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Q: Why do my leg muscles feel stiff after yesterday? A guide to DOMS - Delayed Onset Muscle Sorenes

Some of you might be feeling stiff in the back of the legs today following the run session.

If you remember we talked about the purpose of the run session yesterday was to build muscular force and yesterday's session was about building strength in your leg muscles.

It doesn't matter how fit you are, if you don't have strong muscles you will always be slow.

So today and over the next 48hrs your leg muscles might start to stiffen up and the soreness is most strongly felt 24 - 72hrs after exercise.

What you are experiencing is something called DOMS. Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness.

It was once thought that DOMS was caused by a build-up of lactic acid and toxic metabolic waste products in the muscle, however, this theory has been superseded. Research has shown that DOMS appears to be “a product of inflammation caused by microscopic tears in the connective tissue elements that sensitize nociceptors and thereby heighten the sensations of pain.” (Stay with me kids!)

What you are experiencing is small-scale damage (also called microtrauma) to the muscle fibres in your legs.

Don't worry this is a good thing when it is done as part of a planned session and part of a balanced training plan.

Muscle damage (microtrauma) is one of the key factors in muscle hypertrophy (building muscle)

When microtrauma occurs the body responds by overcompensating, replacing the damaged tissue and adding more, so that the risk of repeat damage is reduced.

Depending on your physiological makeup DOMS will be more prevalent in some than in others.

How do you get rid of DOMS?

1. Foam Rolling

The science: Similar to massage, foam rolling is all about myofascial release, which relieves tension in the muscle’s connective tissue. Research has found that rolling out your muscles like dough can help reduce delayed onset muscle soreness.

2. Performing Recovery Workouts - Jump on your indoor bike trainer.

The science: Light recovery workouts increase blood flow, which does a number of things to naturally nudge the inflammatory process along, such as lymphatic draining, moving immune cells, and clearing inflammatory mediators,”

3. Lie back on the sofa and get your parents to bring you ice cream.

The Science: Just kidding, seeing if you were still reading at this point!!!

If you are one of the coaches that ran yesterday and you are reading this article, it might, of course, be nothing todo with DOMS and it's your old achy joints reacting after trying to keep up with the kids!

Well done everyone, good session last night.


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