Tips for relieving sore running muscles

how to relieve sore musclesSore muscles suck. While some argue that feeling of pain after a hard workout is a “good pain,” I have been searching for ways to relieve sore muscles after long runs and tough workouts. There’s nothing fun about wincing just to put on a pair of socks or walk up a few stairs.

This week, my marathon training officially kicked off. I racked up about 37km, capping off the week with a 16km run with the Liberty Village Running Room. I’m definitely feeling all the activity in my legs, and I learned a valuable lesson this week: must wear socks while running. Always. No excuses. My poor feet are destroyed from a sock-less run Thursday night, and my muscles are definitely feeling a bit tight.

I can’t do much about my blister-covered feet, but to help alleviate common muscle soreness, here are a few tips I’ve found effective.

Stretching or an easy yoga class

Yoga is great. If you can, try to get yourself to an easy yoga class that incorporates a lot of stretching. Better yet, find one that is designed for runners. With the repetitive, jarring movement of long distance running, it always feels great to stretch out those tight muscles. For more on why yoga is great for runners, take a look at part 1 and part 2 of an interview I did with Jamie Wood, an awesome yoga instructor from BC.

Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is basically amazing. It helps relieve everything from dandruff and acne to ear infections and… guess what? Muscle soreness! Sure, you could try some A535, but this is all natural, and cheaper. And besides, who doesn’t love natural home remedies. Apparently, apple cider vinegar can reduce soreness and inflammation and it’s mild enough to apply to sensitive skin. Just add 2 cups to a warm bath and you’re good to go.

Massage

Book a massage. That is all.

Foam Roller

If booking a massage doesn’t work for you, do it yourself! Get yourself a foam roller and roll it over your sore muscles focusing on the ones used most for running like your quads, IT band and piriformis (that’s in your butt). You look a bit random, but it feels super good. I don’t have a foam roller, so I’ve been using a tennis ball. Works great on feet, but it’s not ideal for legs. I sense a foam roller may be my next purchase…

Ice/Heat

Valuable lesson: Heat before, ice after. Use ice immediately after a run to treat any pain. Use heat if you have a tender or tight spot that’s been bothering you for a little before you head out for a run. Ice packs or heating pads work great. Don’t have either? For ice, a bag of frozen veggies will do the trick, and for heat, try a towel soaked in hot water.

Do you have any tips for relieving sore muscles? I’d love to hear them – especially as my weekend runs start getting longer and longer!

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