Muscle soreness is normal after running. Learn more about what to do to prevent sore muscles after running.
Muscle soreness after running
It is common to feel sore after running. If you are a beginner, muscle soreness after running means your body is not adapted to this type of physical stress. Pain or soreness within a few days is known as delayed muscle soreness (DOMS), which can also occur with more experienced runners.
How to prevent sore legs
You can take action to prevent sore legs or at least minimize it. One of the most important things you need to do before increasing the intensity is to warm up properly. You can help prevent muscle soreness by gradually increasing the intensity of your runs. If you are a beginner, you can run and walk for 20 minutes, at intervals of 2-5 minutes, and finish with a cool down for 10 minutes, walking.
Apply heat or cold to sore legs
If you want to reduce soreness and pain, try a warm bath to increase blood flow to the muscles. You can use ice or ice cubes wrapped in a towel on the affected area to prevent tissue damage. Apply ice for up to 20 minutes, six times over 48 hours.
You can still run with sore legs as long as you take it easy. It can be an advantage to jog easy, as it increases blood flow to the muscles, which speeds up recovery. With time and regular exercise with appropriate intensity, you should experience less soreness as the muscles adapt to the new activity.
Stretch and keep your legs high
After warming up before a run and cooling down, you can spend a few minutes stretching your legs to speed up recovery. Stretch your legs, hamstrings, knees, and hips in your stretching routine. If the pain in your legs is severe, lift your legs over your heart after the run to reduce blood flow.
Foam roller massage
A foam roller can relieve muscle soreness. Focus on the affected area by slowly scrolling back and forth with the roller until you are relieved.
Get enough rest
Rest is crucial to allow the muscles to recover from muscle soreness. Avoid activity other than walking, or walk very gently for a day or two to let the pain subside.
Check if you are injured
If you have tried these methods to relieve leg pain or soreness after running, but your legs are still sore, you may have an running injury. Some of the most common race-related injuries are:
- Running knee
- Plantar fasciitis
- Iliotibial band syndrome (ITBS)
- Achilles tendinopathy
See your GP or a specialist for running injuries to find out if you have been injured.