Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Tips to Prevent Muscle Soreness

Ok -- launch of my marathon training for 2011, not going so well. I've been hit with some horrible bug literally the day training began Monday. Fever, puking, and so many body aches and weakness, I couldn't make it from my bed to the kitchen for a while there! Bad news. I'm not 100% yet... still a bit nauseous and weak but I'm determined to fake my body into thinking I'm better. Frankly, I think my main struggle right now is re-introducing food that my body is not used to any more after several days of toast, chicken soup and applesauce!

But I'm going to do a light run/walk tonight to get back on the bandwagon that I never even started. As I recall from my last 4 mile run though, I was left sore and achy for literally 4-5 days! Unbelievable for a girl who's used to taking 6 months off and then tackling a 6 miler like its no big deal. I chalked it up to 1. getting older and 2. the cold cold weather (my legs were freezing that entire run... that couldn't have been good). Between that experience the other week and the kick-off of the Biggest Loser last night, I wonder... what do I need to remember to do before/after/during/whenever a run to keep myself from being incapacitated (btw, my new favorite word after being so sick and delusional the other day that I replaced it with "decapitated"). Here's what my research/experience came up with as a nice reminder for all you with your running resolutions:

1. Exercise the day after. I know... that's harder said than done. I know the best remedy for when you're sore from a hardcore run or workout the day before is to get the juices moving, but that doesn't mean I don't just try a few quick stretches and continue to moan about it and lay around as well. But really... a nice swim or bike ride is really going to do more for me than 7 days of whining. Just remember not to do the same exercise that initially made you sore... you want to get the blood pumping without re-injuring those same muscle fibers.

2. Massage. Yes... again, one easier said than done. I have a pretty wonderful fiancee who is also a runner so I find that if I offer him a nice massage after a workout, I'm more than likely to receive one back. But I know I'm in the minority there and I'm eternally grateful to the guy for it. And that obnoxious smelling Tiger Balm (sold at your local drugstore) is the best thing to add on to a nice massage for even more relief. But this is just to combat the pain of soreness... I've also read stories that it just contributes to the breakdown of the torn microscopic muscle tissues. So there's your warning... although I personally won't be turning any offers of massage away no matter what the supposed experts say!

3. Ice bath. Wow... these suggestions seem to get harder and harder, huh? This is 10 minutes of pure torture but it honestly works wonders. I've heard that the worst thing for your muscles is a hot shower/bath. It will feel better at the time but not in the long haul because you're muscles will hurt just as much after that bath is over. An ice bath does the opposite thing... the few times I was nutty enough to try this, I was wearing stilettos the same night/next day. It truly is a miracle worker. Read a book or something to keep your mind off the pain of the cold!

4. Finish off your workout with a good protein shake or even just a glass of chocolate milk. Protein repairs those muscle fibers that are damaged during a workout and if you have it within 30 minutes of your workout, its powers are multiplied. I used to end my runs at Starbucks and treat myself to a Venti Soy Chai. Yes, the calories probably counteracted my workout, but I felt great. ha. Maybe I shoulda stuck with a Tall. Also, while you consume your protein, be sure to stretch too since that also needs to be done within 30 minutes to have the most effectiveness.

5. I say avoid pain relievers for a few reasons... studies show that acetaminophen and ibuprofen may also block muscles from making essential proteins after exercise. I've heard that it negates the workout you just did as well in terms of making yourself any stronger. I also highly say that unless its the day of the race (in which case, you should still only do so sparingly and research correct dosage because it can be dangerous if not taken appropriately), you should avoid taking pain relievers on a run in general. As a girl who breaks easily... tendinitis, stress fractures, all kinds of problems, I like to feel what my body is telling me. Yes, even the pain. Because I don't want to push my body to do more than it should. That being said... if I am SEVERELY sore the next day, its almost better to take a small dosage of pain reliever just so I can get moving but, let it be known, this is just temporary relief and if you don't get moving and try some of the other options above, its just going to fade to the same soreness in a few hours anyhow so its almost not really worth the cons.

6. A new fact for me is that I read more antioxidants like in Vitamin C and E especially will aid in your recover as well. True or not, any excuse to eat healthier sounds like a good one. Grapefruits, melons, berries, lemon juice, and oranges are great sources of vitamin C. Wheat germ oil, vegetable oil, nuts, dark green veggies, and whole grains are great sources of vitamin E. So eat some of that after your next hard workout and let me know if you think it works!

7. Drink water. This is another struggle for me. Why do I hate water so much? I'm pretty much always dehydrated, dang it. I'll make an effort knowing that dehydration exacerbates soreness though!

Readers, please contribute a few more ideas if you know of any!!! I love having your comments.

Enjoy your run!!! See you at the Toledo Glass City Marathon!

1 comment:

Philip said...

Good one.thanks for sharing.

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