Have you ever decided to start running only to experience pain in your knees and legs? Every time I tried out different C25K programs (Couch to 5km) I would end up with either knee pain or shin splints within the first week. After several attempts I browsed through forums and articles trying to find a solution to my problem. According to my “research” there were several suspect reasons for my pain.
- Inadequate footwear
- Too much too soon (distance/speed)
- Not enough stretching
- Foam roller, lunges, and squats highly recommended
I had already bought a pair of running shoes and tried repeating ‘day 1’ of the C25K running program. I had also made sure to stretch before and after running. This didn’t make things better so I bought a foam roller.
The foam roller was nice to use to roll out my legs, but I couldn’t use it sideways for my IT band because it was just too painful.
What did work for me was an exercise DVD called Strong Knees. I wasn’t able to buy the DVD because they don’t sell it in Korea, but I was able to watch it through a Gaiam TV free trial. Since last November I’ve done some of the exercises whenever I remembered to do them. Usually I do them right before I fall asleep in bed. I know they work because I can now alternate between walking and running in 5 minute intervals for a total of 35 minutes. I can also do squats and lunges without feeling pain in my knees and use the foam roller as long as I don’t put my entire weight on it.
Another thing I’ve changed is the way I run. I used to be a heel striker but now I land on my forefoot. The first couple times left my leg muscles sore but it wasn’t painful. It was more like the ache you feel when you use muscle and went away by the 3rd run.
I’m still a beginner so I still have to build a lot of endurance and strength, but I’m glad that I can run at least 35 minutes without feeling pain. Hopefully if I continue the exercises I’ll be able to keep running pain-free.