DOMS: Delayed onset muscle soreness. Many of us have experienced it a day or two after doing some heavy lifting or strenuous exercise.
I previously reported I ran my seventh half marathon last Sunday. In the couple of days following I experienced a high amount of muscle soreness this time. I was good when I was sitting. Standing was no problem. Getting from sitting to standing or vice-versa was quite problematic. Walking was also a bit of an issue. But stairs were the worst! Thanks to the Americans with Disabilities Act, I was able to by-pass stairs most of the time. Unfortunately, I can’t avoid them in my own home. I never realized how often I go up and down the stairs.
What is DOMS?
As already mentioned, DOMS is the muscle soreness that comes on the day or two after your exercise. When I experience it, I find that it is worse 48 hours after my bout of exercise, but it can start as early as 12 hours following.
How to avoid DOMS?
It is rare to avoid DOMS completely, however, proper training is the best way to reduce it. It will still happen, but at lower levels and you, or more specifically your body, will be able to adapt to the increases in exercise.
How to heal?
There are many things that you can do to help the healing.
Stretch: immediately after your bout of exercise/activity. And doing yoga or other types of stretching regularly can reduce the pain. 12 Running Stretches from CoolRunning.com
Time: waiting it out and it will eventually go away, after about a week. There are things that can help with faster recovery.
Massage: My favorite! If I get one on the day of, or after, my bout of exercise or event, I feel great in the days following both mentally and physically. I got one on the afternoon of my very first marathon and was walking just fine the next day. It was a great reward. These places are I have been for massages. I know there are many other places to go, I just haven’t been to them.
Get medicated: NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) not only help with the pain but also help reduce inflammation. This includes Advil, Aleve, and aspirin. Don’t take more than the amount recommended on the bottle.
Take an ice-cold bath: this is tough, but it does work. I love a hot shower, hot tub, even a sauna. But, immediately following your bout of exercise take an ice bath to help reduce the swelling and muscle damage. I’ve done it a couple of times and it does “hurt” for the time you are in the ice bath, but I didn’t have soreness at all in the days following. So, they payoff was worth the cost. Ice Baths: Cold Therapy article at Runners World.
Active recovery: yep, that would be exercise. Walking, or doing some other low intensity activity following your exercise/activity helps. Gone are the days of resting a day for every mile you ran. That would mean nearly 4-weeks of rest following a marathon. How retro!
So, damn the DOMS next time and train properly and be ready after your bout of exercise to treat yourself with stretching, and ice bath, massage, and active recovery. A side a Advil might help too. Stairs will be no problem then.