Running feels great and has it’s benefits! We get the runners high, it reduces stress, and is a terrific form of aeorbic activity. As athletes, we feel a strange satisfaction of accomplishment after a good workout. Sometimes however, this good feeling morphs into inflammation and soreness more than we anticipate, thus takeing away our great feeling. Below we look at a few ways to help minimize the pain and soreness many of us encounter after a run.
Stretch It Out
Stretching is a must, both before and after a workout. A Harvard study recently stated “Stretching keeps the muscles flexible, strong, and healthy, and we need that flexibility to maintain a range of motion in the joints.“
Stretching before the run loosens up your body and muscles, increases agility, and minimizes the likelihood of injury during your workout. Afterwards, proper stretching during cool down prevents your muscles from becoming tight.
Remember the feet! There are over 100 muscles, tendons and ligaments in the feet working together to provide support, balance and stability. Stretching these muscles can help to avoid those nagging foot problems runners can encounter.
Movement is good for the body. We as runner know that and it’s why we run! This movement needs to continue, even when our body really aches. After an especially tough workout, the last thing you feel like doing is moving – right? Our intuition is to think sitting or laying down for the remainder of the day will help recovery. In fact, you are more likely to get stiff and feel more pain. It’s counter intuitive, but getting up and moving more can actually help you feel better. We are not saying do another workout. However, it is important to stay limber and keep muscles warm during your recovery time. This can be accomplished by going for a slow walk, moving around the office, standing up from your desk and stretching, doing some light chores, walking the dog, etc.
Hydrating during and after a run is key to a good workout and recovery. “The American College of Sports Medicine’s” article Exercise and Fluid Replacement issued the following Position Stand providing guidance on fluid replacement to sustain appropriate hydration of individuals performing physical activity.
The goal of prehydrating is to start the activity well hydrated with normal plasma electrolyte levels. Hydrating should be initiated least several hours before the run to enable fluid absorption and allow urine output to return to normal levels.
The goal of drinking during the workout is to prevent excessive (>2% body weight loss from water deficit) dehydration and excessive changes in electrolyte balance to avoid compromised performance. During exercise, consuming beverages containing electrolytes and carbohydrates can provide benefits over water alone under certain circumstances.
After exercise, the goal is to fully replace any fluid and electrolyte deficit. The amount and how fast depends on the speed that rehydration must be accomplished and the magnitude of the fluid-electrolyte deficit. If recovery time and opportunities permit, consumption of normal meals and snacks with a sufficient volume of plain water will restore optimal hydration, provided the food contains sufficient sodium to replace sweat losses.
As the benefits CBD continues to be researched, runners have started to incorporate CBD into their training. Taking CBD before running can help reduce performance anxiety and any pre-existing inflammation. Depending on the level of training and intensity of the exercise, runners are finding benefit in taking a dose of CBD or utilizing topical CBD on tight muscles mid way through their workout. After the workout and during recovery, athletes using CBD have indicated reduced soreness and pain. This is due to CBD natural anti-inflammatory properties.
Some runners, like myself, experience high cortisol levels, restless leg syndrom, or muscle spasms at night. This can make the most important part of recovery – sleep – difficult. Our bodies have many receptors in our neurological and central nervous systems, along with external organs. CBD binds to these receptors and naturally reduces cortisol levels, to help calm and relax the muscles and body. Athletes report applying CBD balm topically along with taking CBD internally (oil, gummies, inhaler) help with these issues.
Take An Ice or Epsom Salt Bath
Plunging into a freezing cold tub of ice sounds a bit unpleasant, lets face it – it is! Yet ice baths are an effective way to reduce soreness all over your body. Filling a bucket with ice and water and emerging sore feet and calves is a quick way to reduce inflammation. A new treatment athletes are finding helpful is cryotherapy. Athletes feel this treatment is helpful in healing and relieving pain from muscle aches and stiff joints. This treatment uses cold liquid nitrogen to soothe the muscles and is reported to give a renewed sense of energy. This downside of this treatment is it is relatively new and can be expensive.
Don’t like emerging into cold? Try soaking in a warm (not hot) Epsom salt bath (aka Magnesium) for 10-15 minutes. Epsom salt can be found in many stores, is readily available, and inexpensive. Advocates praise the benefits of soaking in magnesium for reducing their swelling and relieving aches. Some athletes have found Epsom salt bath to be effective for soothing skin and reducing irritation and itching that can come from training.
Eat To Replenish
Getting the proper nutrients into your body, such as protein and carbs, will quicken recovery. Hard workouts use up glycogen, depletes fluid levels and minerals (such as sodium and potassium), and breaks down muscle cells and fibers. Within the first 30 minutes after running, muscles are in need of replenishment and receptive to restoring glucouse. Boost your recovery by eating carbs to replenish glycogen, and protein to rebuild muscle fibers.
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Authors: Lisa Baskfield/John Ludlow