The initial days and weeks of the Couch 2 5K program are still fresh in my memory. Ooooh, the soreness. My left hip was constantly bothering me and my feet hurt.
There were so many times I wondered if it would always hurt.
If you’re just starting out and you’re wondering the same thing, I want you to know it gets better.
You’re training your body to do something it’s never done before. This is all new. It will take some time for your body to learn and adjust to what you’re telling it to do.
Expect soreness, but if your body moves beyond annoying aches and pains to severe pain, then do not continue running. That is your body’s way of telling you something’s not right.
Listen to your body.
Here are several ways to deal with and prevent the aches and pains:
Invest in Good Shoes
To prevent my feet from continually hurting I bought a good pair of running shoes (we’ll talk more later about getting properly fitted for shoes) and stopped tying my shoes so tight. How old are the shoes you’re running in? Is it time to upgrade?
Dynamic Stretching Before
These can include things like walking lunges, butt kicks, knee raises, etc. The idea is to get your muscles warmed up. Here’s a short video showing dynamic stretches.
Static Stretching After
These are the stretches you hold in place for a certain length of time. These are better to do after running when your muscles are warm and flexible.
Here’s a short list of links to stretches targeting different areas:
I foam roll after almost every run to massage out any knots. There are lots of different ones on the market to choose from. I use this foam roller. We’ll spend an entire post on specific ways to use the foam roller, so I won’t go into lengthy details today. I feel very strongly that it’s one of the things that’s helped keep me injury free since training for my first half.
Be sure you are incorporating some kind of strength training into your routine. When you run, you build up the same muscles over and over again to the neglect of the other surrounding muscles. Here’s the thing: You need all of those surrounding muscles to be strong in order to help the muscles you use when you run.
It doesn’t have to be fancy.