While running is a great exercise to improve your endurance and overall well-being, athletes often experience fatigue and discomfort — which commonly impact your legs. Fatigue retards your performance and drains your willpower to continue with the run. However, by getting adequate rest, massaging, hydrating your body and consuming the right types of foods, you can alleviate and recover your tired legs from running.
Adequate Rest and Recovery
Your leg muscles are primarily used to propel the movements involved in running. If your leg muscles are not accustomed to intense sprints or prolonged long-distance running, you may experience muscle soreness and fatigue. Give your body enough time to rest and recover from your last running session. Make sure you get enough sleep after performing a major run. A 2011 study published by “Medicine in Science and Sports” showed that lack of sleep leads to lower muscle glycogen levels. If you continue to run despite muscle fatigue and soreness, you may experience overtraining, which further hinders physical performance.
One of the main functions of massage therapy is to relieve pain. It appears that massage may also help you relieve your pain from an intense run. A 2012 study issued by “Science Translational Medicine” indicates that massage improves muscle recovery by facilitating blood circulation and reducing inflammation. As a result, consider getting a massage to alleviate pain and hasten recovery. Focus on massaging the most affected areas such as the calves, anterior tibialis, quadriceps, and hamstrings.
Your body loses a lot of water after an intense run. It also loses essential minerals known as electrolytes from sweat. Good hydration and a proper balance of electrolytes allow you to maintain physical performance. Dehydration and electrolyte imbalance are some of the main causes of heat cramps, which can affect your legs. Sport drinks that are enriched with electrolytes help replenish your body. Adequate intake of water and electrolyte balance is especially important while running in hot weather.
Carbohydrates are stored within your muscles as glycogen. Insufficient carbohydrates from food decreases physical performance and leads to a feeling of tiredness. After an intense or prolonged run, consider eating a meal that is rich in carbohydrates and essential nutrients to quickly replenish your leg muscles’ glycogen stores. A 2002 study published by the “Journal of Applied Physiology” suggests that meals rich in carbohydrates and protein hasten the recovery process.
- Medicine in Science and Sports: Intermittent-sprint Performance and Muscle Glycogen After 30 H of Sleep Deprivation
- Sports Medicine: Does Overtraining Exist? An Analysis of Overreaching and Overtraining Research
- University of Northern Mexico: Overtraining: Undermining Success?
- Science Translational Medicine: Massage Therapy Attenuates Inflammatory Signaling After Exercise-induced Muscle Damage
- Rice University: Dehydration and Heat Injury
- University of Northern Mexico: Glycogen and Resistance Training
- Journal of Applied Physiology: Early Postexercise Muscle Glycogen Recovery is Enhanced with a Carbohydrate-protein Supplement
- Thinkstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images
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