New runner (sort of) constant calf strain, not sure what to do

Hi everyone, I'm new here and after a bit of advice. I started running again 4 weeks ago (using c2 10k app) to train for a 10k in June and I'm so disappointed! I used to run years ago, nothing amazing just 5k 3 times a week and loved it. I used to get a pull in my right outer calf but it would eventually settle. Now 4 years after stopping I have tried to start again and the problem Is back but so so much worse. Week 1 it started feeling like something was going to snap after about 20 mins of walk/jog. Week 2 it was after 15 minutes. Week three it started in both calves so I took a week off to rest it in case I'd over worked them. Now back on it and they both not only pull and tighten but burn and when is top walking and stand still the pain seems to escalate. I've increased my warm up and cool down time and added in extra stretches. I'm not sure what else I can do. It's so disheartening having to stop running when I'm not even out of puff! I don't really want to go into a running shop and as advice as I'd be embarrassed, I'm about 3 stone heavier then I was when i used to run and its knocked my confidence a bit, this could also be making my calves worse! But I'd hoped running would help get me back into shape. Any suggestions? Xx


  • I've been suffering with a calf strain recently and was advised to do daily calf strengthening excercises.  This is quite simple and involves standing on my toes on one leg and slowly raising myself up and down on my toes.

    It can be done anywhere or anytime (I've just been doing it whilst stood watching footy on tv).  I don;t really count the reps, just carry on until it starts to acha bit, but probably 2 set of 20-30 on each leg.

    I also use a foam roller for extra stretching.

  • Thanks Lou I've also been told to get a sports massage (ouch!) I should have known I'd need one as I am a therapist lol! I will try the stretches today and then invest in a foam roller. X
  • Are you going too fast and overloading yourself? Its too easy to do too much too fast too soon when starting up again (however much you did before, your muscles wont like having the stuffing taken out now) and the extra weight will only add to that.

    Try slowing right down, take it easy, and build up distance gradually, stay on each week until it feels easy, not add more cos the plan says so. The weight will move once you settle down again, so thats not a worry. Find out whats comfortable, and dont exceed that. Oh, and ignore people who tell you to push through pain! if it hurts, stop, it may well be hurt more than you think and you dont want to make it any worse.

    +1 for the roller


  • If none of the above work look at different shoes. I was same until got support shoes

  • Are you using your calves to push off or just to land?  If you're pushing off then it's quite likely that you're overusing your calf muscles.  Shorter strides might help a little along with a focus on lifting your other leg and leaning forwards rather than pushing from behind. 


    Of course, it could be something else entirely but if it's come back after a long time off it's quite possible that there's a problem with the way you run.

  • Thank you for your advice everyone! I thought I'd get it under control with some extra warming up, compression sock and paying attention to how I run, I managed to do a 30 minute jog with no flare ups. But it has come back again with a vengance so I'm going to the sweatshop tomorrow to get my gait looked at and get some advise on my running technique. Ill probably need new trainers as I'm running in my old neutral support ones from years ago. I noticed since my accident 4 years ago I'm leaning to the right slightly and putting all my weight on my right outer foot along my little toe, all my shoes are worn on that side, never noticed it before until a client of mine that runs a lot pointed it out. She said I'm probably underpronating? Which I don't think I did before.
  • Nose NowtNose Nowt ✭✭✭

    Just one other thought - how are you warming up? For years I used to stretch before exercise (which was the way I was taught when young).  I then went on a running course, where they said this is absolutely wrong...  and stretching is only to be done at the end of exercise, when the muscles are warm and receptive to stretching.

    I'd had a persistent minor groin strain for years...  and a change from 'static' stretch warm-ups to

    dynamic warm ups coincided with that problem virtually disappearing.

  • Good point RW, I had to do the same, as the oldschool way was stretch before you run, which actually caused me some problems last year before I learnt the right way.

    Only stretch warm muscles (and then only lightly, your only taking tension out, not trying to make them 50% longer!), dynamicly warm cold ones image

  • Hi Im on a 3 month loading program for my achilles/calves as it caused me all sorts of issues.  This is the advice I recieved.

    1. stop running immediately and cycle using mid foot, walking is ok but cycling ans swimming are good.
    2. Never walk around in bare feet EVER, literally put something on that is raised at the heel [or buy a heel raise] the moment you get out of bed.
    3. Stretch the calves as often as possible
    4. start the loading program 3 sets of 10 3 times a day with toes on a step and try to lower the heel below the horizontal and raise as was described earlier
    5. Ice the calf and tendon only for 5 mins at any time, if the calf/achilles go white it has been on too long.  Do not lay your leg onto the ice pack this is BAD.  Ensure the ice is sat next to the area and not restricting the blood flow.
    6. Have treatment at least once a week for the first 4 weeks or so.  This is usually ultra-sound on the achilles and deep massage on the calf.
    7. Get some proper orthotics for running or go and get a good assessment of your running style at a local running store.
    8. If necessary and you have the wallet go and get some bespoke orthotics made circa £200!

    Im 3 weeks into this program and my calfs and achilles are feeling better.  the loading program is morning noon and night for 3 months with increased intensity as my calfs get stronger.  Im told this will be the end of my calf problems  I HOPE SO!!!

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