The squat is an essential component in your gym workout. It’s a full-body, multi-joint exercise t...
The squat is an essential component in your gym workout. It’s a full-body, multi-joint exercise that strengthens nearly every muscle in your body. But it mainly focuses on quadriceps, hamstrings, hips and glutes. These are the dominant muscle group that powers the action of running. When these muscles are strong and flexible, you’ll be able to run faster and longer without getting injured.
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Areas covered in this article,
Body weight Squat
Single leg squat
How to recover sore legs after squats?
Squats are also a good exercise to develop stronger and functional joints as it improves hip flexion, knee extension, and ankle dorsiflexion. It also strengthens bones, ligaments, and insertion of the tendons in your legs. In short, runners can immensely improve their performance while becoming less prone to injuries with squats.
All squat variations work on the same muscle group. But each variation’s emphasis is on the different muscles in the group. As you are learning which of your muscles needs further work, you can add the suitable squat variations to your exercise routine.
These are the best squats for runners.
1. Body weight squat
This is the first variation you should master before moving to others.
Stand firmly on your feet hip-width apart.
Push your hip back and lower as if you are trying to sit in a chair. Lower your body until your thighs are parallel to the floor.
Angle the upper body forward and keep your hands extended forward to find balance.
Now engage your core by squeezing your glutes and push yourself to stand up quickly.
Breathe in as you lower and breathe out as you stand up.
2. Sumo Squat
Stand with your feet about shoulder-width apart and the toes pointing out.
Try to keep your back straight and lower your hips, if possible, until your thighs are parallel to the floor.
Make sure you are doing it correctly. The body weight is supposed to feel like propped on the heels.
Push your weight into the heels and stand up.
You can increase the resistance by holding a weight, kettlebell or a medicine ball at chest level.
3. Single leg squat
Unilateral exercises improve your balance as well as the strength of the muscles. If you find the muscle strength of each leg is not equal, you can allocate more rounds of this exercise to the weaker leg to get it on par with the other.
Balance on a leg with your foot firmly on the ground.
Extend the other leg forward without letting it cave in.
Just as the other squats try to lower your hip until the thighs are parallel to the ground.
Then push yourself to stand up.
This exercise can be challenging. If that’s the case, try the exercise using a bench as a support for your back. Be aware that you don’t lock your knees while attempting to balance.
4. Jump squat
Jump squats are a high-intense variation of the exercise.
Stand on your feet, hip-width apart.
Lower to the squat position.
Try to stay at the lower position for at least 3 seconds.
Engage your core and jump.
You need to pay attention to your knees when you are doing this exercise. Make sure your knees bent smoothly as you touch the ground in order to lessen the impact on them.
5. Lateral squat
This variation is focused on gluteus medius muscles, and develops hip and knee flexibility and strength, in which you’ll be less prone to hip and knee injuries.
Stand with feet hip-width apart
Lower about a quarter of squat position
As you are in the low position, take a big step with your right leg to the right
Repeat the same with the left leg, to the left side
Repeat 6-8 rounds with each leg staying in the low position
How to recover sore legs after squats?
Squats are intense. Beginners often fail to continue it after a few repetitions. The good thing is, with continuous training the muscles will gradually adapt to the exercise. They will get bulkier and stronger. However, after each workout your muscles might feel sore. Despite the pain of sore muscles, it is a good thing, as the muscle pain and weakness after strenuous exercising is not a bad sign. The purpose of intense exercises is to challenge your muscles and let them grow stronger.
You’ll need to take care of your legs after a workout. Try to avoid exerting activities until the muscles recover. Help your muscles heal faster by massaging them or wearing an active compression tool on your calves for a few minutes after a workout.
Active compression tools mimic the massage patterns a therapist uses to alleviate muscle pain and inflammation of their patients. These tools should be a part of your workout equipment because leg recovery after squats is as important as the workout itself.
SPRYNG is the best muscle recovery massage tool on the market. You can wear the device on your calves leg massage to alleviate any cramps or pain in your leg muscles after your intense workout. SPRYNG’s pre-programmed compression patterns will improve the blood flow and let the damaged muscles heal faster.
Running enthusiasts who has completed a 5K distance but don't feel they're quite ready to take on...
Running enthusiasts who has completed a 5K distance but don't feel they're quite ready to take on the half-marathon (21 km) 10K running is the way to go. In this time sensitive world, you may wonder, how long does it take to run 10km? it would all depend on your level of fitness. On average it would take between 90 minutes to 2 hours to complete.
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However, for a person of average fitness training for a 10km run does not take a lot of time, in fact it is possible to train for it in 8 weeks. This 10km training plan would guide runners through the intricacies of reaching their goal in 8 weeks.
How to train for 10km run?
As with anything when starting out, you need a plan, especially if you have an 8-week window to achieve your target. If you haven’t been physically active recently it is advisable, to seek advice from a healthcare professional before attempting training for running 10 km. So how do you come up with a 10km running plan in your set time frame of 8 weeks.
With an 8-week window there is in-sufficient time to make any large functional changes to your stamina, fitness or strength training for running, therefore you need to have a suitable level of fitness at the start.
To avoid injury as in any physical sport it is vital to allow sufficient time for warm up, especially if you are planning long distance running. We recommend jogging for approximately 1.5kms, and then execute 5X100 warm up sets, which can be a combination of skipping, high knees, and bum kicks with a short recovery time between each set.
Ideally, you should start your 10km training plan 8 weeks away. This gives your body the time required to adjust to the challenges of long-distance running. Your, training for the 10k distance requires running, the same distance at least three times per week, consistently. Interval training for 10km may also be an option 3x3km reps is one of the longest interval sessions that you can do in the build-up to your competition.
Focus on some strength training
One of the positives of training for a 10K instead of a full marathon is that it's easier to fit in fit types of exercises, such as Yoga, Pilates, or circuit training into your combination of workouts. Take advantage of it: by conducting core-strengthening and flexibility exercises regularly, it will help improvements in your form, stamina and lower your risk of injury. Ideally, try to incorporate 30 minutes or more of core work (including abs, back, glutes and shoulders) and a yoga session into your routine at least twice each week.
While high-intensity workouts are important and time is of the essence, there also needs to be time for proper recovery. At the end of the day, the last thing one wants is to stand at the starting line with sore, strained muscles which would negatively affect your performance on race day.
Recovery from running
Giving your body adequate recovery time should be an important part of your post run recovery routine. One of the most common questions post work out is why do my legs hurt after running?
Follow these long run recovery tips to be in perfect shape for the day of your run.
Regular hydration like drinking water after exercise can help reduce pain, and aid in leg muscle recovery after running. Water plays a pivotal role in muscle repair and the production of glycogen. Studies have proven that muscle rejuvenation progress is decelerated by half when muscles are not suitably hydrated. Players can even drink energy drinks during game time to give them that additional burst of energy.
Cold compression for legs
The age-old method of applying an ice pack can relieve pain, ease swelling and inflammation of the sore muscles and aid in leg recovery after running. Some elite athletes even employ an ice bath to reduce inflammation after a game.
Use the best leg recovery massage tool- SPRYNG
The most modern and easy to use device, for post run recovery to ease pain and swelling is SPRYNG, a calf compression wrap. SPRYNG has also been scientifically proven and has been enjoyed by over 10,000 happy customers.
This calf muscle recovery tool, uses active compression technology to improve circulation and flush out lactic acid, thereby alleviating pain. SPRYNG has many advantages when compared to other active compression and leg compression devices in the market. A few of them are -
Quick recovery- It takes only 15 minutes to produce results
Embrace freedom - It is lightweight, portable, and untethered so it fits nicely in your gym bag.
Extremely affordable –it is cheaper than any other active compression device on the market.
Looks great- It is available in a range of colours to suit your mood or wardrobe.
Convenience- Place your order now via our website and become eligible for free delivery to your doorstep.
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How to Recover After a Marathon: Tips for Proper Marathon Recovery
If you've recently run a mara...
How to Recover After a Marathon: Tips for Proper Marathon Recovery
If you've recently run a marathon, congratulations! Running a marathon is a significant accomplishment, but it's important to take proper care of your body afterward to promote recovery and prevent injuries. In this blog post, we'll provide you with tips for how to recover after a marathon, including the benefits of active compression.
The Importance of Recovery
Marathon recovery is just as important as training for the marathon itself. Proper recovery helps your body to heal from the stress and strain of the race, reduces muscle soreness and fatigue, and helps to prevent injuries in the future. According to a study published in the Journal of Athletic Training, marathon runners who take longer than two weeks to recover after a marathon are more likely to suffer from an injury in their next training cycle.
Immediate Post-Marathon Recovery
Immediately after finishing a marathon, you should take time to cool down and stretch. Take a slow walk to help bring your heart rate down, and stretch your legs, hips, and back. You should also rehydrate with water and electrolyte drinks, such as sports drinks. Rest and take a break from running for at least one to two weeks to allow your body to recover. Active compression, such as compression socks or sleeves, can help promote blood flow and reduce swelling in the legs and feet.
Nutrition for Recovery
Proper nutrition is an essential component of marathon recovery, as it can help support muscle repair and glycogen replenishment. Here are some key points to consider when it comes to nutrition for recovery:
Replenish Fluids: Hydration is critical for recovery, as your body loses a significant amount of fluids during a marathon. Drink plenty of water and fluids containing electrolytes to help replace lost fluids and minerals. Sports drinks or coconut water are good options as they contain sodium and potassium, which help replenish electrolytes.
Refuel with Carbohydrates: Carbohydrates are the primary fuel source during exercise, so it's important to replenish glycogen stores after a marathon. Aim to consume a carbohydrate-rich snack or meal within 30 minutes of finishing the race. Good options include fruit, bagels, crackers, or pretzels.
Include Protein: Protein is crucial for muscle repair and recovery. It's recommended to consume 1-1.2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight daily, and this amount may need to be increased during the immediate post-marathon recovery period. Good sources of protein include lean meats, fish, eggs, beans, and dairy products.
Eat Antioxidant-Rich Foods: The high-intensity exercise of a marathon can increase the production of free radicals, which can cause oxidative damage to cells. To combat this, include plenty of antioxidant-rich foods in your diet, such as berries, leafy greens, nuts, and seeds.
Consider Supplements: While a well-rounded diet should provide all the nutrients your body needs for recovery, some runners may benefit from supplements. For example, omega-3 supplements can help reduce inflammation and aid in muscle repair. Vitamin C and E can also have antioxidant benefits.
Active Recovery: Calf Compression Wraps
Active recovery is a crucial component of marathon recovery, and calf compression wraps are an effective tool for aiding in this process. These wraps apply gentle pressure to the calves, which can help increase blood flow and reduce muscle soreness and stiffness.
Here are some key benefits of using calf compression wraps during marathon recovery:
Improved circulation: The compression from the wraps can help increase blood flow to the calves, which can help flush out metabolic waste products and promote healing.
Reduced muscle soreness and stiffness: The gentle pressure from the wraps can help reduce muscle soreness and stiffness, making it easier to move and engage in other forms of active recovery.
Improved range of motion: By reducing muscle soreness and stiffness, calf compression wraps can also help improve range of motion and flexibility in the calves.
Enhanced recovery: By improving circulation and reducing muscle soreness and stiffness, calf compression wraps can enhance overall recovery and help you get back to your normal training routine more quickly.
When using calf compression wraps, it's important to follow the manufacturer's instructions carefully. Start by wearing the wraps for short periods and gradually increase the duration as your body adapts. Use the wraps in conjunction with other active recovery methods, such as light stretching and low-impact exercise, for optimal results.
Overall, calf compression wraps are a valuable tool for aiding in marathon recovery. By incorporating these wraps into your recovery routine, you can help promote healing and get back to training more quickly and effectively.
Rest and Sleep
Rest and sleep are crucial for recovery after a marathon. Your body needs time to heal and recover, so it's essential to take time to rest and get enough sleep. Aim for 7-9 hours of sleep each night, and take naps during the day if needed.
During sleep, the body produces hormones that help repair and regenerate tissues that may have been damaged during the marathon. Inadequate rest and sleep can hinder the recovery process and increase the risk of injury.
Here are some tips for getting the rest and sleep you need during marathon recovery:
Prioritize rest: Allow yourself time to rest and recover after the marathon. This may mean taking a few days off from work, reducing your daily activities, and avoiding intense exercise or training during this time.
Create a sleep-friendly environment: Make sure your sleep environment is conducive to restful sleep. This may include minimizing noise and light, keeping the room cool and comfortable, and investing in a comfortable mattress and pillows.
Stick to a sleep schedule: Try to maintain a consistent sleep schedule, even on weekends. This can help regulate your body's internal clock and promote restful sleep.
Limit caffeine and alcohol: Caffeine and alcohol can interfere with sleep quality, so it's best to avoid these substances in the hours leading up to bedtime.
Practice relaxation techniques: Relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing, meditation, and gentle stretching, can help calm the mind and promote restful sleep.
Consider sleep aids: If you're having trouble sleeping, talk to your doctor about sleep aids that may be appropriate for you. These may include over-the-counter medications, natural remedies, or prescription sleep aids.
Get a massage: Massage therapy can help reduce muscle soreness and tension, which can make it easier to relax and fall asleep.
By prioritizing rest and sleep, and incorporating these tips into your recovery routine, you can help promote healing and get back to your normal training routine more quickly and effectively.
Preventing Injuries and Illness
To prevent injuries and illness during marathon recovery, it's important to avoid overuse injuries by gradually returning to running and not pushing yourself too hard too soon. You should also avoid running when sick or if you're experiencing pain or discomfort. Active compression can also help prevent injuries by reducing muscle soreness and swelling.
Returning to Running
When you're ready to return to running after a marathon, it's important to do so gradually. Increase your mileage and intensity slowly, and listen to your body to avoid overuse injuries. Active compression, such as using compression socks or sleeves during your runs, can help reduce muscle soreness and promote blood flow.
Return to Strength Training Carefully
While rest and active recovery are crucial for marathon recovery, it's also important to slowly reintroduce strength training to your routine. Strength training can help prevent injury, improve performance, and support overall fitness. However, returning to strength training too soon or too aggressively can increase the risk of injury.
Here are some tips for safely returning to strength training after a marathon:
Wait at least 1-2 weeks: Give your body time to recover from the marathon before returning to strength training. This will help ensure that your body is sufficiently rested and healed.
Start with low-intensity exercises: Begin with light exercises that focus on the major muscle groups, such as bodyweight squats, lunges, and push-ups. Avoid exercises that place excessive stress on the joints, such as heavy lifting or high-impact exercises.
Gradually increase the intensity: Once you've mastered the basics, gradually increase the intensity of your strength training exercises. Add weights or resistance bands, and increase the number of sets and reps as your body adapts.
Listen to your body: Pay close attention to how your body feels during and after strength training. If you experience pain or discomfort, scale back your exercises or take a break.
Seek professional guidance: If you're new to strength training, consider working with a certified personal trainer or physical therapist. They can help you develop a safe and effective strength training program that is tailored to your fitness level and goals.
Post-Marathon Depression: Coping with Emotions After the Race
While the sense of accomplishment after completing a marathon can be incredible, many runners experience a letdown in the days and weeks that follow. This can be especially true for first-time marathoners, who may have invested months or even years of training and preparation into the race.
Post-marathon depression is a common experience and can manifest in a variety of ways, including:
Feeling irritable, restless, or anxious
Feeling a lack of motivation or energy
Struggling to sleep or experiencing changes in appetite
Feeling a sense of disappointment or sadness, even in the face of achieving a goal
Here are some strategies for coping with post-marathon depression:
Give yourself time to recover: Allow yourself time to rest and recover after the marathon. This may mean taking a break from running or other intense exercises and prioritizing self-care activities, such as yoga, massage, or spending time with loved ones.
Set new goals: While completing a marathon is a significant achievement, it's important to set new goals and focus on new challenges. This can help provide a sense of purpose and motivation after the race.
Connect with other runners: Talking to other runners who have experienced post-marathon depression can be helpful. Joining a local running club or online community can provide support and encouragement.
Seek professional help: If you are experiencing significant feelings of sadness or hopelessness, it may be helpful to seek professional help. This may include talking to a therapist or counselor or consulting with a physician about medication options.
Post-marathon depression is a common experience, but with time and self-care, it's possible to overcome these feelings and move forward with a renewed sense of purpose and motivation. Remember, completing a marathon is an incredible accomplishment, and it's important to celebrate your achievements and give yourself credit for the hard work and dedication that went into preparing for the race.
What are some ways to speed up marathon recovery?
Some ways to speed up marathon recovery include incorporating active recovery techniques like foam rolling, gentle stretching, and low-impact exercise, focusing on proper nutrition and hydration, getting adequate rest and sleep, and considering additional recovery methods like massage therapy or compression wraps.
How important is nutrition for marathon recovery?
Nutrition is essential for marathon recovery, as it provides the body with the necessary nutrients to repair and regenerate tissues that may have been damaged during the race. Eating a well-balanced diet that includes carbohydrates, protein, and healthy fats, as well as hydrating properly, can help speed up the recovery process and reduce the risk of injury.
What is post-marathon depression, and how can it be managed?
Post-marathon depression is a common experience that many runners face after completing a race. It can manifest in a variety of ways, including feeling irritable or anxious, lacking motivation, struggling with sleep or appetite changes, and feeling a sense of disappointment or sadness. To manage post-marathon depression, it's important to prioritize rest and recovery, set new goals, connect with other runners for support, and consider seeking professional help if necessary.
How long does it take to recover after a marathon?
The amount of time it takes to recover after a marathon can vary depending on a number of factors, including your fitness level, training regimen, and the intensity of the race. Most experts recommend taking at least one to two weeks off from intense exercise, followed by a gradual return to training. However, it may take several weeks or even months to fully recover from a marathon, especially if you experienced an injury or significant muscle soreness.
What should you not do after a marathon?
After a marathon, it's important to give your body time to rest and recover. Avoid high-impact activities like running or jumping for at least a week after the race, and prioritize gentle exercise like walking, swimming, or yoga. Additionally, avoid alcohol and caffeine, which can dehydrate the body, and skip the ice bath - studies have shown that ice baths may actually slow down the recovery process.
What happens to your body in the 48 hours after a marathon?
In the 48 hours after a marathon, your body undergoes a number of changes as it works to repair and recover from the stress of the race. You may experience muscle soreness, fatigue, and inflammation as your body repairs damaged tissues and flushes out metabolic waste. Additionally, your immune system may be temporarily compromised, which can make you more susceptible to illness or infection. It's important to prioritize rest and recovery during this time to help your body heal.
What does your body need after a marathon?
After a marathon, your body needs rest, hydration, and proper nutrition to recover. Be sure to drink plenty of water and electrolyte-rich fluids to replace fluids lost during the race, and eat a well-balanced diet that includes carbohydrates, protein, and healthy fats to help repair damaged tissues. Additionally, prioritizing sleep and relaxation can help reduce inflammation and speed up the recovery process.
In conclusion, proper marathon recovery is essential for preventing injuries and improving performance in future races. Incorporating techniques such as active compression can help promote recovery and prevent injuries. By following the tips outlined in this blog post, you can help your body recover after a marathon and get back to running safely and effectively.
We hope this blog post has been helpful to you! Remember, proper recovery after a marathon is crucial for preventing injuries and improving your performance in future races. If you have any questions about marathon recovery or active compression, feel free to reach out to us!
We’ve all be there, haven’t we? We’ve get pumped up for a run and we set out to achieve a certain...
We’ve all be there, haven’t we? We’ve get pumped up for a run and we set out to achieve a certain goal but somewhere along the way, we encounter a bit of a setback because of a calf cramp while running or because of sore muscles from running for too long. This is in no way an uncommon scenario and happens often, specially if you may not have an idea of how these injuries can be prevented.
What are the causes of running injuries?
Overloading due to constant repetition of the running action
Lack of recovery
Learn more about the common causes of running injuries in here and taking care of your calves.
Why is muscle recovery important?
Recovery allows for improved performance and allows our bodies to heal itself in preparation for the next training load.
Recovery also allows the body to replenish energy stores and repair damaged tissues.
It serves as a viable treatment for any sort of common leg pain for runners or after running
The best part is that, recovery is also easy as there are many varieties of home remedies for sore calf muscles
What are the steps you can take to prevent common leg injuries from running?
California based running coach, Jenni Nettik, recommends the following exercises before a run in order to prevent common running foot injuries (1):
Glute Bridge (30 seconds)
Monster Walk (10 steps to each side and 10 steps backward)
Leg Lifts (5 to 10 reps per side)
In addition to the above, functional strength exercises are also a good way to build strength and endurance for running injury prevention and below are a few exercises you can do:
How to help legs recover faster?
A massage not only aids in muscle recovery but also improves blood flow and prevents your muscles from tightening. A massage may be conducted by a specialist or a physical therapist, but it can also be done in the comfort of your own home using a foam roller. This can increases blood flow to the tissues and can help smoothen the knots in the muscles which cause pain. Australian massage specialists cite that a message helps to reduce soreness by up to 30% which is a real bonus for those who love massages!
R.I.C.E (Rest. Ice. Compression. Elevation)
Rest/Sleep: Rest is an easy and powerful way to prevent common calf injuries from running. It helps the regenerative process allowing your muscles to restore and rebuild themselves. According to scientists, a muscle rebuilding chemical known as the Human Growth Hormone is produced and activated during the process and it is said that a minimum of seven hours of rest will do the job of restoration from the day.
Ice: Icing muscles aids in the decrease of pain and inflammation in areas that have been overworked during exercise. It also reduces the chances of your muscles spasming or cramping during your next workout. Icing the affected area for 20 minutes at a time at 2 hour intervals will help combat the effects of overworked muscles.
Compression: SPRYNG™ is an affordable, untethered, pneumatic compression wrap that functions as a muscle recovery tool that helps improve circulation and athletic performance. It uses pneumatic compression. The patent pending wavetec™ compression pattern combines three distinctive massage techniques - pulsing compression, gradients, and distal release to mimic your calf muscle pump.
Elevation: Elevating your affected legs above the heart aids the decrease of swelling and inflammation as it decreases the pressure on the veins in your legs and improves the blood flow to the rest of the body.
Nutrition and Fluids
Keep the Carb Fuel Gauge high!
Consuming sports drink throughout the run will keep muscles well supplied with their preferred carbohydrate fuel and preserve your muscle glycogen stores longer, delaying the point at which the muscles begin to rely on their own proteins for fuel.
Protein, Before & After
Another way to reduce muscle damage during runs is consuming some protein or amino acids. A little pre-run protein increases blood amino acid levels during the run, which appears to serve as a kind of biochemical signal that tells the muscles not to break down protein for fuel.
Replenishment of Carbs & Proteins
After running, especially a long run, you want to replenish energy as quickly as possible. Studies have shown that muscles are most receptive to rebuilding glycogen stores within the first 30 minutes after exercise. If you eat soon after your workout, you can minimize muscle stiffness and soreness.
If you feel like you can't stomach solid food immediately after a run, try drinking chocolate milk. It provides protein, carbohydrates, and B vitamins, making it a great recovery drink.
Hydration, Hydration, Hydration
Muscle cramps are often associated with dehydration. This is why it's important that you make sure you're hydrating properly before, during, and after your runs. Prior to an hour before your run try to drink 16 to 24 ounces of water or other non-caffeinated fluid. To make sure you're hydrated before you start running, you can drink another 4 to 8 ounces right before you start. During runs, the general rule of thumb is consuming 6 to 8 ounces of fluid every 20 minutes during your runs. DON’T forget to rehydrate with water or a sports drink after your run as well.
In closing and with you’ve read above, we understand that while injuries when running are a common occurrence, there are methods and various ways to circumvent them and even prevent them from taking place altogether. The important thing to remember is to always adequately prepare for the run ahead and be sure to also adequately recover after a run so that injuries the next time around don’t happen at all.
Leg cramps; those painful and dreaded involuntary muscle contractions are a common occurrence in ...
Leg cramps; those painful and dreaded involuntary muscle contractions are a common occurrence in the lives of most athletes, especially runners. Frequent experience of calf pain and sore muscles while running can hinder your training and overall performance. If you constantly experience leg pain from running or those sore and cramping calves are getting in the way of your training, you can utilize some of these helpful tips that can prevent leg pain and treat your sore muscles that result from running.
What causes muscle soreness from running?
Muscle soreness from running, generally sets in about 24 to 48 hours after strenuous exercise. This condition, referred to as DOMS or Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness, can affect different regions of your body in different capacities. Symptoms of DOMS such as stiff calf muscles and foot pain, to overall muscle soreness within the body due to running, usually go away on their own after a few days but there are a few things you can do to help reduce your muscle soreness after running.
What causes sore calves after/while running?
The most common form of muscle soreness experienced by runners is calf pain. You are bound to be well versed in sore and cramping calf muscles if you have been running for a while. Maybe you have already tried every piece of advice available to you but to no avail.
You’ve been told to eat bananas to ensure the required potassium and magnesium intake is met. You were told to take additional salt to balance the loss of sodium through excessive sweating. Yet nothing seems to have worked to alleviate the leg pain and calf cramps while running nor the excruciating muscle pain and leg soreness that sets in after a run.
You wonder why this keeps happening to you. Why do your calves cramp up and hurt while running? And what might possibly be its cause?
Cramps vary in their severity and the cause of cramping can differ based on individual strength, training style and muscle function.
Based on scientific research the two most common causes of sore calves and cramping from running are muscle fatigue and loss of electrolytes together with dehydration. Let us examine these conditions in a bit more detail.
Muscle fatigue can occur due to various reasons. For instance, if your muscles are being overused and pushed to beyond their capability, they can easily get overloaded. This may occur if you are running in unfamiliar environmental conditions or are increasing the intensity of your workouts at too fast a pace without allowing the necessary time for your muscles to fully recover. Repeated and extended use of a particular muscle group can result in muscle overloading and fatigue cramps as well as leg pain after a run.
According to research done by a professor of athletic training at Central Michigan University, Kevin D. Miller, PhD, the majority of runners that experienced cramping, did so during either the last segment of a long-distance run or after a race. His research proves that the longer the run and the more strenuous the run, the chances of experiencing muscle fatigue and as a result muscle cramping is far higher for a runner.
Dehydration and loss of electrolytes
Electrolyte imbalance is common during extensive periods of sweating. Sodium and chlorides lost through sweat are not replenished instantly, resulting initially in sore calves and legs during running which leads to gradual onset cramping in your muscles. In addition, the underlying cause of electrolyte imbalance is dehydration as the lack of water prevents the muscles from absorbing the electrolytes it requires into the system.
How to avoid calf cramps while running?
While there is no hard and fast rule dictating the onset of muscle cramps, there are a few steps you can implement into your routine to prevent your legs from cramping during a run.
Condition your body
Muscle cramps are not as common among athletes who have properly conditioned their bodies for extended periods of physical training. Especially if you are taking up running after a break, it is important to start at a low-intensity training and gradually work your way up in order to prevent leg cramps while running.
While it is important to keep your body well hydrated, you must ensure to not overdo it. If you are doing long distance running and you expect to be on your feet for over an hour, it is good to calculate how much water your body loses during a session by weighing yourself before and after a run. It is recommended that you consume 20 ounces of water for every pound that is lost during a workout. You can avoid getting foot cramps from running by providing your body with adequate hydration throughout the day.
Replace lost electrolytes
As you sweat, you lose a considerable amount of electrolytes such as sodium and potassium. You may want to consider the use of energy supplements prior to training or salt tabs to replenish those lost electrolytes in order to stop your calves from cramping during a run.
Compression devices help reduce the load on your calf muscles during the exercises and is good at preventing muscle fatigue. It increases the blood circulation in your legs and ensures that the blood is kept oxidized in that region, hence wearing it during your training sessions can decrease the risk of cramping on your calves and legs and help to avoid leg pain while running.
Always conduct a 5–10-minute stretch and warm-up prior to running to avoid muscle cramping. If you feel the onset of a leg cramp during running, do some gentle stretching of the muscle that is straining to provide some comfort. The muscle will remain tight even after the cramp has subsided so you should continue to stretch it out at intervals.
Calf Muscle Tear
Ignoring your calf muscle soreness and overusing it when it requires rest can lead to detrimental effects such as muscle strain and tears. If you experience lingering pain that spans several days or the kind of leg pain that is gradually getting worse as time passes, chances are that it is more than a sore or cramping muscle. If this is the case, you may have a calf muscle tear or a muscle strain in the respective region.
The recovery time for a torn calf muscle is dependent upon the severity of the injury. Calf muscle tears can be graded from I to III based on their severity as expressed below:
Grade I – you may experience sharp pain at the time of activity with a possible feeling of tightness with or without pain. This may be followed by mild discomfort and aching sensation post-training. While it is possible to continue the activity post a Grade I calf muscle tear, it is recommended that you rest your strained leg muscles for at least 10 days.
Grade II - Experiencing immediate sharp pain with inability to continue activity may just be symptoms of a Grade II calf muscle tear. You may witness some mild swelling or bruising in the region and it is recommended that you seek medical assistance to better understand the severity of your condition and the treatments that need to be taken.
Grade III – An injury of this scale can keep you off the tracks for about 6 months, which is the average recovery time from a Grade III tear of a calf muscle. It leads to severe pain with the inability to contract your calf muscle. There is bound to be bruising and swelling just hours after injury and you would be unable to continue the activity. You have to seek immediate medical attention if you are to experience these symptoms of torn calf muscles.
How to treat calf muscle soreness/calf cramps after running?
One of the main contributors to fatigued muscles is glycogen depletion. Your daily food intake must amount to a healthy and balanced diet that can replenish your body. Your diet should include sufficient carbohydrates to help replace your glycogen stores that were used up during the run, and it should entail adequate proteins that allow your body to repair and recover post-training. Providing these necessary nutrients will allow your body to recover faster and reduce the muscle soreness that occurs from running in the process.
Stretching after a run
Once your training has concluded, conduct at least 10 minutes of static stretching targeting your quads, hamstrings, calves and hips. Extend this to any other region that felt tight during your training to prevent delayed onset cramping. Stretching post training can help alleviate muscle soreness and prevent DOMS from occurring.
Try an ice bath
Immersing yourself in an ice bath post-training is known to speed up your recovery process and is the perfect relaxing home remedy for reducing leg pain from running. If a bath of ice feels a bit too much, at least try to have a cold-water shower and keep ice packs on sore areas for about 10 minutes to provide some relief. Keep in mind, icing the soreness away works only with the onset of a leg cramp. If your pain and soreness lasts for days after you train, you need to use heat packs instead in order to increase the blood flow in the region.
Practicing some gentle yoga is the ideal home remedy for leg pain as it provides an excellent form of relaxing your sore muscles after a strenuous run. The different poses allow you to stretch out your stiff muscles from running, and the breathing techniques encourage better blood circulation and oxygenation within your body.
Try a massage
If you have the time and the resources to do so, book yourself a sports massage through a professional that can provide great assistance in easing the pain from delayed onset muscle strain. An ideal treatment for leg pain, a massage can increase blood circulation and encourage leg recovery after a run.
Why Active Compression Tools are The Better Solution
The purpose of compression devices is to increase blood flow within the regions of the body that are strained from exertion, leading to fast recovery from sore muscles. The benefits of leg compression therapy and muscle recovery tools are plenty and they are ideal solutions for accelerating your recovery process.
SPRYNG active compression wraps are the better alternative for old-school compression socks. SPRYNG uses a dynamic wavetec pattern that aids blood circulation through the use of external pneumatic compression. This leads to increased oxygenation within the muscle tissues by releasing any lactic acids that are built up in your sore calf muscles leading to recovery from pain and stiffness in your legs.
Unlike other muscle recovery tools, SPRYNG offers you a compact, portable and stylish solution that is accessible to you anytime, anywhere and it offers fast and effective recovery for your sore leg muscles from running.
Most runners agree that running is a rewarding sport that makes you feel better both physically ...
Most runners agree that running is a rewarding sport that makes you feel better both physically and mentally. In fact, research has proved that running can strengthen your knees, back, and legs, as well as improve blood pressure, and even elevate your mood. However, just like with any other sport, there are downsides to running. A common problem that both beginners and long-time runner’s face, is experiencing calf pain during or after a run. If you find yourself asking “why do my calves hurt after running?”, read on.
Why do your calves hurt while and after running?
In order to avoid calf pain from running, it’s important to first understand why your calves hurt during or after a run.
1. Overloading the calf muscles
As a runner, you may have heard a litany of motivational sayings like ‘run like there’s no tomorrow’ or ‘never give up’. While it’s great to push yourself to achieve new limits, if you happen to push yourself beyond what your body can handle, your calves will get overloaded, leading to potential injuries and muscle soreness.
2. Skipping Warm-ups
Another reason your calves hurt after running can be because of a lack of warm-up or an insufficient warm-up. Without warming-up before a run, your calf muscles will be cold and tight. This will make you vulnerable to injuries and soreness. Warming up with dynamic stretches such as lunges and jumping jacks before a run can increase body temperature and ensure an efficient run.
If your calves hurt while running, it could mean that you’re dehydrated. Dehydration can reduce blood flow to the muscles, causing muscle cramps. If your calf pain is a result of dehydration, simply drinking water can cause the pain to subside.
4. Improper Running Form
Beginner runners with improper running form may notice that their calves hurt while running. In order to avoid calf pain during a run, try to maintain a proper running form by looking ahead, relaxing your shoulders, maintaining a good posture, and avoiding over-striding.
How to Stop Calves from Hurting when Running
In order to achieve new limits while avoiding calf pain, you need stronger calves for running. Here are some simple calf strengthening exercises for runners you can try:
1. Calf Raises
Stand with your feet together
Lift your heels off the ground and stand on your toes. Hold this position for a few seconds
Slowly drop down to the initial standing position
2. Jump Rope
Equipment needed: a jump rope
Stand with your feet together
Jump over the rope, landing on your toes (this can strengthen calf muscles for running as it engages the calf muscles with every jump)
3. High Knees
Stand with your feet hip-width apart
Lift up your right knee to your chest
As you bring our right knee back down, quickly lift your left knee to your chest
The Best Calf Stretches for Runners
Calf stretches are just as important as calf strengthening exercises for runners. Without stretching your calves before a run, you are more likely to experience pain during or after a run. Below are a few calf stretches you can try. Make sure to do these calf stretches after running during your cool down as well.
1. Standing Calf Stretch
Stand facing a wall, making sure that you are a few steps away from it
Place your hands against the wall at shoulder level
Bring your left foot forward with the knee bent
Make sure to keep your right leg straight and both feet flat on the ground
Hold for 20 – 30 seconds
2. Seated Calf Stretch
Sit on the ground with your right leg extended in front of you
Lean forward and grab the ball of your foot
Gently pull your foot towards your body. You should start to feel a stretch in your calf muscles
Hold this pose for 20 – 30 seconds
Repeat with the left leg
Recovery Tips After Running
RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation) is recommended to immediately deal with pain after a run.
Resting will allow the calf muscles time to recover, applying an ice pack on the sore area can reduce inflammation, using a compression device like SPRYNG will help to promote blood circulation to the calves, and elevating the legs can further reduce inflammation.
Learn more about RICE here: ‘Leg Pain and Recovery – A Snowboarder’s guide’ blog article.