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Question
Posted by: New runner | 2011/03/04

Painful muscles

Dear FitnessDoc

I need some advice. I am pretty new at running, I''ve been training on and off for about the last 10 months and have done a few 10ks. I entered the Two Oceans half marathon, and have been following a new running programme to prepare for it.

You might not think it is such a taxing programme, but for me, whose fairly new at running, it is quite intense. It consists of three runs a week - two shorter ones on Tues, Thurs and a long run on Sunday.

As the programme progresses the distances get longer, and I find my legs are not recovering quickly enough to be nice and strong for the next run. My legs are sore constantly and I am troubled by cramps and muscle stiffness. Right now it is painful even to walk, nevermind run.

I have started taking magnesium supplements and have also been using USN''s Recover Max for the last two weeks or so. It helps a little bit, but the training programme is getting ever-more challenging and if I keep on feeling like this I will definitely not be able to keep it up.

What can I do to help my legs recover?

Thanks

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageFitnessDoc

Hi Wilma

This is tricky, because by now, your legs should have adapted enough to be able to handle the training. The muscle stiffness and pain is pretty common when first starts running, but it usually goes away. Does your worst muscle soreness come after that long run? Or do the short runs also affect you? It might be that you're simply not recovering because your training intensity is too high - persistent muscle soreness is a symptom of too much or too hard training. And remember that training by itself is not the only "stress" you are dealing with - it could be other things in your life too.

I'd also look at diet - enough carbohydrates and proteins, because there is some research that shows that insufficient energy intake compromises recovery.

But I think the main thing is training. And while it may be frustrating, the fact that this is a new programme is an important clue, since it might show that this new plan is a problem for you. Either shorter runs or slower run might be the order of the day.

So I'd back off, just for a week or two, see what happens and then build up again. Maybe instead of a usual 45 minute run, you need to jog 3 minutes, walk 2 minutes, and repeat 9 times. See what it does. You just need to adapt to the training, and at the moment, that's what doesn't seem to be happening.

Good luck

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1
Our users say:
Posted by: fitnessdoc | 2011/03/13

Hi Wilma

This is tricky, because by now, your legs should have adapted enough to be able to handle the training. The muscle stiffness and pain is pretty common when first starts running, but it usually goes away. Does your worst muscle soreness come after that long run? Or do the short runs also affect you? It might be that you're simply not recovering because your training intensity is too high - persistent muscle soreness is a symptom of too much or too hard training. And remember that training by itself is not the only "stress" you are dealing with - it could be other things in your life too.

I'd also look at diet - enough carbohydrates and proteins, because there is some research that shows that insufficient energy intake compromises recovery.

But I think the main thing is training. And while it may be frustrating, the fact that this is a new programme is an important clue, since it might show that this new plan is a problem for you. Either shorter runs or slower run might be the order of the day.

So I'd back off, just for a week or two, see what happens and then build up again. Maybe instead of a usual 45 minute run, you need to jog 3 minutes, walk 2 minutes, and repeat 9 times. See what it does. You just need to adapt to the training, and at the moment, that's what doesn't seem to be happening.

Good luck

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