Our expert says:
I think this is probably a normal response to training of unaccustomed muscles. It does happen the first time you train, unfortunately. For what it's worth, though, as you get stronger and stronger, with more training, this won't happen any more. What you have is not really a cramp, but something known as Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness. Because nobody wants to go around saying that mouthful, most usually just call it "DOMS" for short.
Basically, DOMS is caused by very tiny, microscopic tears in the muscle, as a result of doing exercise that your muscles are unaccustomed to. So any time you take up a new sport, or try a new activity, you can expect to feel some pain. So that’s the good news – well, it’s good news in that what you feel is nothing unusual, it’s actually expected.
It doesn’t of course help right now and the only thing that will help that is some rest and a bit of control around how you train. Remember, the cause is training beyond what your muscle can handle and so the solution is to build the programme gradually rather than to jump in at a high level. For example, if you are doing weight training and lifting weights, then you need to reduce the weight you are lifting, maybe for a week or two and then the pain will subside and eventually go away. If you are running, then perhaps slow it down, or mix some walking in with your running. This is not a permanent thing – your muscles will adapt pretty soon and then you’ll train without any pain, and wonder what all the fuss was about! But until then, just back off the training intensity – the pain is just a sign that you’re over your limit, that’s all.
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