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Training when your legs are sore

Today was a speed training day. Using my techniques for remembering runs I come up with the following phrase…Cosco Lice. I picture in my mind an oversized Lice on a treadmill running with a Cosco store on it’s back. That translates into 7.07 miles in 50 minutes.

The run featured 3 miles of joggling and 4 miles of sprints. The whole training was done on a treadmill. The settings for the sprints were 12.0 pace for 0.25 miles. I did 8 of these sprints and in between I did a quarter mile jog at 7.0 pace. All in all it was a pretty tough joggle.

Admittedly, my legs hurt. I don’t know why but they were sore all day. Perhaps it’s overtraining or maybe I’m just old. (37 if you were wondering). It occurs to me that many people would just skip their running workout when their legs hurt. But don’t do it. Unless you’re injured, get out and run.

Here are some tips I use when I have to get out and run with sore legs.

1. Stretch out before your run. Generally, I’m not a big believer in stretching. I’ve run 19 marathons, 1000 – 1400 miles a year for the last 5 years and rarely stretch. It hasn’t caused me much trouble. But when I’m sore, I find stretching out before makes the legs feel much better.

2. Start with a slow jog. Don’t go right into your quick workout. Jog at a slow, easy pace (for me it’s about an 8 minute mile) for about a mile or two. That should warm you up and get the soreness out.

3. Try some cross-training. Instead of running, ride a bike, jump rope, play basketball or even do some standard juggling. If you want to learn to juggle see the previous post. Once you get the legs moving the soreness will subside after 10 to 15 minutes.

4. Stretch after you run. To prevent leg soreness the next day, it sometimes helps to stretch after you’ve run. Like I said, stretching has never helped me much except when I’m sore.

5. Use an analgesic. Ben Gay. What more is there to say? Actually, any cream that contains menthol or methyl salicylate will work wonders. It doesn’t smell so great but it works.
Tomorrow is a lighter workout. I’ve got a few miles to make-up but it won’t be a speed workout. That won’t happen again until Thursday. If you’re following your own marathon training, keep up the good work. The fall marathons are only 8 to 12 weeks away.

This Post Has 3 Comments
  1. hello, ive been running for a couple years and everytime i run my legs kill me i cant push myslef to the fullest effort cuse they hurt so bad, my calf, shin splints, and upper legs muscels throb, i stretch good befor and after, but the pain is still there, i use to run a 10 min mile/half now since i had the pain its more like 15-16 mins like a fast walk, what can i do to get back where i was, and get rid of the unwated pain, please give me some advice, thanks

  2. Hmmm. To tell you the truth, I don’t know what the right answer for you is. I can only relate my own experiences and point you to those of others.

    1. Perhaps you are stretching too much or too hard. Try to run without stretching. I rarely stretch and hardly ever feel the pain that you’ve described. Other runners/joggler might disagree but it works for me.

    2. Maybe you need some time off. Last year when I had a case of Achilles Tendonitis, I took a 3 week break from running and spent time doing things like bike riding, volleyball, and table tennis. The extra rest seemed to help.

    3. Take a painkiller after your workout. I do this on occasion and it seems to work. Running is painful for most anyone at one time or another. Especially if you are trianing hard.

    It sounds like it will take you some time to get back to where you were. If it were me, I would take a few weeks off from running and then start up training with a short run (1 mile) with a fast walk before and after. When it hurts, go back to walking. Soon you’ll learn to accept the pain.

    Running can hurt. But it’ll stop hurting when you do it enough.

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