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Congratulations! We trained hard, ran hard, and made it through a wonderful weekend on the Great Ocean Road! But the celebrations have yielded for muscle soreness. What can we do to recover?
For most of you, Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS) is probably now in full flight. It usually peaks between one and three days after an event.
Speaking of peaks, the rolling hills of the Great Ocean Road are also to blame for any additional discomfort. This is due to the high eccentric loading that is associated with downhill running.
How do we go about getting rid of this muscle soreness, so that we can climb stairs again without straining and groaning every step of the way? Movement is essential.
Get on the mend by moving.
It might be the last thing you feel like doing at this stage, but more exercise will actually accelerate your return to regular condition. Physical movement encourages blood flow to the recovering muscles and aids in the recovery process. Remember to start gently though.
For example, try an easy ten-minute walk, followed by 30 second jog and two minute walk intervals for the next ten minutes. Swimming is also a nice unloaded and continuous exercise that can be great for recovering muscles.
The key to suppressing soreness is continuous exercise. Although it might be difficult to get going initially, the constant movement increases the body’s pain tolerance, known as the exercise-induced analgesia mechanism.
Returning to full training.
The best approach is to do what’s comfortable for you. Gradually increase your running time and effort until you reach your normal mileage and intensity per session. For the first two weeks following an event, make sure you offset your running efforts with a rest or cross-training day every couple of sessions.
Don’t forget: allow at least three weeks before you sign up for your next race (or any run over 5km), and approximately 6 weeks for any distances beyond that.
Aside from that, rest up, keep moving, and eat well.
And, of course, let us know how you went with the race!