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Hello All,

I am 43 and have been running every other day now for three weeks. I've noticed that my calves look bigger and bulkier, well actually so do my thighs but not that concerned about them.

My calves measure 1/2 an inch more than they have ever measured in my life!!!! literally!! Since I can remember through all my weight changes they have only ever been 14 inches and now are 14 and a half! My thighs were 19 inches before I started and are now 20!!

I don't get it. I'm not eating more. I'm not doing any other exercise.

Even more confusingly, years ago, in my late twenties I used to run about 25 miles a week and my calves never got even slightly bigger....in fact I'm sure they got a tiny bit slimmer than 14!

It has reall disheartened me as the whole point of running is to make my legs look longer and leaner not shorter and bulkier.

I seem to remember reading somewhere that the way you run can influence whether your calves get bigger, if you put your foot down in a certain way it means you will get bigger calves. Does anyone know about this? This is obviously what I'm doing as there is no other explanation. I am aware that I am running differently now than in my late twenties but cant pinpoint how I am doing it differently.

I've also read if you do hill sprints it can build calf muscle. Threre is one part of my run that is actually a flyoever over the A50 and it incorporates three consecutive uphill sections. I never did any hill running before so perhaps this is also part of the problem, therefore I am going to cut this part of my run out.

I could understand it if my natural propensity was for larger calves but, as I say, never in my life and I am 43 so I belive this is reversable.

Any tips anyone?
 

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I wouldn't worry about it runda... as you progress your body will even itself out i'm sure! There could be numerous reasons why your legs are bulking up, and from the sounds of things they're not getting fatter - which can only be a good thing!

Hill training can cause calf muscles to bulk up - but think more along the lines of cross country courses rather than the odd incline on your normal route. I'd say if you can feel your calves burning/working hard on the inclines, then it'll contribute to them bulking up a bit, if your inclines just make you out of breath and sweat more, then worry not!

Referring to your 'style of running having an effect' comment, this is true. Some runners will run on their toes, or rather their forefoot, which puts a lot of strain on the calf muscles; the muscles naturally bulk up to adapt and cope with these strains. The majority of us though run in a motion whereby the heel of the foot strikes the ground first and the foot rolls forwards and inwards onto the ball of the foot where you push off from, which doesn't especially contribute to increasing muscle bulk.

Another thought that entered my head was duration and frequency. The body adapts to running by rebuilding muscles during rest time; as your running you 'damage' the muscles, and in repairing the muscles, the body makes them stronger. Anyway, the thought that came into my head is that if your running short distances and having a days rest, then your body reacts by adding bulk to the muscle, longer distances will tend to tone the muscles rather than add bulk, (but again, amke sure you rest!). If you read up on weight lifting you'll see small amounts of heavy weights add bulk, large amounts of lighter weights tones muscles. and compare the build of elite athletes, short distance vs long distance runners.

That's my 2p's worth anyhow... as I say, I wouldn't worry about it, the body's a clever thing and it'll sort itself out over time. Running = fitness = goodness :d
 

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that's a wonderfully helpful reply, thankyou so much. I ran today and made sure I was putting as little 'work' into my calf movements as possibe. I know that when I was doing the bit of up hill running I was on the balls of my feet and that did result in me feeling that my calf muscles were working. I certainly won't let it stop me, as you say, it's all uphill from now on...so to speak...!!:)
 

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I've recently posted on my apparently "split" calves, so wsa really interested to read this post.

I've just measured my calves and they clock in at 15 inches - eeeek!! :embarrassed:
 

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Discussion Starter #9
It's definitely about proportion. I know a few girls with calves bigger than that but their legs look slimmer because of their build. I am 5ft 5inches and weigh 9stones which is fine for my height. I am quite curvy but I think I have a quite a light frame. I can't stand my wrists because they are too small. I feel the length of leg from my knee to my ankles should be longer as they just look a bit to short in comparision to the length of my thigh from hip to knee. So because the bottom half of my legs are quite short any bulk just makes them look big.

I go into this detail not because I am self obssessed (well maybe a bit!!lol) but so as not to offend all those ladies out there who have taken a tape measure to measure their own calves following my posting my 14.4 inches figure!!!! Again..it's proportion.:)
 

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Agree it's all about proportion.

I suspect my calves are slightly disproportionate. I'm 5ft 5, 9.5 stone and a dress size 10. I'd by lying if i said it didn't bother me from time to time, BUT....

I think they became big because I did (and do) enjoy hiking before I started running. It was actually ascending Snowdon one day that inspired me to begin running.... as I watched a lady jog past me (on the way up and on the way down! :eek: )

They're the shape they are because of the lifestyle I lead, and I'm happy with that. If I had a massive arse from sitting in front of the telly scoffing crap I'd be more concerned with that disproportion than the "badge of honour" a firm pair of legs bestows!
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I agree totally with that comment Ilsa! I've come to realise I would rather have bigger legs and look fit and toned than skinny flabby ones..am mega impressed with the lady jogging up and down Snowden!! Goodness!!:d I could never see me reaching that level of fitness..

Just to update everyone on my own calf situation..lol!! they are back down to 14 inches only they look slimmer than before because they are toned and not soft and flabby,

I changed them by avoiding hills, not 'overworking' them when running but mostly by doing a yoga stretch I found on the net where you put your hands on the wall, put one front in front of the other, keeping both heels on the floor at all times, and bend the front leg so that back calf stretches. It's a fantastic exercise and has done the trick really quickly. I'm also making sure I stretch my legs out properly after my run as I think I was skimping on this before...my thighs are still a bit bigger but they do look much firmer so not to fussed about them...
 

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I was told tonight in work that "Evans" stock a wide-fitting zip up boot - hurrah! I'll be of there tomorrow!! :embarrassed: :d
 

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Ilsa Next do a wide fitting long boot too.

I like long boots but i tend to wear them under trousers so really no point having them.

i have shapely legs due to skiing riding and now running.

I have a paranoia over myself that i am bigger than i look.

I know ............... but running is helping my confidence...

I dont think there is a woman out there who is happy with themselves, or come to think of it man.
 

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Totally agree with you leece on that last comment.
Im a rather petite lass 5'4 and just under 8 stone but iv never been that content with my body. If it's not one thing it's the other.
That or resort to cosmetic surgery haha
 

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i am 5ft 6 Hayley and 9 stone, but i think i look bigger for some reason.

May have to do with losing weight over the years and still thinking i am that bigger person.

I have good muscles but being a woman that doesnt always make you feel good.

:d

Moany arent we :p
 
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