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Running when sore

Should You Run When Sore?

Not sure about running when sore?

You’ve begun training for your 5K, absolutely smashing your first training session, and then you wake up the next day and can’t walk downstairs. This soreness is DOMS, a common affliction following exercise. But should you continue running when sore?


What’s DOMS?

Shorthand for delayed onset muscle soreness, DOMS is a common problem for runners. It’s that feeling of tightness in your muscles, or a reduced range of mobility.

It normally rears its head around 6 hours after your work out, and is at its discomfort peak around 24 to 48 hours later. It settles down usually after 72 hours luckily, but it can be pretty tough.


Why do we get it?

DOMS is typically caused by doing a new activity, or introducing a higher intensity to your usual work out. The discomfort is caused by microtrauma to your muscles, which in turn causes inflammation.

If you’re a new runner, your muscle soreness is most likely because your body is adjusting to this new exercise. As you gain more muscle strength, DOMS will ease off over time.


How can I ease DOMS?

There are many ways to help ease the pain. Foam rolling is an incredibly popular method of reducing stiffness. Epsom salt baths is also a great way of relaxing sore muscles after exercise. If you don’t have any Epsom salt to hand, you can also simply alternate between hot and cold showers.

Otherwise, doing dynamic and static stretching respectively before and after you exercise can help improve your stiffness overall, but doesn’t actually reduce DOMS.

The best way to try and reduce it is to just ease up on your activity. Don’t push yourself too hard too soon, and be sure to rest in between work outs to allow your body to fully recover.


Can I still run?

The idea of running when sore may be tempting. DOMS is often thought of as a sign of a good work out or a hard run, which is wrong, but it’s also nothing to cause concern.

After a hard work out a short, easygoing run can actually ease your soreness. It gets your blood moving to your legs which will make you feel a little better and ultimately help recovery.

Of course, if you’re in pain, this is not a good idea. If you haven’t had a rest day in a while, it’d be a smart move to put your feet up and let your muscles recover and heal.