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Why Is My Lower Body in Pain After Running & Walking?

Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA


How come I can run 10 miles Saturday a.m. with no soreness, but walking 8 miles slowly leaves my entire lower body in pain? Sunday I rested. Monday I did a 5 mile easy run that felt great. It was Tuesday’s slow 8 mile walk that made me sore!

Sherry, the Deep South, USA

Lower bodies of 3 guys

What does a lower body that's in pain look like exactly?

Dear Sore Sherry:

Alexandra: Well, “Day-um” as my other southern friends would say! And “DOMS.” Which is not a way of cussing with a northern accent. It stands for Delayed Onset of Muscle Soreness. We talked about it in our suggestively named post “Calves Got a Stiffy,” and feel happy to talk about this topic even more. Essentially, elevating your core temperature (and thereby henceforthwith and so forthy warming up the muscles) within 24 hours of the original cardio exercise will help prevent muscle soreness later on. You don’t have to repeat the 10 mile run, but a walk of just ten minutes should do the trick.

Kymberly: Running is powered primarily by calves and quads. Walking is powered by glutes and shins (and therefore a great cross training or complementary cardio activity). So if you are used to running and added the walking recently, then your body may simply have been adapting to using your muscles in a new or different way. I am not sure if the pace has anything to do with the soreness unless the slow pace dictated or created an unusual gait that did not work for you biomechanically.

graph of Q angle

Q Angle for Women & Men

A: Door #3 – If it’s not delayed muscle soreness, could your pain be caused from overuse? Is it standard for you to do 31 miles in a 4-day span? Somewhere in here I’ll throw out the concept of post-run stretching…oh, there, I just did! With your entire lower body in pain, have you considered shin splints or your Q-angle? If you have fairly wide hips and/or a narrow stance, then your knees might be the ones yelling “ouchy.”

K: When you feel better, run or walk over to our place so you can let us know whether your pain and soreness are in your joints or muscles. If muscles, I’d say pull a Bobby McFerrin: “Don’t worry; Be happy.” If your pain is in the joints, I’d say, “whoa doggies, ask a health professional to assess you.” Do not light up those joints!

Dear Readers: When the crossing light says “Don’t Walk” do you run?

Photo credits: Photobucket and


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8 Responses to Why Is My Lower Body in Pain After Running & Walking?

  1. Sherry Norris June 20, 2011 at 11:13 am #

    It’s your friend from the Deep South and I was just following up on this article. First, thank you so much for helping me understand what happened last week. It was the end of the week before I could even walk without feeling like I was 150 years old!

    Thankfully, it was mostly muscle soreness and the odd thing is, I have been walking on my “off” running days for 3 months now so it hasn’t been a new activity. I have never in all of my years of fitness, experienced something like what happened last week and hope I never do again!

    I truly learned my lesson and will NEVER EVER take a complete rest day after a long training run again! I vow to always move for at least a few minutes at a pace to warm up my muscles the day after a long run, so help me God! :)

  2. KymberlyFunFit June 20, 2011 at 12:02 pm #

    Salutations Sherry! Thank you for replying to our reply. As for your parting words, put your hand upon the computer screen (with our post up) and be HEALED! Amen sistuh!

  3. Natalie June 20, 2011 at 6:31 pm #

    Hey! I find that when I have these problems it is usually strain of my IT band. I use a foam roller for a nice deep stretch to work out lactic acid after workouts. I also use it every day in the morning for soft tissue work and just because I feel great after. I bought mine from NuEraFitness and can say that by far this is the best out there. Hope this works for you as much as it has for me.

  4. Kris @Krazy_Kris June 20, 2011 at 9:16 pm #

    So do we just get to ask random questions? Hmmmmmmmm – why do I SO suck at WOGGING?
    I’ve tried, I’ve eased, I’ve tried
    I’ve bought new shoes (they helped actually)
    Alas, I don’t think I’ll ever get past a 5 min jog
    No worries though – jancing is quite fun (jog + dance and Otis Redding makes me do it every time).
    Hugs from paso!

    • Alexandra June 20, 2011 at 11:19 pm #

      Yes, Kris, you can ask all the random questions you want. Can we give random answers, though? As to not liking wogging (is that a special type of jogging or are you just seeing if we’re paying attention), could it be Q angle related? And I (Alexandra) hate jogging. Actually, my knee hates it, but we talk a lot so I like to do what my knee says. I used to love running when there was a soccer ball involved. By “loved” I mean I would have preferred to score from the midline and not bother with the running part. I want to try jancing – that sounds really fun. Can I bring my Kool & the Gang?

  5. Stu September 9, 2011 at 5:30 am #

    Yeah it could also be not giving your body time to recover from the previous day whether that was walking or running. Its important to do the proper cool down exercises after any run/walk and before setting off the next day
    Stu recently posted..Common symptoms of a stiff neckMy Profile


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