4 ways you can prevent muscle soreness

Have you ever woken up a day or two after a run or workout with your muscles aching more than they did during or immediately after your workout?

Welcome to the world of DOMS or Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness.

This is where 12-24 hours after your exercise your muscles feel sore and achey and is a sign that you maybe overdid it a bit! The feeling shouldn’t last more than a day or so but can affect your training for the next day or so so it makes sense to try and prevent it if we can.

How can we prevent DOMS?

Well building up slowly is a good idea. It gives your body time to adjust to your training. A lot of time DOMS happens when you’ve not been working out for a while, are new to exercise and running, or ramp up the intensity too fast. So ease into things. Don’t suddenly decide to go running everyday when you haven’t run for a month, or start your interval training with 10 x 400m repeats!

Make sure you warm up and cool down properly. A proper warm up will make sure the blood is flowing to your muscles and are ready for the workout ahead. A proper cool down, rather than an immediate halt to exercise, will give your muscles a chance to get rid of any excess lactic acid and a nice stretch will allow your muscles time to relax and start repairing.

DOMS is often caused during the eccentric (ie muscle lengthening) phase of a movement – think of the lowering part of a squat. Which means if you are running fast DOWNHILL you will likely have very achey thighs a day or two later. So if you are running somewhere very hilly take it easy on the downhill and include down hill training to get you gradually used to running fast downhill.

What you eat after a run can also help to prevent DOMS. Something that contains protein and carbs will restore your energy and help your muscles to repair and recover. Omega 3 fatty acids have also been shown to have an anti inflammatory effect on the body which can help with reducing muscle soreness. Good plant based sources of omega 3 are walnuts, chia, hemp and flax seeds.

Having DOMS occasionally isn’t too concerning, but consistent DOMS can be a sign of overtraining and muscle damage, so if you keep getting DOMS, even after an easier run, stop training and give your body some rest and recovery.

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