“I’m sorry, you ran how far this morning? You know that it is Saturday, right?” Why yes, concerned citizen, I do know that it is Saturday and I do know how far I ran this morning. Not only do I know how far I ran this morning. I planned that 12 miler! Plus, I’m loving every second of this post long run muscle soreness. *drinks 8 gallons of water*
Okay, obviously I kid about the 8 gallons of water. That conversation however, is one that I have had many times with other people.
They simply can’t understand why I would run that far. Not only that.. Why I would run that far for fun.
Welp! This is the weirdo club. We are runners. Not only do we have a weird sense of humor, we find weird things fun. Like running 12 or more miles.
We’ve all been there though, right? At the end of a long run and either by the end of the day or the next morning you feel like you’ve been hit by a truck.
It feels glorious doesn’t it?
But let’s get serious. This soreness doesn’t need to be ignored; it needs to be handled properly.
Let’s talk about how I have learned to curb this soreness.
Post Long Run Muscle Soreness Step 1- Water
You have just put your body through a brutally long run and your body must re-hydrate. When you run, your muscles breakdown and must rebuild which is what makes them stronger. No, your muscles are not dissolving or anything. The easiest way to explain it is that they are going through a rebuilding process which causes the discomfort.
Your body requires water and the harder your body works, the more water your body requires.
Especially when we do long runs our body loses a lot of water. Running in the heat, it’s obvious that we’ll sweat a lot but even running in the cold, you’d be surprised at how much water your body loses.
Post Long Run Muscle Soreness Step 2 -Foam Roll
Foam rolling has been around for quite some time, but people didn’t really take it seriously until recently because, well, sometimes you might look a little weird while you’re foam rolling.
From the queen of weirdos, it’s totally worth it.
I was first introduced to foam rolling about 10 years ago actually. However, within the past 2 years is when I really started implementing foam rolling into my training routine and it has made a huge difference.
Basically, foam rolling is a way to self-massage your sore and aching muscles. That is the very basic of it.
When we go for long runs, our butts and our legs take quite a beating. On my long runs, about mile ten is when my butt really tends to start seizing up. As soon as I get home from a long run, I do the butt roll on my foam roller and it really eases the soreness.
Post Long Run Muscle Soreness Step 3 – Good Food
There really isn’t much that good real food won’t fix. Real food provides your body with nutrients that rebuild your muscles and refuels your body. Plus, it tastes amazing and there’s something about good food that is just so satisfying.
“Healthy eating is boring”. Oh please. Don’t even get me started. I hear that so much when I talk to people about eating healthy foods! Healthy eating is absolutely not boring and it can really make the difference in helping you recover from a long run.
Let’s go a bit deeper on food. Why? Well because I like food.
Good carbs provide the fuel you need to make your runs successful. Good fats, however, are help you get through those long runs. Don’t get me wrong, we need those carbs. Just keep reading..
The carbs are your quick energy. They are what can be burned quickly within the first few miles.
Then, when you’ve burned off those carbs, it’s when you need those good fats (i.e. avocado) to kick in and provide you with that energy you need to keep going.
So, the night before a long run, I eat a bowl of homemade guacamole with some quinoa chips or blue corn chips and I’ve got a great balance of energy producing foods for my run the next morning.
Within 60 minutes of my run the next morning, I drink a protein shake with my protein of choice. Let that settle, then after that, I have a full balanced meal within 2 hours of a long run. This includes meat, veggies, complex carb and good fat, and some fruit. A meal like this replenishes my body of everything I have burned off in that run and replenishes my muscles with the fuel it needs to repair.
Post Long Run Muscle Soreness Step 4 – Ice
Let’s be honest. Sometimes we are so sore from a long run that we need ice. I’ve sat on a pack of ice many a times because my butt is so sore that it needs that cold to calm down the screaming muscles.
I do know of runners that do ice baths. Let’s be clear, I have never personally done an ice bath; because in my firm opinion I believe baths should be warm. However, I know of runners that swear by them.
So! If you decide to give an ice bath a go, good luck to you. 🙂
A pack of ice is an awesome way to ease those muscles. I know that you can put ice cubes in a baggy and put it on your butt or whatever is sore, but to be honest, I use ColPacs and have for years.
They are super flexible and actually really affordable. You can get it on amazon for less than $12. They used to be over thirty dollars and I’ve seen them used in medical clinics because they are so high quality and they’re comfortable.
Post Long Run Muscle Soreness Step 5 – Give yourself a rest day
For the love of Gu, sister, give yourself a rest day. I am super bad about this. I’ll admit it!
Example: let’s say that you’re training for a half marathon. When you have your long run day, the very next day I would suggest a very light day. My Half Marathon Training Plans that I have in my store have lighter run days the very next day and some even have full rest days which are just stretching and a light walk. They’re made that way because the method works.
Yes, you need to time on your feet for mileage. But you must give yourself full rest days to allow those muscles time to rebuild and give your lungs a rest!
In the spirit of transparency…
I enjoy long runs more than I enjoy short runs. Yep, I’d rather run 10 or more miles than 2 miles.
Personally, I think it’s because when I just run two miles, I haven’t gotten into the groove. In a long run, you find your groove and you just keep rolling.
These 5 ways to recover from long runs is exactly what I do and how I work with my girls that are training for half marathons on helping them overcome the aftermath of long runs.
Water is so important to the success of your runs. If you don’t want to carry water on your long runs, I get it! I hate carrying water on my runs too. Which is why I drive around and put water out along my course. Kind of like my own personal aid stations.
I drink the water along the way, then drive back around and pick up the trash. That way I keep hydrated as I go, and don’t have to carry my water!
It’s possible that you won’t need each of these steps after each long run, but I’d be willing to bet that if you’re training like you should be, you will need most if not all of these steps every single time. Which, is fine!
It only sounds hard at first. Once you get the hang of it, you’re all set and ready to roll!
Get out there. Run Free.
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