The recent heat wave has me rising far earlier than usual to get in a decent run, so this morning I woke up at 6 am without the alarm clock’s even having rung.
At last, after more than a week of 95% humidity and 80-degree heat even early in the morning, this morning’s air was crisp, cool, and inviting – perfect for the speedwork my training program prescribed for the day: 12 repeats of 400 meters at 75-85% effort.
Unfortunately, my muscles are really sore from yesterday’s resistance workout.
After 15 years of running and 12 marathons, I realized I still didn’t know: is it wise to do speedwork or a long run with muscle soreness?
I turned to the internet.
My first google yielded some blogs with runners’ attitudes basically being “yo, dude… run through the pain…” I know enough to ignore the unwise run-through-the-pain advice. Not only is running through pain counterintuitive, it threatens your ability to run healthily in the future. Besides; I know not to run through injury-type pain – but is muscle soreness from exercise innocuous enough to run through it?
My second search brought me to more trusted sources.
The muscle soreness we experience after a workout is more formally termed “delayed onset muscle soreness” (DOMS), and, unlike injury soreness, is a good soreness. It means progress; you’re getting stronger.
On WebMD, Carol Torgan, an exercise physiologist and fellow of the American College of Sports Medicine, explains: "the aches and pains should be minor and are simply indications that muscles are adapting to your fitness regimen." Rather than performing an intense workout with DOMS, Torgan recommends “a few days of easy exercise to prevent further muscle damage and reduce the likelihood of injury."
Instead of doing speedwork or a long run if you’re experiencing delayed onset muscle soreness, try one or more of these strategies until the soreness abates:
- cross train: engage in light exercise: walking, slow jogs, cross training such as swimming or easy cycling
- light stretching
After a day or two of lighter exercise, you should feel good enough to push hard again.