Why Do My Legs Ache After Running?

Why Do My Legs Ache After Running

 

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?

Legs Hurt After Running

 


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!

What Can You do About This Pain?

 


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.

 

Running Advice – Exercising With a Hangover

Running Advice - Exercising With a Hangover

Regulars to this site will know by now that my main weapon against the belly bulge is running – I love it…yet hate it…at the same time (no pain, no gain!).

Those closest to me will also know that I like a drink or two throughout the week…and that sometimes leads to me exercising with a hangover.

I have to admit – this running lark is usually the best way for me to kick that ‘morning after’ feeling, it’s brilliant way of sweating out the night before.

But is this type of exercise good for a body that’s already been through the mill with alcohol?

What damage can this do (if any) and how should you approach exercising with a hangover?

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Should You Run After A Super-Binge?

Okay, okay, it doesn’t necessarily have to be a super-binge of alcohol – lets just say a skin-full!

Personally, I always thought that exercising the morning after was a big NO-NO for your body – I thought it would do more harm than good. But, I’ve come across conflicting views on this through my research…

What Matthew Kornblatt Says…

And who the #### is Matthew Kornblatt? (I hear you say).

Well, Matthew Kornblatt is a certified personal trainer and the founder of RightFit Nation.

He seems to think that exercising the morning after is the best way to get rid of the body toxins from the night before (the crap they put in alcoholic drinks!). Apparently we just sweat all the garbage out of us.

Should You Run After A Super-Binge?

He believes that you need to eat a meal made up of carbs before taking on the workout, something like oats or fruit, it restores the energy that the hangover takes off you (this meal is to be consumed about an hour before the workout starts).

NOTE: I’m pretty much against this meal thingy because I’m a runner – I need to put at least 2 hours between eating and starting a run…otherwise I tend to throw up in my mouth halfway through the run!

He also points out that it is important to drink a load of water before your workout – a hangover usually means your body is dehydrated and needs more liquid in it.


So What Actually Happens To Your Body When You’re Hungover?

This is the important part really BEFORE you decide to take on ‘drunk running’ or not – what is actually going on inside your body?

1) Your Head (Ache)

Excess alcohol upsets the production of vasopressin, a hormone that controls fluid balance. This means you are constantly running to the toilet throughout the night out in question, to have a wee!

This is one of the main causes of dehydration the following morning.

Alcohol also messes about with your immune system’s cytokines. These are chemical messengers that get off on switching on the ‘pain button’ in your body. This contributes to the headache you get the next day.

The darker choices of alcohol also contribute to the hangover headache. If you choose to drink a clean spirit like vodka you are giving yourself more of a chance of avoiding a bad head the next day.

Darker options like whiskey, bourbon, beer and dark wines contain more congeners – these little blighters can exacerbate hangovers.

2) Oh My Liver!

Yep, we all worry about this one…and rightly so! What happens to our livers when we consume a ton of alcohol?

A liver can in theory, only detox one alcoholic drink per hour. Now, if you are a reasonably slow drinker (which I am not), and you can pace yourself (which I can’t), you are far more likely to get away with a reasonably healthy liver.

P.S. The last thing your liver needs on the morning after is a ton of headache killers like acetaminophen piled into the body!

3) Stomach

Alcohol irritates the stomach – some suffer from this more than others (I suffer from this!).

Some people get sick at the very thought of food ‘the day after’ – this is down to alcohol playing games with your stomach AND a little bit of alcohol withdrawal (believe it or not!).

4) The Levels of Your Energy

So you were up late drinking last night – that is why you are so knackered the next morning right?

Well, this isn’t the only reason I’m afraid. When you sleep after drinking you are not really getting ‘proper’ sleep – it actually disturbs the brain’s normal sleep cycles.

It’s also worth noting that in most cases your energy levels will be screwed up for a full 24 hours. There are no real cures for this (so forget about the old wives tale of greasy eggs and bacon!).


Exercising With a Hangover

So there you have it – the ball is well and truly in your court!

Matthew Kornblatt seems to think that exercising is a great way to get over a hangover, and I agree with him to a point, but that’s as far as it goes with my own personal opinion!

You see, I sometimes run distance to get over the night before and it works well – but I don’t necessarily feel that great afterwards. I also wonder how good this sort of option is for the heart – surely running with a hangover puts more strain on it?

So I’m looking for your own personal opinions on this subject – do you often exercise after a night out drinking? Does it help you feel better? Do you think it could possibly work against your body in the long run?

Please leave your thoughts and opinions in the comment section below.

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