It is not uncommon to feel sore, what is called delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS), 1-2 days after exercise. We are talking about soreness not the pain from an injury.
Your warm-up before exercise helps to limit muscle soreness. It is why we do dynamic warm-up exercises to start our practices…to warm up our muscles.
What can we do post-run to limit muscle soreness? There is no “cure-all,” no one “magic potion.”
Some approaches that long-distance runners and walkers consider following a long run or walk:
Stretching: Static stretching improves flexibility, increases circulation, and improves range of motion in your joints but does not prevent injury. Gentle post-run stretching lengthens overworked muscle fibers. While it may not reduce muscle soreness it may just simply “feel good.”
Ice bath: Immersing your legs in a cold bath or ice bath for 10 to 15 minutes following a long run will constrict the blood vessels, thus reducing swelling. This may provide some relief.
What actually may be best at limiting and reducing muscle soreness is a light cardio workout the day after a run? Does a walk count as a light cardio workout? You bet! Consider a 20 to 30 minute smooth and easy walk the day after your run or race.
Massage/The Stick/Foam Roller: Some research has found that sports massage may help reduce muscle soreness and reduce swelling. Using “The Stick,” a commercial product, may help muscle soreness by “rolling out” the muscle. It is a type of massage. Another commercial product is a foam roller. This works on a similar principle to “The Stick” as both help to relieve “knots” in the muscles. Ask any of the staff at your local running specialty store about “The Stick” and the foam roller. All of these methods stimulate blood circulation.
Compression socks, sleeves, pants: Made of synthetic materials they increase blood circulation so that they may speed recovery and limit muscle soreness. All of these are available at your local running specialty store.
RICE: Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation may be the most familiar to you. This has long been the standard treatment for extreme muscle soreness. This provides temporary relief.
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory: Aspirin, ibuprofen, or naproxen sodium may temporarily relieve muscle soreness but they do not speed healing. Of course, you’ll find these marketed under many brand names.
Yoga: There is some research that found that yoga the day after a run may help limit muscle soreness.