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I just started running a few weeks ago, and have probably run about 8 times now. When I first started running, the sides of my shins started hurting (really bad) after only the first minute of my run. I am trying a slow buildup by running 60 sec, walking 90, running 60, etc. Well, after 8 runs, I sort of figured that my legs would at least show some signs of getting used to the extra stress of running, but when I went out yesterday to run, not only did my shins hurt even worse, but my upper legs began to hurt, as well as my lower back and left knee. I have good shoes from a legit running store, and I hadn't run for two days until yesterday. Should I keep running and give my legs more time to get used to running? Is it normal for my legs to hurt even more than they did when I first started? Or is it time to go see a doctor? Please help!
Thank you all for your help and support.
Oh, I almost forgot. I usually stretch before a run, but often neglect to stretch afterwards. Would stretching before and after a run help? Thanks everyone.


Welcome to the asylum!

You'll get a few different answers I'm sure, but being the resident caveman-runner, I'm going to spout off that yes, it's all normal. Distance running is simply the toughest thing you can put your legs through. But the flipside is, you'll get the greatest rewards once your strength and endurance come around.

I'm also not going to advocate stretching as the be-all and end-all for the aches. Granted it can help to a certain degree, it's not the silver bullet. As simple as it sounds, day after day, week after week, getting out there and putting in the time is what it will really take.

A few things to ease those aches in the meantime. One is to be sure the surfaces you run on are the softest you can find. Avoid concrete as much as you can. Asphalt is somewhat better. Rubberized tracks or a treadmill are a notch better. And the best is going to be grass, dirt or a woodchip type trail.

Those shin splits are what I'd say is your biggest hurdle right now. When you finish a run, take a frozen papercup of ice and for ten minutes, tear off the top of the cup to have an icy surface to rub along your shins. It'll do wonders to reduce the inflammation and aches. Do it even a couple more times later in the day to help with recovering. There is also a good "shin strengthener" exercise. Lay on your back a couple feet from a wall so you can lift your legs and bend your knees at a ninety degree angle and be able to "tap" your toes on the wall. Just the weight of your calves and the tapping exercise will be a good little routine to get those thin shin muscles beefed up some. Do this frequently through the day and keep it up for a good many weeks after the shin splits go away.

I know it sounds like self-destruction to tell you to keep plugging away, but there really is a benefits going on that you don't realize in some of those upper leg, lower back and knee twinges. Get a spousal massage or a trip to the hot-tub on your off days. And on your "non-running" days, get out for a walk or pedal the bicycle around for awhile, anything to keep limber and loose.

Good luck and keep us posted. :D


Thanks for the help, jrjo. I'll try the ice thing today after I run.


First of all WELCOME! :wavey:

I'm dealing with and recovering from a bought with shin splints as well. Do take the time to stretch before and after each run. It does help out considerably. I have even had to stop during a few of my runs to stretch even more. It's a slow, frustrating process to go through and recover from that's for sure.

Another thing to do is to rest (which is also frustrating to do) and give your body a break from the running. I had to switch from running to using the elliptical machine during the worst week of having shin splints. Not what I wanted to do, but it was the only thing that I could do to condition.

You mentioned that you have bought your shoes from a running store. That is good. Could you possibly need a different shoe to run in? The shoes you bought might have felt great when trying them on, but they might not be the best to run in. It takes a while to find the "right fit" with running shoes sometimes and that might be the cause to your additional pain. You have not put a lot of milege on the shoes you have now and perhaps you could return them? This is just my :twocents:

Good Luck!

Let us know how you do! :D


you have gotten great advice here.

Your shoes could be a problem.

Your surface could be a problem.

And simply an overuse comes from not being ready to do what you are doing.

like jrjo said, things are happening, and you will start to feel better, but only if you keep running.

His ice suggestion is also right on the money.

I have nothing new to offer, but just wanted to throw my weight behind what has already been said here.


Welcome aboard Chief. A little more info might be helpful. Were/are you active in any other sports that would help strengthen your legs? If you are a true rookie to exercise then I would attribute most of what you're experiencing to normal aches and pains.

If on the the other hand you were active in a regular walking regiment, soccer, basketball, etc. I think a lot of it points towards your shoes. Sometimes even the "experts" at the running shoe stores don't get it right - it's a complex issue. Maybe a second opinion on proper shoe is warranted.

Either way, hopefully you get it ironed out and can stick to it. Running is THE best way to keep yourself physically fit.



I personally need a lot of stretching. However I don't stretch before a run. I just make sure that the first mile or so is at a slower pace. After the run though I am sure to stretch. I find that if I don't I am in trouble the next day. When stretching be sure to listen to your body, don't over stretch, that is the quickess way to hurt yourself. Besure to stretch before you ice.

As far as the shin splints go, I would stretch your calves after a run and be sure to do some strengthening exercises. One thing you can do is while you are sitting at your desk or watching TV write out the alphabet with each foot. This will get your shin muscles working.

As far as the knee hurting, what kind of pain are you having?

For the shoes, what kind of shoes did you get? do you have high arches? low or neutral?

Here is an article on Shin splints.


Thanks everyone for your replies! I can't believe the response and support I got! I hope that I can answer everyone's questions.

I run in new balance 470s, almost always on asphalt. One of the trails I run on is asphalt with a few dirt/grass patches. My arches are a tad high (thats what they said at the store) but really REALLY close to neutral. I used to be active in high school, but I haven't done any sports in probably 2-3 years (since I went to college).

I'm going running again tomorrow, so I will be able to try all these great ideas. Thanks everyone for your help and support.


Hello, Chief, and welcome to the mob action in progress!

To, perhaps, make an enhancement on one of jr's recommendations, the surface you run on is a big factor. And, of course, a soft course is easier on your body than concrete. But the best place to go is a maintained, groomed trail - usually in a park or forest. While the grass and dirt paths are better than hard surfaces, you can't guarantee they are level. Or that they have ruts or holes - running in twilight or in inclement weather, you may not spot these in time.

Even on a maintained trail, you also do have to be aware - pay more attention to it - after a rain. Puddles can hide holes and ruts. Like a lot of running related things, just use your common sense, and you'll do fine. And - like I think darn near everyone has said here - be patient. Don't rush. Good things will start to happen, and sooner than you think.


Welcome Chief :wavey:

Another good ice trick are either flexible ice packs or a bag of frozen peas or carrots. Iceing is a huge part of recouperating. Having been inactive for a while i'd say that it is your "growing pains" of getting active again.
I persoanlly like to warm up and streatch before i run, not a full out stetch but just limber up the muscles once warm. This has helped me out a lot. as you'll soon see everyone has an opinion on what to do. Something else you might want to pay attention to is if you are "slapping" your foot down instead of a heel to toe roll. if you find you are aslpping concentrate on a heel to toe roll. Of cource this is all subject to change as you change too. you are aboput to become a work in progress.



HI! Welcome.

A couple of things that helped me when I started out... I had shin splints really bad, and someone at another site gave me a great little exercise to do at home (at night, whenever you are not going to be running) to relieve shin splints, and I'll post that below.

Another thing... You need a warm-up walk when you're just beginning... can you manage a 5-minute walk before you begin your first run? Also, afterward... the best way for me to stretch my legs after my training runs was to walk walk walk. I do a 20-45 minute walk after each training run. By the time I got done I was feeling completely fine, and my legs had stopped hurting. You'll also burn more calories with the extra exercise and be ready to go out again the next day.

Also... are you skipping days? Say you run on Monday, do you skip Tuesday and run again on Wednesday? I think it's good not to run two days in a row when you're just starting out.

About that shin splint exercise... lay on your back in front of a wall, and make your legs just like they'd be if you were sitting in a chair, at a 90-degree angle up on the wall with your feet flat.
Then tap each foot, first one, then the other, like you're working piano pedals. This will be difficult at first, and your familiar pain from when you run will come back... just go until you have to stop, and a couple times a day do that until you are up to about 100 taps each foot.

I swear this helps!

Good luck. :wavey:



Thanks everyone for your help. I went running the other day (I'm doing the Couch to 5K plan on coolrunning) and I did great. I stretched before and after, iced my legs after the run, and have never felt better after a run. Thanks for all your great advice!