Training with Muscle Soreness
Training with muscle soreness, here are some tips to help you.
EZ Run or Day Off?
The day after a hard or long run, sometimes it feels really good to take a really short, easy run. You may feel like that's the last thing you want to do, but once you get out there, it feels pretty good.
If not a run, then just an easy walk or cross training or even a good stretch with yoga or pilates can do wonders to improve muscle soreness.
The point is just to get moving rather than sitting around and letting the soreness settle in.
Do Some Cross Training Right After Your Run
Sometimes doing a different workout can really help relieve muscle soreness. If I do a really hardcore run, I like to follow it up with a bike ride, weights or the elliptical machine. Or if I get out of a really hardcore spinning class, I'll follow it with an easy run.
I don't know if this helps work out the lactic acid or mend tiny little muscle tears or what exactly it does (I've heard many thoughts on the matter), but all I know is it does wonders in helping me feel less sore.
But after all this advice, if you still feel like there is something wrong, trust your instinct. Don't continue training with muscle soreness if you think you have or are getting an injury.
After a 30 mile run earier this year, I had the pleasure of having a running / fitness expert with me who gave me a really good stretghing. Man, it felt like torture in the moment. But afterword it felt sooooooo good!
Here are some great stretches for runners.
Epsom Salt in Warm Water
If you come home from training with muscle soreness, this is the ultimate soothing, relaxation and pain reliever. Sitting in a bath of warm water and Epsom salt for 20-30 minutes will do wonders for your sore muscles.
My favorite are these Bath Bombs. I tried them once after a half marathon and have been addicted to them ever since. They are just so relaxing.
Ice is great when you feel an injury coming on but heat feels really good on sore muscles. By heat, I mean an ointment that you can find in the pharmacy.
You apply it to the skin wherever you are in pain and it is absorbed by your muscle and the next day you will feel noticeably better. But I must warn you: this stuff burns. The burn actually feels good on the sore muscles, like a really deep massage.
The first time I used this I made the mistake of putting it on and then going to bed. Well I got it all over my sheets and as a result my entire body was on fire all night.
So now I recommend putting it on and laying on a towel or something, and then washing it off before you go to bed.
A note about pain killers, most of them should be taken after you run, not during your run or before your run, because they can have a really bad affect on your kidneys.
For the NYC marathon, I had the worst tooth ache (I was due to have all 4 of my wisdom teeth taken out the next week), and the only thing they would give me was Tylenol.
Motrin or "Vitamin I" is probably the best if you come home from training with muscle soreness, but it should not be taken during or before your run. And even if you take it after, it should be in moderation. I think pain is a way of our body giving us a message: take it easy or take a rest. Motrin doesn't cure the problem it just numbs it, so that we don't get the message and then we could hur ourselves. So anyway, that's my two cents on the matter. ;-)
More Tips on Training with Muscle Soreness
Tips for avoiding running injuries.
Tips for dealing with running injuries.