For runners, sore legs come with the territory. In fact, according to surveys, muscle soreness is one of the major reasons non-runners don’t run. Muscle soreness shouldn't be acute and shouldn't linger for more then 36hrs - that's more an indication that "injury" is knocking on your door.
We're addressing the dull and lead feeling legs you get after a challenging interval/speed session or weekend long run. There's definitely a few things you can do post run to help ease the soreness including; foam rolling, massage, or compression wear. We're going to concentrate on what we think is the best recovery method outside of Sleep/Rest - FOOD!
Drink the soreness away!
One of the simplest things you can do to reduce the amount of tissue damage your muscles are subjected to during running is to consume an electrolyte drink such as
KODA. the official electrolyte for Ultra Trail Australia (UTA) during your speed sessions and longer runs. When muscle glycogen stores fall low late in long runs or your heart rate is on the higher range during a session, the muscles rely increasingly on breaking down their own proteins to provide an alternative fuel source.
Purchase HERE and use the code KODA3FOR2 to buy 2 and get 1 Free.
Protein (Before and After).
The more muscle proteins are broken down to keep you running, the more sore you are likely to be the next day. As we mentioned earlier running on sore legs is required in a training plan - it's the adaptation part that helps us get faster and improve.
If you're not experiencing running on tired or sore legs on occasion then there's a big chance you aren't getting the best out of yourself - the programs we set here are a fantastic balance of Stress and Rest which we know equals growth which leads to PBs.
A little protein PRE-Run - This increases blood amino acid levels during the run, which appears to serve as a kind of biochemical signal that tells the muscles not to break down protein for fuel.
Then of course there's the post run protein that should pass your lips straight after some water and electrolytes.
Runners Tip: Pop some water, your electrolyte choice and protein drink in a small Esky and leave it in the car so it's nice and cold post run. Try adding some cut up watermelon, YUM!
NOW The REAL Good Stuff!
Your overall diet can also reduce the amount of muscle soreness you experience as a runner. A lot of the muscle damage that occurs both during and after runs is caused by free radicals. A diet that is rich in antioxidants will strengthen your internal defenses against exercise-induced free-radical damage.
The best sources of dietary antioxidants are, of course, fresh fruits and vegetables.
Getting plenty of essential fats will further protect your muscles against free-radical damage during and after runs by strengthening muscle cell membranes. Most of us do not get enough of the omega-3 class of essential fats. Correct this problem by increasing your consumption of fish, nuts, and flaxseeds and/or by taking an omega-3 supplement.
The FizzyDrinks ❌
Runners will often crave fizzy sugary drinks post run due to the body burning significant amounts of Glycogen especially after tough sessions and long runs. But! You'll do yourself no favours and won't give yourself the best chance of backing up with a quality run in the days following if you're throwing down bottles of Coke... yes Diet Coke included! Give the watermelon a try like we suggested earlier, some natural sugars will have your body giving you more love.
As runners we seem to obsess over kilometres run and sessions done - if runners were as obsessed and compliant with food especially post run - those PBs would be getting a little closer to reality and your general overall "inside" health would improve.
Set yourself a challenge in the next week to work on your post run nutrition needs.
Health requires, Healthy Food ~ Roger Williams
Run to improve your lifestyle.
Accredited Running Coach - Athletics Australia.
Department Manager - Running - Decathlon.