How to Minimize Soreness after a Run – 6 Tips
Ever experienced something like this? You’re excited about your new fitness routine and on your first day out, you run 7 miles. When your run is over, you drag yourself into the house, throw yourself onto the couch, and then you can’t stand back up. Your muscles ache and your find it painful to move.
Running is a great way to combat our increasingly sedentary lifestyles. But post-run soreness is enough to make an exercise newbie call it quits before the first run.
So what’s the first rule of thumb?
Tip 1. Don’t overdo.
If you are a beginner, or even if you have run before, but you are taking it up again after a hiatus, you need to start slow. Your body needs to get used to the demands you are placing on it. It’s not only physiological. It’s psychological too. If you create an unpleasant aftermath for yourself, you will be less likely to feel like heading out the door for a run in the future. Your immediate running and fitness goals should feel achievable, even if in the far future your ultimate aim is to run a marathon.
Tip 2. Drink up.
Nope. Not alcohol. Go for water or sports drinks that contain electrolytes. Your body needs water to combat soreness. It needs it so much, that if you aren’t drinking enough water just on a daily basis, you can feel sore from that. Your body is made up of 60 percent water. The water you drink aids digestion, transports nutrients, and helps maintain your body temperature. According to WebMD, water also helps energize your muscles. So as soon as you come back from your run, pour yourself a tall glass of water.
Tip 3. Massage tight muscles.
Massaging sore muscles is a fast and effective way to find immediate relief from muscle pain. There are also many who claim it has healing benefits. Worried about the price? You don’t need to go to a massage or sports therapist either. Handheld massagers for runners are now available that provide targeted therapy to trigger points. Reduce that achy feeling by giving your leg muscles and other sore areas a gentle massage.
Tip 4. Eat some foods with anti-inflammatory properties.
Inflammation is a common visitor to runners. But you can decrease the inflammation simply by chowing down on certain foods. Specifically, try apples, cherries, pineapples, fish, ginger, and dark green and leafy vegetables. You can also try to sip some green tea, which is known to generate an anti-inflammatory effect. Another drink that some runners swear by is coffee. Drink it before a run, and it is said to improve performance and also help with recovery post-run.
Tip 5. Use ice.
This one is a common sense tip. Using ice will not only help to numb sore muscles, thereby easing pain, but it will also help to reduce swelling. Swelling can cause discomfort and additional aches, so reducing swelling is one way to help you be more comfortable after a run. Fill a plastic bag with ice cubes and wrap a thin towel around the bag. Place on the sore area. A bag of frozen peas works well, too.
Tip 6. Sleep it off.
Your muscles recover and repair themselves as you sleep. Ever wonder about that urge to take a nap after a run? Well, that urge is now justified. But for the best results, the sleep that you get right before REM sleep is when muscle recovery really happens. So when is that? Anytime before 12 PM at night. Here is just one more reason to go to bed a bit earlier. Your body will thank you if you skip the late night shows and instead opt for bedtime.
You might not be able to completely erase soreness after a run, but you can reduce it greatly with just a little aftercare.