Those of you that are regular to this site will know that I’m a runner – it’s my weapon of choice for cardio and for keeping that dreaded ‘beer belly’ at bay!
I started running in my mid thirties, and I’m now in my forties…unfortunately the wear and tear of running is multiplied on my body these days.
So why do my legs ache after running? Why can’t I run as far as I used to? Why am I in pain ALL DAY LONG after a decent run?
Let’s take a closer look…
Legs Hurt After Running
So I’m a runner – I love the way it feels, I love the way it ploughs into the fatty parts of my body and gets rid of them, and I love the routine and discipline of it.
When I turned 40 I had an arrival I was not planning for in life – my second son. Of course I was over the moon, but I’d already gone through fatherhood with my first son, and I was ‘getting on a bit’ in my eyes.
Anyway, this arrival put itself firmly in the way of my daily exercise, and rightly so, but I’ve struggled to recapture my total fitness ever since.
I never used to ache that much after running – now I’m near enough on my hands and knees crawling around after every run!
It doesn’t stop me from running, but it sure makes the day drag on…and on…
So what happened?
Did I really lose that much of my fitness in that period?
Will I ever get it back?
Why do I ache so much after running these days?
Why do I Feel Pain After Exercise?
Okay, the first thing I should point out here is that there is no need to worry about aching ‘whatever’ after exercise – this is completely normal (you’re not a freak – it happens to the best of us!).
In most cases this kind of muscle stiffness or ache is normal, doesn’t last long, and is actually a sign of your improving fitness (famous last words!).
Have you ever heard of delayed onset muscle soreness, or DOMS?
Well this is the kind of ache that most of us will be experiencing after running etc. It can take place when we first start a fitness regime, when we are overtired (and still run) and even when we up the intensity of our training.
This DOMS is behind the ache you/we feel after running.
It’s important to point out that absolutely anyone can be effected by this DOMS – even athletes that have been training for years. I’ve been running near enough full time for about a decade now, and I still get it (more and more frequently the older I’m getting!).
What Can You do About This Pain?
Well unfortunately there is no real cure for this – nothing is proven to be effective 100%.
You can try resting, using ice packs, or even painkillers, but there is no real cure for it.
One of the best ways to prevent DOMS is to start any new activity programme gently and gradually. Allowing the muscle time to adapt to new movements should help minimise soreness.
I tried taking on a professional warming up routine, and I’m still trying to prefect it to this day.
Has it helped me with the pain?
Nope, but I try!
Can You Exercise Through This Pain?
Yeah of course you can – I do it all the time, but it can get a little uncomfortable at times, and the pain can build after each run (picture yourself crawling around the living room trying to get to the kitchen!).
The soreness should go away once your muscles have warmed up…but unfortunately there is a 99.9% chance the pain will return once your muscles have cooled down and you decide to run again!
If you find it too painful to run with this pain, then you should DEFINITELY stop. Maybe think about a bike ride or concentrating on other muscles instead?
Why Do My Legs Ache After Running?
At the end of the day this is nothing more than a type of muscle conditioning, which means your muscles are adapting to the new activity. I have been told (on numerous occasions) that there’ll be less muscle tissue damage and less soreness the more used to the exercise you are.
Unfortunately this doesn’t seem to be the case when age creeps into the equation.
If the pain is too much then stop for a couple of days – there’s no use in ending up like a slug who struggles to get up off the sofa, you’re trying to get fitter after all!
I wish I could say that it isn’t going to get worse the older you get, but that is not my experience with it (so far!).
Have you experienced this kind of ache and pain?
Do you know of any cures?
Please leave your thoughts and opinions in the comment section below.