After your long training run, marathon or ultra, you may well have a fair bit of leg soreness from all the work you’ve done. Here are my tips to help you get back to normal that bit faster.
The temptation will always be to rest and recover, and whilst this is correct to a degree, too much of a good thing isn’t helpful. As with the use of recovery runs, movement after intense exercise will encourage blood flow to the muscles and speed up the process of repair. The extra oxygen brought to the muscles will help to breakdown the lactate you’ll have built up.
Protein and carbs together will work wonders to speed up repair of the damaged muscles you’re currently suffering with. The muscle fibres are torn in incredibly small ways, and protein is essential to heal these tears. Aim to get around 30g of protein and 60g of carbohydrate not long after you’ve finished. The old rule of 1 hour afterwards at most isn’t much of a concern, it would perhaps be slightly more beneficial, but it’s marginal. I opt for a protein shake, crisps and fruit generally as something easy to consume and enjoyable after a tough race.
Stretch or massage
Muscles will shorten after being used, the biology of which I won’t go into here, but stretching or having a massage will allow the muscles to move more easily. Whilst this itself won’t reduce the soreness it’ll make movement in the following days much easier which will of course help to reduce soreness.
Improve muscle endurance
The more your legs are able to do, the less a race or particularly hard running session will tax your body, resulting in a lower degree of soreness in the first place. You can achieve this with a gradual increase in weekly mileage, especially on long runs, or through resistance exercise with high repetitions.
Written by Kyle Brooks, Running Coach based in Norwich, Norfolk