How to Keep From Getting Sore Calves When Running

How to Keep From Getting Sore Calves When Running

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Depending on the severity of the pain, some runners find trying to run through the calf pain unbearable.

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Regardless of fitness level and experience, calf pain is an inevitable side effect of running. Muscle tightness in calves usually follows a typical pattern: The pain develops while running, worsens and may even halt the runner in his tracks. Stopping your run alleviates most if not all of the pain. Dealing with calf pain can be frustrating, but stretching, conditioning and resting can assuage it easily.

Overloading the Calf

When trying to determine the cause of your calf pain, first look for any recent changes to your workout. Hill or speed work, increased intensity and increased mileage can often be found at the root of most calf problems. Unfortunately, the only solution to cure a fatigued muscle is rest -- exercising an already overworked calf muscle might only compound your problems. After a few days, resume your previous activities, slowly working up to your desired intensity or mileage in order to avoid tiring your calf muscle out too much.

Calf Raises

If you're new to fitness and your calves keep hurting, consider incorporating calf raises into your workout. Cardiovascular activity should always be supplemented by conditioning exercises in order to help build muscle. Calf raises can be done with no special equipment and customized according to fitness level. Stand on one leg with your fingertips against a wall or table for balance -- make sure you are not supporting or bracing yourself with your hand. Push up on your toes, then lower yourself back down. Do as many of these as possible, then switch legs and repeat. One full repetition consists of going up all the way on your toe, not just lifting your heel. Aim for at least 40 reps on each leg, but if you find that this exercise triggers pain in your calves again, stop and switch legs. Complete two to three sets, resting for one minute in between sets. Do not perform calf-strengthening workouts the same day as a run.

Downward Facing Dog

Never skip stretching before and after a workout. Begin in a pushup position, then lower yourself onto your elbows, making sure to keep your back and butt straight. Lift up your pelvis so that you make an upside-down "V" shape with your body. Spread your fingers wide. You should be somewhat forward on your toes. Press each heel down to the ground one at a time. To deepen the stretch, press down on one foot as you bend your other leg. Hold for 30 seconds, then switch legs.

Wall Stretch

The wall stretch is easy to do anywhere -- all you need is a wall (or curb) to brace your foot against. Stand a few inches away from the wall. Keeping one foot firmly on the ground, put your other foot against the wall so that your heel remains on the ground, and lean forward slightly. Hold this pose for about 10 to 15 seconds, then switch feet.