No matter what level of athlete you are, your muscles are going to get sore at some point after running. Should you just be starting out, your muscles could be screaming after your first run down the block, while experienced runners will find themselves coping with pain after a particularly lengthy, fast-paced run or if they haven’t given themselves an ample amount of rest.
A new report takes a look at what can be done to limit occurrences of delayed-onset muscle soreness. Much of the advice hinges on not pushing yourself past your limits and giving yourself the requisite amount of time to recover between runs.
Inexperienced runners are more at risk just due to the simple fact that their leg muscles aren’t accustomed to the additional strain created by a run. Although particularly enthusiastic individuals may want to go all out and run five miles as quick as possible so that they can immediately get their exercise into gear, this isn’t actually a good idea. Doing so could expose you to heightened muscle pain and leave you burnt out on the idea of running altogether.
Instead, place a limit on yourself. Your body will thank you. The report advises maintaining a gait that would allow you to converse with someone if you so chose, and that’s wise. You’re basically easing your body into the thought of a more strenuous workout, giving it plenty of time to rest after the first go-around and very slowly ratcheting up the intensity. Your first few running endeavors should last no more than 20 minutes.
It should go without saying that warming up and stretching is another great way to reduce the threat of muscle pain. Doing so gets your body and your mind into running mode. Imagine a person who can’t swim. You don’t throw them into the deep end, hoping that somewhere amid all the flailing they’ll figure out how to stay afloat. No, you’ll hopefully have the person wade into the shallow pool, letting them get accustomed to the depth and the technique before segueing into deeper waters. So it goes with muscles. You’re warming up to a light workout, which is itself a warm-up to a more intense workout down the line.
One piece of advice the author offers but that you must be careful with is reducing muscle soreness with shorts bursts of sprinting. The idea is that a couple instances of such exercise will basically teach your body how to respond to moments of intensity or muscular damage not brought about by exercise. In a way, it’s like the muscles going into an emergency alert drill so that it’ll be ready for when it isn’t a drill.