Running noob here, why can't I run for longer than two days?

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jun 15, 2013 4:26 AM GMT
    Hey more experienced runners! icon_smile.gif I'm pretty new to the sport. I've tried running every summer for the past few years but never really did it full time.

    I'm trying to run four or five days a week, but unfortunately my legs can't last that long. I know you're supposed to take days of rest, but last week on Wednesday I tried running and barely made it over a mile before calling it quits, and so I took over a week off. Today I went back to it again and my legs were STILL sore. This can't be normal. Once again today my calves and shins only let me go over a mile before giving out. Meanwhile back when I first started I could at least make it to three miles or so without any problems.

    Every time I go running I eventually get calf cramps, a pain in my mid-lower back and a sharp pain in my shins. I'm sure my back pain could be fixed with posture, I probably lean too far forward. But I don't know what to do about my leg pain. I stretch my leg muscles and that helps but it doesn't help enough so that I feel comfortable while running.

    I mean my leg muscles are sore and that feels great, and then there's the harsher pain I keep getting in my calves, shins and back that make it impossible to run. Is it because I'm landing too hard? My shoes aren't anything special, are actual running shoes really worth it? Is it because I'm pushing my body too hard in a sport it's not used to? Although that can't be it, that means I'd exercise for a little bit, barely break a sweat and then stop. Is it because I'm running on sidewalks and not on soft trails?

    Thanks for any help you guys might have!
  • Fable

    Posts: 3866

    Jun 15, 2013 1:31 PM GMT
    What kicks are you running in?



    Investing in shoes that properly support your feet is essential otherwise you're gonna get shin splints (you're starting to feel the beginning of it)
  • Markguy

    Posts: 36

    Jun 15, 2013 1:40 PM GMT
    I'm no expert, but I've been running for a few years. Here are some of my thoughts:

    1. Do you walk long distances? If you can't walk a long distance, you probably won't be able to run a long distance.

    2. Shoes really can make a big difference. Many people over-pronate when they run (their ankles roll in too much). This can cause all sorts of aches and pains and muscle problems. Look for a store that specializes in running shoes and offers "gait analysis." This usually involves putting you on a treadmill for a few minutes, videotaping you while running, and analyzing your gait. The service should be free -they want to sell you shoes you'll be comfortable in so you keep coming back. After analyzing your gait they'll be able to recommend shoes that give you the right amount of pronation control.It really can make a big difference.

    3. Those same speciality running shoe stores often offer free running clinics and running clubs - that's how I got started. I attended a regular Saturday morning clinic followed by a run. They can give you all kinds of good advice about your problems - they're usually staffed by dedicated runners. If they can't help you, they can certainly point you to people who can. These people love running and genuinely want others to get involved. They also want you to keep running to sell you more shoes, so they're not going to steer you wrong.

    Good luck!
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jun 15, 2013 2:16 PM GMT
    Listen to your body mate.

    When pain shows up that's your body doing what it needs to do to get your brain to listen and stop abusing yourself while it repairs damage.

    When you introduce new work patterns to an area of your body (like running as a new activity) the muscle and supporting tissue are going to tear under the new load you place on them. That's normal and when you allow the damage to heal properly the new tissue and other systems (like more efficient energy burning) increases/improves. If you don't allow for the rebuilding/adjusting by eating well, icing the damaged area, and sleeping well and NOT using the damaged parts of your body, the result will be a stronger faster body. For many people, they also need to look at the mechanics of how they work their body — if the mia-skeletal balance is off (pro or supinating the ankle for eg) they will repeat the injury.

    'Shin splints' (a vague term for a range of damage) tend to occur in new runners because a small area of tissue and bone is being put under an enormous amount and frequency of loading. In particular, the pain often appears in the sheath of tissue that encases the lower leg muscles. This fascia tissue doesn't stretch as freely to work with the expanding pressure of the muscles and that causes one form of pain from the increased internal pressure of the muscle, and this tends to cause a pulling away from the bone that the fascia (typ at the shin) is also attached to. You also have tendons and bursa and ligaments that are being pushed to work beyond what they have prior to running and so obviously the whole system is put into adaptive response.

    If you don't respect your body's alarm system you're going to get pain, and then chronic pain. Be its friend not its enemy.
  • toybrian

    Posts: 395

    Jun 15, 2013 4:31 PM GMT
    Hey Buddy, first invest in some good running shoes only and then try either running on the grass or the street like I do..More even on the street and last run every other day unless you are just starting out ,,,then run every 3 days till you get to some good mileage. Do not overdo it because that might be why you are hurting. Listen to your body and when it says rest then so it...unless you are training for a marathon then run every other day to help your body get used to it..I run every other day and have been for over 20 yrs. and love my 5k and 10k races..Good luck to you..
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jun 15, 2013 7:38 PM GMT
    What the others said about the shoes! Get to a running specialist store for an eval and the right fit. And yes, it's possible the shoes are contributing to your leg pain.

    You didn't say how fast your pace is, but that might also be something to evaluate. It sounds like you might be trying to go too fast for the condition you're in. Until your body adapts to the new stress, slow down and run 2-4 days per week - while wearing the right shoes. Once you can run pain free, the general rule of thumb is a 10-15%/week increase in total mileage.

    My experience as a track coach has been that swimmers typically have a great cardiovascular system that can handle long up-tempo runs, but the legs can't. Instant shin splints is frequent amongst the swimmers. I've recommended that they do heel walks on a regular basis during the swim season and for those that have followed through, we've been good.

    Good luck!
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jun 15, 2013 8:43 PM GMT
    I'm gonna try and say what I didn't see when I skimmed earlier:

    1. Do you stretch? A lot? My stretching can take a long time. I have like 10-15 thing I do depending on how heavy the run and what I haven't stretched in a while. I do know I should be probably stretch more often.

    2. Get a 'stick.' It helps me recover faster and that's what is important.
    http://www.amazon.com/s/?ie=UTF8&keywords=the+stick&tag=googhydr-20&index=aps&hvadid=22843744397&hvpos=1t2&hvexid=&hvnetw=g&hvrand=775732510195922423&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=b&hvdev=c&ref=pd_sl_46iayl0p70_b

    3. At no point have I seen how much you are running except that you can't run more than a mile. Increasing your mileage can be tough on the body. Really tough for some people and possibly you. How you increase is up to you but this article seemed to describe it well:
    http://strengthrunning.com/2010/06/how-to-increase-mileage/

    Even though I love to run I can't run on concrete. My knees will kill me/prevent going up stairs. I experience the same pain when I increase my mileage above 50. That was the limit I hit multiple where I would get severe knee pain. Just remember that your body is pretty damn smart when it comes to running. As you run more you'll understand what each pain means. Can I ignore this cramp today? Is this just a temporary funny feeling?

    I don't know your experience with running so I just tried to be helpful. Get better soon.

    PS get a shoes from a running. They are expensive, but usually come with a good guarantee and service.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jun 16, 2013 2:54 AM GMT
    I agree with runnerjc, you probably need to run more slowly. Here's a recent run of mine; 12 minutes a mile. Slow, nice and slow. I'm not trying to prove anything, just running for the fun and health benefits.

    If you're into geeky toys, one of these garmin watches is fun to have so that you can automatically record your runs. Got mine on amazon. I do 20 minutes or so of spinning on a stationary bicycle just before the run. It's important to do a warm up before, and some say it's better to stretch after the run, not before, so that's what I do.

    http://connect.garmin.com/activity/328359798
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Aug 10, 2013 11:34 PM GMT
    Can't believe I never replied to this...

    Just wanted to say thanks to all of you! icon_smile.gif You all had a lot of great advice that I'm very thankful for. With my next paycheck I'm investing in some running shoes which should definitely help. Also plan on lowering the intensity of my runs by a little bit so I don't get burned out so easily, and I'll try the "gradually adding mileage" strategy that was in the article that PGroove mentioned.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Aug 10, 2013 11:45 PM GMT
    And run slow! There's no need to run fast. Running slow and being able to stick with it is better than running fast and getting injuries and not being able to stick with it. Slow, SLOW, S L O W. 11 minute mile, 12, 13; whatever.