Hard session, sore muscles... What to do!!
As mentioned a few days ago I undertook a pretty hard session last week. I spent an hour ascending/descending a set of stairs in some woods to try and get the maximum elevation possible over a 2 km distance. I ran to the location- about a mile, did the activity- which took about 50 mins and then ran 4 miles home.
After I felt fine but the next morning had very sore calf muscles.
What should I have done to reduce the pain?
Good question! Well I did some of these and neglected others:
Here is what I did do:
1. Remain hydrated- I sipped water during the exercise as it was a hot day- when I got home had a pint of water with an Isotonic tablet. You should ideally try and do this within 10 to 20 minutes of finishing your activity.
2. Stretched off. Focusing on the major groups, Hips, Hamstrings, Calves and Quads. I tend to stick to light stretching just to bring the muscles back to more natural length holding each stretch no more than 20 seconds.
3. Ate a decent meal – we had a BBQ a couple of hours after the run. Something that provides a balance of protein, carbs and fat to help your muscles repair.
What else should I have done?
4. Had an iced/cold bath. I learnt this recently after my second marathon. Definitely aided my recovery. It's nowhere near as bad as many people would have you believe, the trick is in surviving the first few minutes, then staying in for at least 10 more. The real question is do you ease in or plunge?
5. Used a foam roller- I should know better but somehow didn’t have the time. Foam rollers help remove tight spots and knots, improve blood flow and circulation aiding recovery.
6. Had a massage- this always seems to sort out really bad muscle soreness- not always practical having to pre-book so number 6 above usually suffices.
7. Got more sleep. Sleep – allows your body to fully work on repairing your muscles.
What shouldn’t I have done?
Drank a beer or two – probably a bad idea- negating number one above to an extent.
So there we go 7 things I should have done knowing that I was probably going to be sore after a very unusual session and 1 that I should probably avoid in the future.