Do you suffer from muscle pain after a long, hard run? We know running, fast workouts and nailing long runs is a key part of the training process, but don’t let the following day’s aches and pains get in the way of your training.
Simply follow Health For Mzansi’s diet and lifestyle tips to manage muscle pain after running.
Muscle pain after running is normal and, in fact, plays an important role in the process of muscle conditioning. The pain after a hard training session is most often caused by microscopic tears in the muscle fibres. This muscle damage is much needed for the muscle tissue to adapt and grow stronger, for improved running fitness and strength.
How to manage pain after running
Dehydration after running is known to aggravate muscle damage and delay recovery. Damaged muscle fibres rely on fluids to bring elements of recovery and to eliminate the waste products and debris from the muscle tissues. The best way to rehydrate is by taking 500ml of a rehydration formula, or a sports drink with electrolytes, within 10 to 15 minutes after the exercise session.
Try these supplements
Magnesium is one of the most important nutrients required for running. High intensity exercise is known to causes losses of magnesium, which may increase inflammatory stress in the body. It then comes as no surprise that magnesium supplementation is recommended before, sometimes during and after exercise, not only to support the muscles during high intensity and endurance exercise, but also to replenish exercise-induced losses.
In addition to this, recent research shows that magnesium may have anti-inflammatory effects, which further supports the role of magnesium supplementation to help manage muscle pain.
Homeopathic Arnica D30 tablets taken before, during and after a long run may reduce muscle soreness after the run, most probably due to the anti-inflammatory effects of arnica.
How about an ice bath?
An ice bath is the simplest short-term relief for sore muscles after running. For best results, try to sit in cold water at about 15◦ Celcius for 10 to 15 minutes. This process is known reduce the painful swelling inside the muscle tissues, while speeding up the recovery process through improved circulation.
Taking whey protein can reduce muscle soreness and improve muscle recovery, notably if taken within 30 minutes after exercise. Whey protein is a fast digesting dairy protein rich in branched chain amino acids (BCAA) such as leucine, isoleucine and valine. These amino acids are needed for the recovery of overworked muscles, which rapidly absorb these nutrients to facilitate repair after exercise.
Stretch… after a run only!
Exercise science has shown us that stretching adds most value if done after your workout. After a high intensity running session, about 10 minutes of stretching is recommended, with a focus on the muscle groups most affected; calves, quads, hamstrings. It may be wise to stretch your hips and glutes as well, but for best results, consult a biokineticist to show you how to stretch properly and how to make best use of that feared foam roller. Remember, safety first!
Soothing epsom salts soak
After your high intensity training session, or before you go to bed, soaking in a warm bath with Epsom Salts will help bring relief from sore muscles. A good soak of 15 minutes is recommended, as this will help with the removal of metabolic by-products or “toxins” in the muscles.
- Andrea du Plessis is a registered dietician with a passion for healthcare through nutrition, natural remedies and a healthy lifestyle. These tips and recommendations are specific to address the pain caused by an intensive workout and are not recommendations for acute muscle tears, chronic muscle injuries, ligament or joint injuries, or muscle cramps.