My calf muscles remain stiff several hours after jogging - reasons?
I've been doing the C25K running program so I am quite new to running. At first, I thought the stiffness in my calves would kind of go away as I built up strength, but I notice sometimes my calf muscles are stiff well into the following day. I warm up before doing any kind of running, and I do some yoga stretches at night, so I am not sure if the stiffness is due to running itself? Could I be needing different running shoes? (I run more on the front of my foot than a heel strike) Not sure what I'm doing wrong - any advice? I want to stick it out and do the full 5k sometime this summer.
try icing it. or maybe it just takes some time for the muscles to heal because you are new to running. more protein?
You could try stretching a little bit more before and after the run and keep doing them at night. If you have them in your area, try going to a shoe store that specializes in running shoes and ask them if you are wearing the proper shoes for your activity. Take some more time to jog a bit slower as you build up the endurance since you haven't jogged in a while. Sometimes taking it slow helps a lot. I have been hiking 2 years and I still cannot walk up elevation at a normal pace with losing breath and stopping -- however if I drastically slow down I don't have to stop at all. I hike with people over the age of 60 and they always leave me behind in their dust!
Congratulations for running a 5K this summer and good luck!
Mine do that also. It could be a medical condition or it could be that you haven't stretched or warmed up well enough. I soak in a warm bath or use heating pads on my legs when they are sore like that and it relieves the discomfort.
Running with a forefoot strike as you mentioned demands a bit more from your calves, ankles, and feet versus a heel strike. It is normal for your calves, ankles, and feet to feel tired, stiff, and even hurt while your legs adjust to having to support your body during running. Imagine doing calf raises for 30 minutes!
Anyway, this is the same reason why there was an uptick in running injuries when the barefoot/minimal running trend caught on several years back. People thought they could just buy those minimal shoes (like Vibram's five toe ones) and expect to run the same distance they did when they were heel striking with well cushioned shoes.
My advice is to continue to stretch and be patient while your calves and even feet adjust to the forefoot strike. I highly recommend easing into the distance and time so you can avoid injury. I have recently switched to a minimal cushioned shoe (and a forefoot strike) and it took a few weeks before my calves stopped screaming at me after every run.
Soak in warm/hot water with epsom salts when you return from jogging - it will take the pain away.
Shoes could be the problem, but make sure to stretch those particular muscles really well before doing any sort of warm up exercise or the run. Stretching is my least favorite part of exercise, but every time I don't do it, I end up with pain like you are describing. Also, make sure to look up proper stretches for the appropriate muscles. A lot of common stretches are actually bad for you.
It could be the shoes. Like you need to change your oil in your car, you also need to change your shoes after a while. Its not an exact number, so if you're an avid runner, once a year. Could also be you have the wrong kind of shoes. My sure you do have running shoes. Maybe invest in some extra cushioning inside the shoe depending on the height of the arch in your feet.
Running on pavement does put a lot of harsh impact on your knees. My suggestion is try a softer surface like grass or even using a treadmill for a little than moving to pavement.
Most likely could be the nutrition or hydration aspect. Not eating or drinking water after a long run with leave you depleted of nutrients and electrolytes leading to stiffness and cramping of the muscles. Try drinking water and food with potassium after a run
I think that you're on the right track with doing yoga to stretch things out. You might want to try a foam roller, although it is quite painful starting out.
A lot of your issue could just be that you are new to running. It takes a while to build up the calf muscles necessary to run without experiencing that kind of muscle tightness.
Proper hydration and intake of protein is important too. Have a small snack and some water before you run, and then make sure to hydrate after you run.
You might want to try Gatorade, Powerade, or coconut water to replenish all the electrolytes that you use while running, and eat something high in protein to rebuild your muscles.
I'm with you on the forefoot strike, and that definitely is strenuous on the calves, but it eventually will give you great calf muscles.
I switched to wearing minimalist shoes a few years ago, and I'll never go back. Some people say that they cause injuries (and they do without proper preparation), but when I bought mine, I simply followed the instructions on the website where I purchased them (doing calf and foot strengthening exercise before beginning runs) and eased into running longer distances.
Aside from some initial calf soreness and blisters, they've been awesome. I love them!
All runner experience muscle soreness from time to time, but these six tips will help you to get back on your feet in a hurry rather than letting tight muscles slow you down. read more
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