Although running can improve your physical fitness significantly, it does come with potential drawbacks, such as muscle soreness. Running for speed and distance both demand a considerable amount of effort from your legs, and the exertion can leave you physically drained and aching. There are steps you can take to alleviate leg soreness after running.
Dehydration is a major concern for runners, especially those who run in warm climates or hot indoor facilities. Dehydration can leave you susceptible to heat stroke and fatigue, but the adverse effects don't end there. Research from the October 2005 issue of the "Journal of Athletic Training" suggests that dehydration increases muscle soreness after exercise. The American Council on Exercise recommends consuming 17 to 20 oz. of water before exercise, 7 to 10 oz. every 10 or 20 minutes during exercise and 16 to 24 oz. for every pound lost after exercise.
When you exercise, free radicals are released due to the stress on your body. These atoms can damage your cells and tissues and cause soreness if left unchecked. However, nutrients called antioxidants can combat the effects of free radicals and reduce soreness. Antioxidants include vitamins C and E.
Consume Protein and Carbohydrates
Although carbohydrates, which provide your body with energy, are considered to be king in aerobic and endurance sports such as running, research indicates that protein can assist in your recovery as well. Protein provides amino acids, which form the structure of your muscles, so consuming protein after running can be beneficial. The June 2010 issue of the journal "Applied Physiology, Nutrition and Metabolism" found that consuming protein and carbohydrates after exercise reduced soreness and improved muscle performance.
Wear Compression Clothing
Compression clothing applies pressure to your muscles, which can have a gentle massage effect and encourage blood flow to muscles. According to the March 2010 issue of the "Journal of the Strength and Conditioning Research," compression clothing can reduce swelling and fatigue in addition to muscle soreness.
- Journal of Athletic Training: Dehydration and Symptoms of Delayed-Onset Muscle Soreness in Hyperthermic Males
- American Council on Exercise: Healthy Hydration
- PubMed: Production, Detection, and Adaptive Responses to Free Radicals in Exercise
- Applied Physiology, Nutrition and Metabolism; Effect of Milk-Based Carbohydrate-Protein Supplement Timing on the Attenuation of Exercise-Induced Muscle Damage
- Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research: Effects of a Whole Body Compression Garment on Markers of Recovery After a Heavy Resistance Workout in Men and Women