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I've started running a again a few weeks ago, the first three weeks I kept to a strict 30 minutes (5 km) run. I run 3 times a week.

Now after 3 weeks I upped from 30 to 40 minutes, which seemed ok, however now after my third time running this schema, I had muscle soreness that doesn't seem to go away, it has now been already 3 days that I feel sore.

I must add that for my job I'm always on my feet running around(window washer) , and that it quite hinders me if my legs stay sore (walking stairs with heavy objects).

Should I just continue running, even though I feel sore, or should I stop until the soreness is completely gone?

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Do you stretch after running? It works for me, but I don't have science references handy to back it up, so I post it as just a comment. –  Lagerbaer Jul 26 '11 at 21:33
    
I try to do that, maybe I should do it better, what excercises do you recommend ? –  Lucas Kauffman Jul 26 '11 at 21:44
    
I wish I was more of an expert on this... Generally after running I stretch these muscles: Quads, Hamstrings, Iliopsoas (Hip flexor), Calves. Some googling should give better advice, such as this –  Lagerbaer Jul 26 '11 at 21:54

3 Answers 3

up vote 6 down vote accepted

After a little reading on the subject, the correct answer seems to be:

You can continue, but be aware of a few facts:

  • Light training with muscle soreness does not prolong the healing process, unless with each training session you are damaging your muscles all over again. But even then your body will get accustomed to the stress eventually, unless you really overdo it.
  • If your soreness hinders you to reach your goals, i.e. in your case you can't run your 5km/0.5h, and you have a problem with that, it is advisable to switch to a different kind of workout to avoid any demotivating experience. (Personally I get really frustrated if I see my performance dropping)
  • When exercising while being in pain people tend to slightly modify the exercise to ease the pain (avoidance behaviour). If you are not running correctly (different posture, hobbling, ...) you have a higher risk of getting injured, which could derail your exercise much longer than just a few days. If you can't push through the pain it is better to wait until you are completly healed and you can do the exercise accurately again.
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The basic fix for soreness is RICE.

  • R - Rest - Unless you are in serious training, rest the sore area for 24-48 hours minimum
  • I - Ice - Use cold compresses on the sore areas. The cold will reduce the inflammation.
  • C - Compression - Using special compression sleeves and sock speed recovery of the muscles.
  • E - Elevate - Sitting or laying down with your legs up will help reduce fluid and inflammation in your legs.

Being on your feet all day doesn't help. You might consider a good anti-inflammatory like Ibuprofen to help.

Stretching before and after running can also help.

Lastly, good shoes can help reduce the impact of running. If you aren't using

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You need to tweak your bullet points slightly, else it ignores the linebreaks. Have a look at my edit to see what I changed. Also Stretching has not been shown to affect DOMS in any way. –  Ivo Flipse Jul 29 '11 at 18:41

People get sore muscles for three reasons:

  • They are not used to exercising.
  • They are used to a different exercise.
  • They push their regular exercise too hard.

You said that you recently went from 30 minutes to 40 minutes. Your pain is most likely from your body adapting to the new mileage.

Although you should make sure you are doing your part by:

  • Ensuring that you have proper running shoes.
  • Giving yourself enough rest.
  • Giving yourself enough water and food/nutrition.

Also be aware of the surface you are running on. Always on the road or bike trail? Treadmill or grass? You may try running on a different surface to mix-up your workout and give your body an easier/harder workout depending on how you feel.

I would give yourself a day of full rest and see how your legs respond. Feel good? Go back to running 30 minutes for a day. If you're feeling good, next run do 35 minutes. See how we're working our way back up to 40 gradually? Perhaps you increased the time/mileage too much and need to taper down.

If the soreness does not go away after 2 days of rest, I would definitely consider seeing a medical professional just to make sure no damage has been incurred.

You may also want to follow a training program like Hal Higdon's 5K so you can vary your workouts/runs.

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1  
Also note that you may want to supplement your running with some exercises to strengthen your legs: squats, lunges, etc. –  Tony R Jul 27 '11 at 15:07

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