Should You Go Running With Sore Legs Or Muscles

11. Should You Go Running With Sore Legs1
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If you want to know the best methods and advice for deciding whether or not you should run with sore legs, read this article.

Choosing what is best for your body on any given day can be challenging because there is so much information available. This article should assist you in determining when to rest, when to modify, and when to continue with your training by teaching you how to better read those signals.

What Causes Muscle Soreness?

Let’s first examine what causes sore muscles. How you feel right away and in the days following a long run, speed workout, or gym session depends on a few different factors.

During marathon training, leg fatigue is not unusual. The body will naturally respond by requesting a break since you are asking it to do more and more each week than you have ever done before.

Here’s the main culprits in your tired legs:

Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS)

According to the American College of Sports Medicine, soreness can result from microscopic tears to muscle fibers caused by stress from an activity, which are necessary for muscle growth. Among other things, symptoms like tenderness and stiffness are possible.

Muscle soreness or discomfort that develops after working out is referred to as delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS), and it typically manifests within 1-2 days, peaking after 2-4 days if the workout was particularly intense.

Then it will start to lessen.

Exercises that put stress on muscles include strength training, running, skiing, and other sports. DOMS is thought to be a step in the process of your muscles healing itself, which is something they need to do.

Typically, this happens because you exerted yourself more than your body was accustomed to, increasing the amount of total muscle breakdown and thereby the necessity for recovery.

Increased Intensity

Increased intensity is another reason for sore muscles. A study on the effects of exercise intensity and duration found that both variables increase muscle soreness. However, the more important factor that leads to those tiny tears in the muscle tissue and consequent soreness is the intensity of the exercise.

Therefore, you may be experiencing some soreness that is greater than usual if you recently worked out with heavier weights, ran a challenging hill workout, or tried some new exercises.

Improper Form

No matter what kind of exercise you’re doing, even something as basic as walking, it’s important to use proper form. We run the risk of hurting ourselves when we don’t use proper form.

Our joints, tendons, and ligaments are subjected to more strain, or we overwork some muscles by overusing others because the wrong muscles aren’t being recruited.

It can be beneficial to videotape ourselves exercising or running in front of a mirror. When we’re worn out, it can also be beneficial to mentally go through a checklist of the muscles that are feeling a little more strained or where we’re holding tension in order to try to adjust right away.

Should You Go Running With Sore Legs Or Rest?

Running with sore legs can have both advantages and disadvantages. Running with sore legs is sometimes okay, or even beneficial, but there are other times when it is counterproductive and preferable to rest.

Running can sometimes actually ease DOMS because it warms up the muscles, increases blood flow, stretches tight and stiff connective tissue and muscle fibers, and accelerates the removal of inflammatory cellular debris, enzymes, and other metabolic waste products.

When to Go Running With Sore Legs

The amount of pain you are experiencing, the cause of your sore legs, and how running with sore legs actually feels will all influence whether you should continue running or take a break. Running, for instance, should be completely fine if your legs are only mildly sore, maybe a 1-2 on a discomfort scale of 1 to 10, especially if you take it easy.

It’s also helpful to consider what made your legs sore. Have you worked out on a hill? How quickly has your mileage increased? Are you a new runner?

Because their bodies are used to the impact of running, more seasoned runners are typically better able to handle running on sore legs than beginners.

On the other hand, beginners should err on the side of caution when it comes to running on sore legs as it takes time for your bones, muscles, and connective tissues to adapt to the impact of running. Making the decision to run on sore legs can actually hinder a beginner’s progress. It will probably make the soreness worse and raise the risk of injury.

Lastly, if easy running feels good and starts to loosen up your legs, or running usually helps your soreness, it’s probably a good idea to try an easy run in hopes of the same therapeutic response. If running seems to be making your legs hurt worse, you can always turn around and walk home.

When to Rest When Your Legs Are Sore from Running

Though most runners hate having to take an unplanned day off or extra rest day when they’re in the thick of training for a big race, there are times when the answer to whether you should run with sore legs is a resounding—or at least highly advisable—no.

Here are 3 circumstances when running with sore legs is not the best choice:

#1: Do Not Run When You Have Pain

There are definitely times when you should not go running with sore legs; most notably, when your legs teeter more into the “painful” rather than “sore” category.

A good rule of thumb is that if you’d rate the soreness or discomfort in your legs as anything higher than a 2, or possibly soft 3, on a scale of 1-10, you’ve ventured into “pain” territory and you’d be better served with rest or some other form of active recovery other than running.

Muscle soreness is normal, but pain is not. Pain is indicative of more significant tissue damage, and choosing to run with really sore legs can greatly increase your risk of injury.

#2: Do Not Run If the Leg Soreness is Localized

On a related note to pain, if the soreness in your legs is isolated to one area, particularly if it’s unilateral, it may be best to rest. Take a rest day or try low-impact cross training, for instance, if your right shin is hurting.

An injury’s early warning signs may be detected by localized discomfort. Preventing full-blown injuries from developing requires identifying niggles early and giving your body time to rest, reduce any inflammation, and repair damaged tissues.

Even though taking an extra few days off or spending more time on the elliptical or bike may feel like a step back in your training, it’s better than having to take several weeks off if you experience stress injuries or worse, shin splints that are fully developed.

11. Should You Go Running With Sore Legs2

#3: Do Not Run If Your Body Feels Tired

The rest of your body may occasionally feel great and be ready to go even though your legs are sore from running. However, if you also feel tired and depleted, especially if you slept poorly or your resting heart rate is elevated, your body may be screaming for rest.

By paying attention to your body’s signals that you need a rest day, you can avoid overtraining and aid your body in conserving resources so it can recover from your workouts.

What to Do About Sore Legs from Running

Here are four additional exercises you can perform to ease muscle soreness if your legs are sore and you decide against running.

#1: Try Active Recovery

If running has caused your muscle soreness, it makes sense that doing something other than running may be more effective at easing soreness than doing more running.

According to studies, increasing blood flow to sore muscles can hasten the healing process by supplying the damaged muscles with more oxygen and nutrients and transporting inflammatory waste products away.

Choosing low-impact active recovery methods like walking, aqua jogging, swimming, stretching, yoga, and light cycling can promote the healing blood flow and flush out metabolic and cellular waste to speed recovery without further stressing muscles, bones, and connective tissues.

#2: Ice Your Legs

Studies have shown that cryotherapy has the potential to lessen the muscle soreness related to DOMS from running, whether you decide to take an ice bath or simply use cold packs.

#3: Massage Sore Legs

According to research, massage can reduce muscle soreness. Massage improves circulation and might help your muscles release adhesions and knots.

You can massage your aching legs with your hands or a massage gun even if you don’t have access to a sports masseuse.

#4: Use a Foam Roller

A manual myofascial release technique called foam rolling can help you have more range of motion while also massaging your muscles and connective tissues. Foam rolling achy legs can tell your nervous system to loosen up tense muscles, which could help with aching legs from running.

For runners, deciding whether or not to take a day off is never easy. Although it’s never what we want to do, there are times when staying healthy and returning strong and prepared to train hard again is the best course of action.

Quick Checklist for Working Out With Sore Muscles


  • When you get up and start moving around, you may be in a position to try an easy run if that is what the schedule calls for if you notice that your legs feel a little less achy and stiff. Make an agreement with yourself that you can always stop if things don’t start to feel better.
  • You can typically still try a nice easy run even if your legs are sore today from a heavy lift you did yesterday. Working out some lactic acid may actually be beneficial for feeling better.


  • Stop right away if anything causes you to change your gait.
  • Anything that causes an immediate stop is a sharp, shooting muscle pain or swelling.
  • Typically, all you feel is utter exhaustion or drained.

Running through pain is not a sign of a true runner; rather, it is a sign of an athlete headed for injury, which almost always results in failure to reach one’s objectives. Recognize that a day off or a modified workout will be much more advantageous to your goals in the long run.

In other words, having days where your legs feel heavy, you feel exhausted, or it’s just not as easy as it has been won’t be unusual. That’s okay; it’s all part of your body’s natural process of deterioration in order to regenerate and become stronger.

Only when you TAKE REST DAYS and reduce weeks will it be able to grow back stronger.

How to Relieve Sore Legs from Running

You can get rid of muscle soreness in numerous ways. Previously I’ve highlighted 11 great ways to help with muscle soreness from running. They are all useful for assisting in the recovery from soreness brought on by other types of activities as well.

Finding what works for you—and even what you enjoy—is crucial. If you enjoy it, you’re more likely to stick with it and incorporate it into your daily routine.

Make it a habit, whether it’s foam rolling, getting a massage once a month, stretching every day, taking an Epsom salt bath, an ice bath, or something else!

But let’s take a brief step back and discuss what we can do before we get to the point of stiff, aching muscles.

Prevent Muscle Soreness

You might be wondering if we can completely avoid muscle soreness. That sounds nice, doesn’t it? Never again would you have to decide whether to exercise on sore muscles or run on sore legs!

There will probably always be instances where we’ll just have to put up with muscle soreness, even if we can reduce or relieve it.

Always Warmup

If you’ve been around for a while, you know that I absolutely adore a good warm up, particularly one that incorporates dynamic stretching. You now know if you’re new around here. This is a crucial step in avoiding tight muscles at the beginning of a workout, which make you more vulnerable to injury and limit your range of motion.

Try this quick dynamic running warm-up method!

Avoid Dehydration

In addition to feeling weaker, your muscles will be more vulnerable to injury if you are dehydrated. Additionally, it can result in muscle cramps or simply make you feel completely exhausted, so that’s not good for sore legs either!

With a large glass of water, begin your day. all day long, drink from a bottle. You can cross this off your list by including electrolyte powders for tougher or hotter workouts.

Fuel Your Body Well

Both inadequate nutrition and dehydration can make us feel less than our best. Your body is constantly breaking down if you aren’t eating enough calories to support the work that you’re doing.

In actuality, doing this while training for a marathon is a simple way to lose muscle mass! You cannot perform at your best while undereating. Therefore, instead of focusing only on calories, consider what you can give your body to help it function at its peak.

1. To aid in muscle recovery, try including more protein.
2. Try foods like cherry juice, ginger, turmeric, and fruits like watermelon and pineapple that are known to reduce inflammation.
3. Enjoy every single vegetable.
4. Fat burns in a carbohydrate flame, so stop being afraid of them. If your body is burning your muscle for fuel instead of fat, you won’t be burning as many calories as you could be to lose weight.

Post Workout Cooldown

A post-workout cool down should be included, just as we should always warm up before a workout. In order to lower my heart rate, increase blood flow, and let my body know it’s time to rest, I personally like to take a walk after my runs.

What About Stretching for Sore Legs After Running?

Stretching did not significantly lessen DOMS, according to a review of 12 studies that examined the topic.

That implies that we shouldn’t stretch, right? It means you can probably skip it if you don’t like it.

When I first get home from a run, I hardly ever concentrate on stretching. But because I have been sitting all day and can feel my hips tightening, I only do my post-run stretches in the evening. I am aware that stretching encourages me to take my time, breathe, and it simply feels good.

That enables me to wake up the following morning prepared to attack my workout.

Pay attention and keep in mind that you didn’t get fit overnight, and you won’t lose it overnight either. Make the best choice possible for yourself by listening, analyzing, and choosing. Even though it’s not ideal to run on sore legs, there are times when it’s the best option.

Final Words

Refueling with carbs and protein is one of the key steps to preventing soreness after a run. Your body depletes its glycogen and energy reserves when you work out hard. You must take time to recover.

To reap the greatest benefits, refuel within the first 30 minutes after the workout. Your muscles will feel less sore as the glycogen stores are replenished. Chocolate milk is the ideal recovery beverage. It contains B vitamins in addition to protein and carbohydrates, all of which work to restore your energy and help you build new muscles.


Why Do My Legs Hurt After Running for the First Time

If you have sore legs after running, the best way to freshen yourself up and aid recovery are by resting, applying heat, and using ice.

Should I Run With Sore Calves

Do not run if you have a calf strain. You must give the calf muscle time to heal properly. You can start to slowly resume running once you can stand on the injured leg without experiencing any pain. Running too soon after suffering from a calf strain increases the risk of further harm to the injured muscles.

Should You Run With Sore Quads

If your quad strain is causing you pain or limited range of movement, do not run through the injury. The risk of further harm to the injured muscles increases when you run. If you stop running and concentrate on physical therapy exercises, your quad strain will heal more quickly.

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