How to Get Rid of Sore Muscles After Running

Athletic man and athletic woman stretching on field
Two runners stretch after a run. (Image: Jupiterimages/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

Running is one form of exercise that costs little more than an investment in a good pair of sneakers. As long as you have a safe place to do it, when or how you run really does not matter. As any runner can attest to, running hurts. Sore, tired muscles are evidence of the physical stress that your body must endure in an effort to stay fit and healthy. Getting rid of the pain requires practical methods and patience.

Step 1

Cool sore muscles immediately after running. Go for a dip in a cool pool or give yourself a 15- to 20-minute ice bath. Cool treatments help to prevent the inflammation that causes muscle pain.

Step 2

Massage your sore muscles. A gentle massage within the hours following your run flushes out waste material that accumulates in your muscles, bringing you relief.

Step 3

Stretch after your run. Gently stretching both your upper and lower body after a run helps cool your body and reduces muscle soreness.

Step 4

Rest between running workouts. While it is important to push yourself when you are trying to build up stamina, you should never push yourself to the point of pain or injury. If your muscles hurt after a run, rest. Whether you are a new runner or a seasoned runner stepping up your routine, giving yourself a day or two of rest will give your muscles time to recover.

Tip

Stretching after a warm-up but before you run is just as important as stretching after. Not only does stretching reduce muscle soreness, but it also reduces your risk of injury.

Warning

Avoid heating pads and hot baths after your run. Heat may make muscle soreness worse. Ice first, then enjoy a relaxing bubble bath once your sore muscles have recovered. If at any time muscle soreness becomes unbearable or if your muscle soreness gets worse instead of getting better, seek medical attention.

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