Doing a couch to 5k programme but knees are killing me

Doing a couch to 5k programme but knees are killing me

Samantha S Samantha S

Hi,  I am 42 years old and thought I was reasonably fit.  I have always done lots of walking but wanted to give running a try so I have joined a beginners class, a couch to 5K kind of programme.  Three weeks into the programme both my of  knees are absolutely killing me.  I ran 2miles on Monday in bursts of 2 1/2 minutes alternated with 30 seconds of walking we covered 3 miles in total. Today is Friday and I still can't run as my knees hurt too much.  The pain is on the inside of the knee.  I am probably a little underweight and I have bought good quality running shoes which I had fitted after being analysed on a treadmill.  The trainer and the running shop have checked my gait which seems fine.  Am I just too out of shape and what can I do to get back on track?  Any advice would be much appreciated.


simscriv simscriv


Hey Samantha, I'm 43, overweight and experiencing the same thing; I'm 6 weeks into a C25K and my knees are hurting like never before. I ran and cycled for many years and was an infantry soldier for 8 years. I'm trying Prosport knee supports bought from Lloyds Pharmacy £7 something, I leave them on all day and take off before sleeping. I'm also using Deep Heat rub on the knees three times a day but have red cold packs are more benefical.. I'll let you know how I get on!

Samantha S Samantha S

Posted in reply to simscriv

Thank you for replying and I am sorry you are also having knee problems. It sounds as if you were much fitter than me to start with. I will try the knee supports and Deep Heat.  Our running route is partially uphill and I wonder if it has just been too much too soon.  I feel like a failure when no one else is struggling.  I have read that you should "Ice" the knees for 15 mins so I will try that.  Good luck, hope your knees recover soon.

penny carroll penny carroll

Posted in reply to Samantha S

Hi Samantha. After running try a cold bath, it's horrible, if you can't manage that, then cold water sprayed on your knees whole you sit on the bath, might help.

Samantha S Samantha S

Posted in reply to penny carroll

Thanks for the tip Penny.  I am a bit of a wimp when it comes to cold water but I will give it a go.  

Shea Shea

Posted in reply to Samantha S

Have a look at this site, they give a list (with demo photos) of exercises to strengthen and increase flexibility in knees and other joints /. muscles.

A great little resource, and it is FREE!

Hope you soon recover, Shea

Samantha S Samantha S

Posted in reply to Shea

Fantastic, that is just what I need.  Thank you Shea.  I am due to go for a run tomorrow with my class.  I worry that if I miss a week I won't be able to keep up.  My knees are still a bit sore and sitff. Not sure whether I should go or not.

Amy S Amy S


I'm so glad I read this!I am 36,and have always walked,but have never been a runner.My twin sister(who never ran either)and I decided to start training for a 5K together.After the first week I took off 3 days,mainly because of the heat.The 3rd day my knees felt a little tight and sore,so I decided to just walk that day to help "loosen" them up,but it made it worse!It has now been 8 days since I last ran,and 6 days with horrible knee pain!I have been doing the R.I.C.E with very little relief.I'm weary of taking anything because I am nursing.

I'm just so frustrated because we signed up for a 5K,and my sister isn't having any problems,and I am falling behind!I didn't have my shoes fitted,but they are high quality,and I have supports too.My sister has Target shoes and no supports-we are both at the same fitness level,and weight???

It's just nice to hear that I'm not the only one having this problem,and I guess I just have to be patient and wait it out.By the way-how are you doing now?

martinallen72 martinallen72

Posted in reply to Amy S

Knee pain is a result of poor form - usually heel striking (i.e. landing heel first like we do when we walk). You said you have had your gait checked, so I presume they would have told you if you were over-striding and landing heel first.

If it's not where you land, then knee and tendon strength would be the next area to look at, as mentioned above. Make sure you stretch properly after running as well.

Also, make sure you have loose hips and tight abs - these all affect the pressures on other parts of the body. Yoga can help, as can normal ab and hip exercises. The whole body needs to take some of the strain, so if it's just on the knees, you can imagine the stress they would go through.

calcanealkid calcanealkid

Posted in reply to martinallen72

I would be careful about any form of support that does the work of the muscles for us. The muscle then ends up wasting (atrophies) however slight.

Similar thing with whiplash and a 'collar' - that's why they are now rarely given out.

By all means try a knee support whilst running, if you must and if you do feel it helps, but I would want to walk unaided as going to bed without the support wouldn't really tell me if my knee was improving when not so heavily loaded as in walking compared to running.

Good luck


sharalou sharalou

Posted in reply to calcanealkid

I am a few months into running now and the one thing I've learned is to stretch, stretch, stretch!  It might take a few weeks to really start working but it definitely helps.  I suffered shin pain on and off for several months so know how frustrating this is for you. Those post-run stretches really do work and help alleviate some of the muscle soreness the next day too.  The latest edition of Runner's World magazine has some exercises to help the knees, I noticed.  Although I'm no expert, I believe stretching the Iliotibial Band can help with knee pain.