Sunday, July 14, 2024

Post-Run Soreness: Understanding and Treating Whole-Body Muscle Pain After Running

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Running is a form of exercise that millions of people use to achieve their health and fitness goals, but along with those much-desired results can come post-run soreness. While post-run soreness is normal, it is important to understand it and know how to best treat it to get back to running pain-free. This article will cover all you need to know about post-run soreness, from understanding what it is to taking the necessary steps to treating it.

What is Post-Run Soreness?

Post-run soreness is a general term for the pain and discomfort that can occur in muscles and other tissues after running. It is categorized as either acute soreness, which is felt immediately after running, or delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) which is felt anywhere from 12 to 48 hours after running and is typically more severe.

What Causes Post-Run Soreness?

Post-run soreness is often caused by lactic acid accumulation in the muscles during and after exercise. When the body is running at a higher intensity, it produces lactic acid, which can cause a burning sensation. Additionally, post-run soreness can be caused by other factors such as cortisol build-up, dehydration, and injury to the muscles or other tissues.

How to Minimize Post-Run Soreness

There are a few things that you can do to minimize both acute and DOMS.

  1. Warm-Up Properly:
    It is important to warm-up before running by doing some light dynamic stretching and activities such as jogging or walking. A proper warm-up will get your muscles ready for running and can help to prevent injury.

  2. Stretch After:
    After running, it is essential to stretch out your muscles. Stretching will help your muscles to recover from the intense activity. Additionally, it will help reduce lactic acid buildup and reduce the amount of soreness that is felt.

  3. Listen to Your Body:
    Your body is always telling you how it is feeling, and it is important to listen to those signals. If you are feeling sore or fatigued, do not push yourself too hard during your run. Reduce the intensity and distance so that you are not putting too much strain on your body.

  4. Hydrate:
    Staying properly hydrated both before and after running is essential. Dehydration can increase lactic acid buildup and can lead to more severe post-run soreness.

  5. Fuel:
    Before a long run, make sure to eat properly so that your muscles are getting the energy they need to sustain the activity. Additionally, eating a balanced diet with carbohydrates, proteins, and fats is key for supporting muscle recovery.

  6. Get Adequate Sleep:
    Getting adequate rest is important for muscle recovery and repair. Aim for 7-8 hours of sleep each night for optimal performance.

  7. Use Heat:
    Applying a heating pad or hot compress on sore muscles can help to reduce muscle stiffness.

  8. Use Ice:
    To reduce inflammation and swelling, consider using ice on the affected body part.

  9. Massage:
    Massage can be a helpful tool after running to help loosen tight muscles and relieve soreness. Consider using foam rollers or massage balls.

  10. Take Anti-Inflammatories:
    Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen, naproxen, or even aspirin can help reduce inflammation and relieve soreness. Make sure to consult your doctor before taking any medications.

Treating Post-Run Soreness

post-run soreness can be very uncomfortable and can affect your performance, so it is important to take the necessary steps to treat it.

  1. Take a Break:
    If you are experiencing post-run soreness, it may be best to take a few days off from running. This can help your muscles to recover and to prevent further injury.

  2. Anti-Inflammatory Foods:
    Anti-inflammatory foods such as turmeric, ginger, leafy greens, walnuts, and fatty fish can help to reduce inflammation in the body to reduce soreness. Incorporate these foods into your diet for best results.

  3. Epsom Salt Baths:
    Epsom salt baths are a great way to reduce muscle soreness. The magnesium in the Epsom salt helps to relax the muscles and reduce any stiffness.

  4. OTC Pain Relievers:
    If you’re suffering from post-run soreness, over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen and acetaminophen can help to reduce it.

  5. Ice or Heat:
    Applying either heat or ice to sore muscles can help to reduce inflammation and pain. Be sure to consult a doctor or physical therapist before using heat or ice as it can cause further damage if done incorrectly.

Post-run soreness can occur in both acute and delayed onset forms and is caused by various factors such as lactic acid buildup, dehydration, and muscular injury. While post-run soreness is normal, it is important to understand it and take the necessary steps to minimize and treat it. Things such as proper warm-up and stretching, hydration, fueling, and adequate sleep can help to reduce soreness after running. Additionally, using heat, ice, massage, and anti-inflammatory medications can help to reduce soreness if it does occur. By knowing how to identify and treat post-run soreness you can get back to running pain-free.

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