Running is an intense exercise and can be hard on your legs. That's why having tired or sore legs after running is not uncommon. There are various and multiple causes for tired legs. Old running shoes, running on surfaces that are too hard, overtraining, poor hydration and improper nutrition can all contribute to your legs feeling tired and heavy after running.
Luckily, there are almost as many effective treatments to revive tired legs as there are causes. Consult your doctor if pain in your legs persists or worsens.
Cold for Tired Legs
Soaking your legs in an ice bath after you run can help revive tired legs. The cold eases swelling by helping to repair micro-tears in capillaries that occur from running and cause stiffness and pain.
According to a study published in 2015 by Sports Medicine Journal, cold water immersion decreases nerve conduction speed, helping to decrease perception of soreness after exercise. It also constricts blood vessels, reducing inflammation and swelling that can contribute to soreness and tired legs after running.
Revive Tired Legs With Massage
Massage is a particularly effective treatment for sore legs after running. Deep-tissue massage increases blood flow to sore muscles and removes waste products, such as lactic acid, from muscles. Massage also opens the pores in muscle tissues, breaking up scar tissue and freeing accumulated waste products from the muscles while allowing water and nutrients to enter the cells, hastening recovery.
If you can't get to a massage therapist or can't afford to, there are many products available for self-massage so you can relax and soothe your tired leg muscles at your own convenience.
Tired Legs Remedy: RICE
One of the tried-and-true methods for treating tired legs is RICE. Not the long-grain stuff, but rest, ice, compression and elevation for your legs:
- Rest: Take a day or two off from running.
- Ice: Soak in an ice bath or just rub ice on your legs to cool them down.
- Compression: Compression socks and sleeves send blood that would normally pool in your muscles, making them sore, back toward your heart for improved circulation.
- Elevation: Raising your legs above your heart will improve leg circulation, flushing out waste and making legs feel rejuvenated.
Stretch Your Muscles
After your run, instead of getting on with your day, take a few minutes to stretch your tired legs. Stretching is essential after running to avoid injury, prevent cramping and speed recovery.
Head-to-Knee pose in yoga stretches one leg at a time. Sit on the floor and extend your left leg in front of you. Bend your right knee and place the bottom of your right foot against your upper left thigh. Let the outside of your right leg lie on the floor. Flex your left foot and reach your hands toward your left foot.
If you can't grasp the toes of your left foot, hold on to the lower part of your left leg. Stay in this position for up to one minute and then switch sides.