transition from trail running to road running

Hi Everyone,

I started running again in January of this year after a year long break (I was not a big runner before I stopped I should point out).   I run in the forest behind my house and I am currently doing 5.5km 3 times a week.   The trail starts off on concrete (from my house to the forest), then hard clay road before moving into softer forest lanes, small gravelly lanes, then stony/muddy (depending on the weather) trails, back to clay then finishing on concrete again.

I want to run a few 10K's this year and in my region they are practially all on road so I thought I should try to do some road running to see how I faired.   Last night I only managed 2km before I had to stop with painful calves.   Very painful calves.   I have had shin splints in the past and although it wasn't nearly as painful it was edging on a 6 out of 10.

Some history and facts so that you can help me out better:

I am overweight, but working on it.   Lost 8 kilos since I started running in January.   When running trails I have some slight calf pain at the 1km mark but is passes before the 2km mark - so I have put it down to muscle adjustment.   After my 5.5km run I am tired but always feel like I could do more - slowly stepping up the pace and distance.

When I run on the road before and after the trail run I feel no pain.   I have always run in the morning before breakfast until last night when I ran on the road and had the calf pain - I started running at 20h30....could it be my body had started shutting down for bed?   Perhaps my body only likes morning running.....I don't know if that is even a thing.

I got my gait checked by a professional on Saturday who filmed me running (on a treadmill) and bought new trainers to help my right foot which turns in (from the ankle, it's weird and difficult to describe).   They are Adidas (cannot remember the full name, will check tonight).   I used them for a 5.5km trail run and although I had some pain (2 from 10) on my right foot from the correction, I guess, nothing too severe.   I used those ones for my road run. 

Should I try a road run with my old trainers (Spira and Mizuno) to see if they are better? 

Is it normal to feel so much pain when I don't feel that much before and after the trail run?   It is only about 600m of road before and after.   But the clay road is also very hard and also doesn't hurt (also about 500m).

Sorry for the uber long post and thank you for any help you can give me.   I determined to stick to my running this time!





  • Hi Fiona, congratulations on the weight loss this year! With regards to the pain you're experiencing, you're trying a couple of new things at once so it is difficult to work out exactly what's causing it. Howere, the pain your describing sounds as though it's likely to be musclar and so perhaps related to a different foot position in your new trainers. If the pain was due to road running it would more likely be impact-related which would be skeletal pain, but it sounds as though your legs are fairly used to hard surfaces already.

    Try using your normal trainers when road running for a while, or alternatively use your new trainers on your familiar trail route. If the pain persists go back to your running shop and speak with them; they ought to be able to help you if you feel it's your shoes causing the problem.

    Good luck!

  • Yep, I hear you about too many new things!!!

    So, tomorrow I'm going to run my normal route in my new shoes! I have done it once already and experienced a little pain but not much. Then next Tuesday (which is my next short run day) i'm going to try road running again in my new shoes!

    I will return with an update.....

    And thank you!!
  • no problem, good luck!

  • Hi Canary,

    So as promised a few more bits and pieces of information.


    My trainers are Adidas Supernova.

    I ran twice a 3.6km run - half forest trail and half tarmac and did not get any pain either time.   Both of those were early morning runs.

    I ran my 5.6km normal run (about 1km of tarmac, rest forest) and did not get any pain then either.   Again early morning.

    So it is looking good, the only thing I have not replicated is a late night run.   So I will try that this week, or next and see how my legs are.

    I have one annoying thing with my new trainers - the right lace comes loose after about 2.5km and I have to stop to tighten it.   My right foot is my gammy one so I guess it has something to do with that!

    But, otherwise all good.

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