found that we needed to build up the distance gradually even if we could run quite far heel striking.

    I know everyone says stretch but it doesn'twork for me, I know there is advice on touching the ground with you heel, I do this and still have tight calves, I don't overstride. Only thing I can think is that a greater rest period is needed between sessions - as you have found the tightness can last quite some time. I have found that even cycling can cause sore tight calves.

    I use a foam roller and a rolling pin to massage my calves, not even sure if this works. I swim a lot and spend time in the pool just doing a crawl kick - this works best for me - you can do this out of water but it's not so much fun as I love swimming.

    Oh - running shoes - go for neutral shoes, pronation control shoes will muck up your running ad you don't really need them, they also don't allow your heel to land as the have a lot of cushoning on the heel. This might be part of the problem?

    Another thing is to warm your muscles up - start very slowly, a lot slower than you are. Most of us set out too fast, maybe do some dynamic stretches after a couple of minutes of slow jogging. If I'm not warmed up before a run I feel like I'm running through concrete.

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