Ways To Relieve Muscle Soreness
What are the best ways to relieve muscle soreness?
It is very common for runners and non-runners to experience muscle soreness.
It is even more common for athletes who people just getting into an exercise routine to experience soreness.
Individuals who are just starting out in either the sport of running or any other activity have weak ligaments, tendons and muscles that have to adapt to the stress load they are given before muscle soreness can eventually become less reoccurring.
The faster we run, the more weight we lift or the more aggressive we swim or do any activity the more demand is placed on the musculature of the body.
There is a greater oxygen demand which is called anaerobic glycolysis.
It is actually the hydrogen ions within lactic acid that causes our muscles to tire and become sore.
What Is DOMS?
DOMS or Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness usually occurs anywhere from 24 to 36 hours after a hard workout.
If you have ever run a marathon or done a harder long run you will certainly experience this.
What happens is after we conduct a hard lifting session in the gym or hard, anaerobic run there are microscopic tears within the muscles that occur.
This doesn’t happen when you are working out easily or running very slowly.
Anaerobic running or aerobic capacity type workouts create a physiological boost to the body in that it creates more fast twitch fiber recruitment.
The more fast twitch fibers that can be recruited via hard anaerobic training, the more economical you are going to perform in competitions.
Run At Higher Levels
So many people look at the Kenyans as superior athletes and they are, indeed, great runners but they train at such high intensities for such long periods of time that racing is almost less intense as the training they do.
That being said, the Kenyan athletes I have trained with also take their recovery seriously.
They routinely get massages throughout the week, eat a healthy diet high in animal protein, drink plenty of water and tea and take naps quite often during their down time.
These are a few ways to relieve soreness after working out that I have learned from some of the world’s best runners and coaches.
Take It Slow
1. Ensure to have a proper warm-up and cool-down.
You never want to just jump into a hard workout.
Allow yourself time to warm-up especially in colder temperature. This will elevate the heart and get more blood flowing to the working muscles.
I had a the great opportunity to train with Dan Browne, a 2.11.35 marathoner, and two-time Olympian, who was my Army teammate while a member of the US Army World Class Athlete Program.
Dan would take a regular sized rope and do multiple types of leg and thigh stretches for about a half hour before we even did our workout together.
He had an extended warm-up ensuring his muscles were completely ready for the track workouts we did and we always did a cool-down after our training sessions.
The reason why cool-downs are so important is it helps to flush out lactic acid from the muscles.
Warm-up and cool-down times vary from athlete to athlete but you always want to jog lightly before your runs and always take the time to cool-down for at least 10 to 15 minutes after your workout to help flush out built up lactic acid still remaining within your muscles.
2. Take an epsom salt bath
This is a great training tip I can pass on that not a lot of runners utilize.
It is a great way to soothe sore muscles that are jam packed full of magnesium and sulfates.
Magnesium has many uses and a few of its unique uses is that it helps relieve toxins from the body as well as removes heavy metals from the cells within the body.
Recovery is so important, especially if you have just experienced a hard fartlek workout, long run or race.
Calcium is an electric conductor within the body and magnesium helps to maintain healthy levels of calcium within our bodies.
Epsom salt baths is a great way to lower inflammation from hard workouts which helps relieve muscles cramps and sore muscles as well.
Ice Your Legs
3. Take an ice bath
Although the complete opposite in that we are going from soaking in hot water to shivering in a trash can or bathtub full of water with a few bags of ice thrown in it, taking an ice bath can be a great way to recover from hard training sessions.
Ice baths constrict blood vessels which aids in muscle breakdown and tissue damage by slowing down the metabolic activity within the body.
One of my not-so-favorite, fondest memories while competing at Malone University was getting ice baths in our athletic training room during the track and cross-country seasons.
Normal time we would soak our legs in the frigid water was anywhere from 10 to 20 minutes.
Be Well Rested
4. Sleep Well
There is probably no better ways to relieve muscle soreness after working out than getting proper rest.
As runners we need more sleep then the average person who does not spend as much time working out or does not workout at all.
Generally speaking, most people can function well on 6 to 8 hours of sleep per night.
Runners working a full-time job, juggling family and career responsibilities as well as running 50-120 miles per week on top of it all may need 8 to 10 hours of sleep.
It all depends on your own preference. What works best for me may not work best for you.
You may be one of those super humans who can function well off of 4 to 5 hours of sleep and still crush it in training.
If you are, I commend you.
I am more the 8 to 10 hour type.
This isn’t etched in stone but generally athletes working out often will need to get more sleep to ensure they are recovering from those hard workouts.
Muscles have to have the time to recuperate and regenerate and that only happens with proper rest.
Focus On Nutrition
5. Consume more protein and amino acids in your diet as well as drink more water
Water helps to flush out toxins within the body.
For every lean pound of body mass you have you should aim to consume at least 1 gram of protein.
Foods that are high in protein and amino acids are nuts, eggs and chicken to name a few.
Seek foods high in glutathione.
Amino acids serve as the building blocks our muscles need to repair damage that has occurred from our hard training efforts.
A healthy diet that consists of enough protein (for muscle repair), carbohydrates (for glycogen) and a small amount of fats couples with enough rest will help athletes overcome muscle soreness