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Running When Sore A Practical Guide
We have all been there the day after a hard run when you have to walk up a flight of stairs and your muscles are extremely sore. It not only happens to seasoned runners, but this can also happen to new runners or runners that have taken a little time off. Our goal is to help you get back on track and give you the information you need when you find yourself suffering from sore muscles.
Why Do We Get Sore After Running Sometimes?
Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (better known as DOMS) is common. Changing up the duration or intensity of your runs can lead to DOMS, especially after a break from running. Just remember that it’s OK to run through soreness, but the pain is a different story. If it is more than just soreness, you may need to take some time off. Listen to your body and see if the discomfort is from the micro-tears and inflammation that happens naturally after a tough workout or does it seem like an injury beyond being sore
DOMS typically lasts 24–48 hours. The soreness will sometimes extend for up to 72 hours. While it can be uncomfortable, the good news is delayed muscle soreness is a sign of muscle development. The muscle breaks down and then builds up which will build your strength and endurance over time.
Soreness tends to feel better with movement, so there may not be a need to take a day off. Just keep your mileage light and pace easy. The first minutes or even miles of a run may feel achy, but it should get better as you keep going.
In the normal training cycle, there will be workouts that are longer and more intense than others. Your long run or interval workout are examples that may cause more soreness than a standard distance or tempo run. Soreness is part of running and not something that you should try to completely avoid.
Running When Sore
1. Make light stretching part of your post-run routine
Doing some light stretches that focus on your quads, hamstrings, and calves will help and your muscles will thank you. This is especially true after a hard run or after racing.
2. Stay Hydrated
Make sure you stay hydrated. You should drink plenty of water leading up to your run as well as hydrating after your run. Don’t drink a lot immediately before you start. No one likes to run with half a gallon of water sloshing in their belly. Steadily drink water throughout the day on a regular basis. Running in the summertime will cause you to sweat even more so take that into consideration after your run. Replenish those fluids.
3. Ice Bath, it hurts so good
After post-run stretching, many competitive runners will use an ice bath to help reduce soreness. This cold water will help speed up your recovery and reduce soreness. Fill your bathtub with cold water and add some ice. The first 2 to 3 minutes are the toughest when you get in the ice bath, but it eases up after that. 10 to 15 minutes will do. While uncomfortable in the beginning, your muscles will thank you.
4. Don’t forget your diet
Fuel your muscles with complex carbs, fruits, and vegetables on a regular basis. Throw in some healthy fats and enough protein to help build your muscles during recovery.
5. Keep Moving Your Body for Faster Recovery
Sometimes it seems counter-intuitive that using your sore muscles will help them recover, but it’s true. You don’t want to completely stop exercising or it will make your recovery period even longer. You want to keep the blood flowing through your muscles. Think of it as active rest that may include a bike ride, a brisk walk, or a slow jog. You will want to avoid strenuous activity for a few days, but you need to keep moving.
6. Make it a practice to warm up before running
You should spend 5 to 7 minutes warming up your muscles before each workout to help reduce the chance of strain and injury. Ease into your workouts by making sure your muscles are warm and your blood has been flowing.
7. Massage Those Sore Muscles
If you can afford a professional massage, you may find this helps your recovery and will loosen up those tight muscles. Other options include using foam rollers, or rolling sticks to help work out the soreness. Rubbing and massaging sore muscles on your own can help too.
Is It Okay To Run With Sore Legs?
For the most part, it is fine to run with sore legs. As mentioned previously, that may actually help. Just make sure it truly is just delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) and not an injury. It seems to linger more than a few days, you should consider seeking a medical professional. No one knows your body better than you. Active recovery will help ease you out of the soreness stage and get you back running soon.