Relieve Soreness: Recovery Basics for New Runners
Running is obviously great for your health, a good way to stay in shape, plus it can provide an amazing sense of accomplishment when you reach your running goals. However, if you’re not used to working out, running can leave you feeling like you’ve been hit by a bus the next day. Post-workout soreness can make getting through the day a painful and annoying ordeal. Fortunately, there are many ways you can combat post-running soreness.
Massage works wonders for muscle soreness after a run. It helps eliminate lactic acid buildup, improves blood flow to the muscles, reduces inflammation, helps stretch and elongate muscle fibers, and helps them repair faster. Don’t be afraid of indulging in a post-workout massage every now and then when the soreness doesn’t seem to go away as quickly as it should.
As a high-energy sport, running requires you to get plenty of fuel, even after you’re done. While a meal replacement bar, or protein shake is better than nothing, they don’t provide you with much in the way of good calories or nutrients. It’s important to make everything you eat count, so you can get back on your feet again.
Hot tubs are a popular way to ease the soreness caused by running. Most runners use them after the initial swelling goes down to speed recovery and help them get ready for the next run. The heat of the water relaxes muscles and soothes pain and stiffness. The hot water also encourages better blood circulation, which provides tired muscles with nutrients and oxygen to help them heal.
The importance of rest following a run cannot be overstated. In fact, you can look at post-workout soreness as a cue that you need to take it easy. If it hurts to move, your muscles are trying to tell you that should avoid vigorous activity. It’s good for even experienced runners to occasionally allow at least one day for resting, but beginning runners may need two to four days to fully recover.
Inflammation is huge barrier to fast recovery from soreness. The more inflamed your muscles are, the longer it will take them to heal. To control inflammation, supplements like bromelain, cayenne pepper, ginger, and turmeric can be very helpful. Soaking in a cold bath is another way to fight inflammation and is convenient for treating large areas. It’s also helpful to avoid eating refined sugars during your recovery as these promote inflammation and increase pain.
Sore muscles often benefit from light activity during recovery, and stretching is an ideal way to accommodate this. By relieving tightness and bolstering blood flow, you can enjoy freer movement and less pain. Be careful not to overdo your stretching to the point that you cause injury to recovering muscles.
Good sleep is critical to soreness reduction. During certain stages of sleep, your body releases growth hormone, which is responsible for most of the repair functions that go on inside. It’s recommended that you get at least eight hours of uninterrupted shut-eye, but you should take as much as you feel you need. Relaxing in a hot tub can help you fall asleep faster.
Following these tips can help you decrease your recovery time and make running more enjoyable.