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New Runner Needs Help

Just started running about 4 weeks ago and am taking it slow and stretching, but my legs are KILLING me. Its really bad, and not in a "yay I went to the gym feel the burn" type of way. I specifically get pain in the muscles on my lap (front of thighs). Any suggestions for this?

Thu. Apr 6, 6:06pm

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Are you going too fast? Maybe try slowing down and see if that helps. Does it hurt to walk too or just while running? Maybe the shoes?

Thursday, April 06, 2006, 6:21 PM

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Im jogging pretty slowly...and I bought new shoes. It hurts going upstairs and squatting down as well...

Thursday, April 06, 2006, 6:25 PM

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Sore muscles

from the sounds of it, your muscles are just sore. I would think this is normal considering you are a new runner. When i left weights for my leg muscles or run a long distance it often hurts to walk stairs and to squat.

Thursday, April 06, 2006, 7:59 PM

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I would agree that its just sore muscles. Maybe you could try just walking for a few days? Have you been taking a day off for rest between your runs?

Thursday, April 06, 2006, 8:36 PM

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Warm up with at least 5 min of walking, cool down with 10 min of walking plus stretch every major muscle group.

Walking or taking rest days are also great ideas!

Try cross-training too. Maybe doing some step aerobics or biking will help strengthen some secondary muscles that running isn't quite hitting.

Thursday, April 06, 2006, 10:37 PM

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Try taking some motrin afterwards for the pain--it should also help :-)

Thursday, April 06, 2006, 11:41 PM

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I swear by Bromelain - pineapple extract - you can get it in most health or vitamin stores. It does wonders neutralizing lactic acid - the root of soreness in muscles. That and Epsom salt bath.

Friday, April 07, 2006, 11:40 AM

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What is your running/workout schedule. While you may be running slow enough, you might be adding too much distance too soon.

The only thing that puzzles me is that adding too much distance usually causes shin splints and ankle/keep pain, rather than muscle pain. It might be an issue of lack of stretching/flexibility.

Be sure you are stretching AFTER your runs, when your muscles are warm. Extensive stretching before a run can cause injury. Stetching after a run is essential.

Friday, April 07, 2006, 4:00 PM

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First, the front muscles on thighs are called 'quadriceps' or 'quads' for short. Secondly, proper 'running' (note, running not jogging) should involve more of your hamstring muscles (back of thighs), unless you're running uphill. Google something like 'running technique' or 'form' to check your form - that should help. You may want to attend a local running clinic to get some pointers. In the meantime, make sure to do some hamstring exercises, to balance off your quad muscles. Not only it helps your alignment and posture and makes your quads appear smaller, it also helps preventing injuries. Any imbalanced (too tight overworked one muscle group) muscles tend to cause injuries.

Friday, April 07, 2006, 4:14 PM

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lactic acid is what causes the muscle discomfort/soreness that you feel acutely while exercising. The lactic acid is short lived though, and doesn't have much to do with delayed muscle soreness as once thought.
The current thinking is that delayed-onset-muscle-soreness (DOMS) is caused by microscopic tearing/damage to the muscle fibers. The tears are what are "rebuilt" to create stronger muscle. In this case, rest is really the best method for taking care of your muscle soreness.
An important thing to note, is not to run through pain. Exercise should be a challenge, but pain like it sounds like is occurring is not really a good sign. Try resting in between days of running. Trying intervals of walking and jogging to see how that affects your body. does it cause the same pain?
It you have sharp(knife like)/shooting/radiating pain, this is not likely just muscle pain. Especially if it does not decrease with a few days of rest.

Friday, April 07, 2006, 10:31 PM

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quads strained by downhill landing phase of stride

It is absolutely possible for a new runner to get quad pain more than hamstring pain, especially if he/she is running DOWNHILL! Uphill works the glutes and hamstrings, but if one is landing correctly going downhill, it will be on a bent knee stabilized with the quads. This is double-especially true for trail running.

OP, if you are running hills, slow up a little on the downhill sections for a while.

Also, I know it's probably the last thing you want to do when you come home sweaty, but it still really helps me (and I'm not a beginner) to hop into a hot bath and soak soon after a run. Bring your hydration with you to the bath and keep drinking! If you are painfully stiff the next day, take an ibuprofen tablet and walk around a little bit, which will re-warm the muscles if they've gotten stiff while you were sitting at your desk. you've already gotten good advice about rest days and so on...

The good news is that this will get a lot better with time! And welcome to the running club -- minimal equipment costs, infinitely portable, and I promise it will eventually be fun. :-)

Friday, April 07, 2006, 11:40 PM

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OP Here..

Thanks to all of you, sorry I didnt clarify. I am running on a treadmill and am following the "couch to 5K program" (which ALWAYS makes you start with a 5 min walk and increases the distance you run each day/week). I am walking at 4.0 and running (jogging, actually) at 5.4 mph.

I am trying to do all these stretches, but it is just this area of my leg that is really frustrating me (thank you to the poster telling me its the quads, I had no idea!)

I do toe-in when I walk (and see a chiropractor for all the pain years of this has done to my body) so it could be poor form, but hopefully it will just go away as I get more flexible.

Thanks for the motrin suggestion, I will try that today, and if anyone has any quad-specific stretches for me, Id love to see links to them!!

Thanks again!

Saturday, April 08, 2006, 1:57 PM

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