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Calf cramps while running

aeloineaeloine Member Posts: 2,163 Member Member Posts: 2,163 Member
Hello! Good morning or evening, depending on time zone!

I'm not exactly *new* to running but I am very, very inconsistent. For years, I'd get moderate hip pain in my right hip while attempting to run over the summer, but I never stuck with it because the hip would bug me so much.

Two years ago, I fell and sprained some ligaments around my left knee, so that made things even tougher.

This summer, I finally went to a running store and got fitted for shoes, and - FINALLY!! - no hip pain, no knee pain. I feel fantastic!!!

Except I think the awesome cushions in my Hoka's are forcing me to run differently? This is week four of consistently getting out two or three times a week and the outsides of my calves start to cramp something fierce at about the 15 minute mark!

It's closer to the ankle on the left side and a little higher up on the right side, but made worse when I stop jogging and switch to a walking break -- man, oh man, that's just awful!

Any advice from seasoned joggers? I'm so happy to have my hip and knee pain under control - I would really hate to lose momentum due to cramps!
edited July 2019

Replies

  • VioletRojoVioletRojo Member, Premium Posts: 594 Member Member, Premium Posts: 594 Member
    For me, this kind of pain is a sign that it's time for new shoes. Since your shoes are new, I'm thinking that they might not be the right shoes for you. If you are within the return window, I would take them back and try a different type of shoe.
  • aeloineaeloine Member Posts: 2,163 Member Member Posts: 2,163 Member
    VioletRojo wrote: »
    For me, this kind of pain is a sign that it's time for new shoes. Since your shoes are new, I'm thinking that they might not be the right shoes for you. If you are within the return window, I would take them back and try a different type of shoe.

    Thank you very much! Unfortunately, I am not within the return window any longer. I don't think I was covering long enough distances at first to see their full effect.
  • VioletRojoVioletRojo Member, Premium Posts: 594 Member Member, Premium Posts: 594 Member
    aeloine wrote: »
    VioletRojo wrote: »
    For me, this kind of pain is a sign that it's time for new shoes. Since your shoes are new, I'm thinking that they might not be the right shoes for you. If you are within the return window, I would take them back and try a different type of shoe.

    Thank you very much! Unfortunately, I am not within the return window any longer. I don't think I was covering long enough distances at first to see their full effect.

    For what it's worth, I find Hokas to be too soft for me and they don't last as long as other brands. I still buy and wear them, I just know that I'm not going to get 300 miles out of them. I might only get 200 miles before I need a new pair. The softness means that my ankles are leaning out while I run which is what causes that pain for me.

    It can also be challenging to find the right shoe even when you are being professionally fitted. I've made expensive mistakes. Live and learn.
  • TaoTeRunningTaoTeRunning Member, Premium Posts: 14 Member Member, Premium Posts: 14 Member
    I don't think the shoes are the culprit, shoes in general are not that important, as long as they are comfortable.

    How intense do you train? How do you measure intensity? In general people tend to train with too much intensity when unmonitored. Option two would be malnutrition in regards to minerals, especially magnesium, or healthy fats.

    If all these things are in order, you can try stretching after the training, on warm muscles, massages and running specific strength training.
  • JthanmyfitnesspalJthanmyfitnesspal Member, Premium Posts: 2,942 Member Member, Premium Posts: 2,942 Member
    Well, it could be a strength and or stretching issue. You clearly need to dial back before the cramps hit. Do walk/run intervals. Take it slow.

    Find a set of stretches to do before and after you run. I take about 5 minutes to do this and it helps.

    Add some leg strength-training days to your rotation. If you don't know how and can swing the cost, do a bit of personal training (or save money by doing group training or follow YouTube vids).

    AND: Join a running group.
  • TaoTeRunningTaoTeRunning Member, Premium Posts: 14 Member Member, Premium Posts: 14 Member
    Running groups are quite dangerous for beginners, they make it easy to run with too much intensity and too much volume.
  • mikeedinburghmikeedinburgh Member Posts: 38 Member Member Posts: 38 Member
    Just from my own experience, I would suspect the Hokas. I was 6 months into marathon training and bought hokas for the cushioning as was hitting peak mileage.

    Things initially seemed ok but after a couple of weeks, I started getting terrible pains in my groin and up my legs. I suspected everything bar the shoes initially and ultimately I lost 6 weeks training. A bit of research and some trial and error indicated the hokas were to blame likely due to too much cushioning throwing my running gate off.

    Well I burned those damn shoes and I healed up and returned to my trusty ASICS and got my marathon done!

    Good luck 👍
  • lorrpblorrpb Member Posts: 11,465 Member Member Posts: 11,465 Member
    How far are you running and how quickly did you ramp up? I’m wondering if too much mileage too quickly has contributed to the issue.
  • aeloineaeloine Member Posts: 2,163 Member Member Posts: 2,163 Member
    lorrpb wrote: »
    How far are you running and how quickly did you ramp up? I’m wondering if too much mileage too quickly has contributed to the issue.

    This is truly, truly embarrassing but it's like 2 miles at a time and I'm barely past like 13 minute miles.
    I've recently regained a lot of weight and it's quite a bit more difficult for me to run when heavier.

    I'm doing couch to 5k again, only on week 3, so 3 minute jog/walk intervals. Nothing too crazy at all.
  • dewd2dewd2 Member Posts: 2,445 Member Member Posts: 2,445 Member
    I don't think the shoes are the culprit, shoes in general are not that important, as long as they are comfortable.

    How intense do you train? How do you measure intensity? In general people tend to train with too much intensity when unmonitored. Option two would be malnutrition in regards to minerals, especially magnesium, or healthy fats.

    If all these things are in order, you can try stretching after the training, on warm muscles, massages and running specific strength training.

    No so sure about that. Run in a high drop shoe (10-11 mm) for a few months then switch to a lower drop (4mm or even 8mm) and let me know how your calves feel in the morning. :D
    Running groups are quite dangerous for beginners, they make it easy to run with too much intensity and too much volume.

    Not if you get a good one. Check at the store where you got your shoes. Running with a group can be very motivating.

    I'm not fan of stretching (especially before a run - there's evidence this does more harm than good) but it won't hurt after a run if you do it easy. I'd suggest slowing down, doing a little less distance, and working on strengthening your legs, hips, and midsection.
  • JthanmyfitnesspalJthanmyfitnesspal Member, Premium Posts: 2,942 Member Member, Premium Posts: 2,942 Member
    aeloine wrote: »

    This is truly, truly embarrassing but it's like 2 miles at a time and I'm barely past like 13 minute miles.
    I've recently regained a lot of weight and it's quite a bit more difficult for me to run when heavier.

    I'm doing couch to 5k again, only on week 3, so 3 minute jog/walk intervals. Nothing too crazy at all.

    It's very important to take the C25K at your own pace. You can stick with any of the workouts as long as it takes to master it. You don't need to progress each time you work out. It took me at least 6 months to complete. Take your time and let your body get used to it. On the off days (which are most days) you can walk, do some weight training, do stretches, roll your legs, etc.

    Stay strong and determined and it will come!

    (I really think the shoes are a secondary issue so long as they are comfortable.)

  • emmamcgarityemmamcgarity Member Posts: 1,483 Member Member Posts: 1,483 Member
    Try slowing down and increasing rest days for a bit to see if that helps. Most of my issues during c25k were related to trying to run faster. Slow is the way to go. Once I slowed down I was able to run longer without pain.
  • jjpptt2jjpptt2 Member Posts: 5,419 Member Member Posts: 5,419 Member
    Calf cramps/soreness is not uncommon when changing to shoes with noticeably less drop. Not sure if that's the case for you, but might be worth considering.

    If that's the case, slow down and back off the volume just a bit until your legs have a chance to adapt to the new shoes/mechanics.
  • zamirasonizamirasoni Member Posts: 88 Member Member Posts: 88 Member
    Are you drinking enough water? It sounds weird but sometimes my legs cramp if i don't get enough water as a whole. I run about your pace 13 min mile, no shame, you are getting out there and that is all that matters. Also, like the person above mentioned, stretch. I failed to do the last part and it can catch up w/ you. I use a foam roller after each one of my runs, no matter the distance. It has help me with hip/ ITB band pain. Good luck in your training :)
  • TaoTeRunningTaoTeRunning Member, Premium Posts: 14 Member Member, Premium Posts: 14 Member
    dewd2 wrote: »
    Not if you get a good one. Check at the store where you got your shoes. Running with a group can be very motivating.

    That's true, but the motivation is exactly the issue. ;-) A group like this would run as slow, as the slowest runner can run in Zone 2 and I don't believe such a thing exists.
  • mcscheerlemcscheerle Member Posts: 1 Member Member Posts: 1 Member
    I had the same problem and mine was the shoes. Same idea...got custom fitted and love them while walking. Cushioning was amazing. From the very first run a couple minutes in my calves cramped. I assumed that I was running properly now and that my calves needed to get used to it. A few months later and it still happens. Every once in a while I’ll wear old ones if I’m in a dirtier area and then it doesn’t happen. I’m going back to less cushioning next time for sure!
  • Jim_KintsugiJim_Kintsugi Member Posts: 53 Member Member Posts: 53 Member
    I've also just started running and I'm going through the same thing. New shoes and everything. My calves feel sore and tender after, but it doesn't feel like DOMS that I get from other workout. Maybe I just need to slow down a bit and have more rest days.
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