Hello. Still a newbie, I just finished week 7 of c25k today. Since the 20-25 min runs started, my legs have been hurting so badly. Not at the time of running, but several hours later and into the next day and night. Its a tightness and a feeling like I just cant stretch them enough. Im totally fidgity while awake on the couch or even in bed. I always stretch/walk before my run and after as well. My question is; is there a vitamin/supplement I can take to prevent this pain? I am already taking magnesium for muscle spasms, but it doesnt seem to help this. Ibuprophen helps quite a bit, but I dont want to get in the habit of having to take it every other day! Any suggestions?
I use Glaceau Vitamin waters and can really recommend them. They have different varieties, including an endurance version. (Also, G2 right after runs might help). Overall, make sure you are getting enough in terms of vitamins C,E, & A (antioxidants) and consider adding Omega 3 because it is a natural anti-inflamatory option that reduces swelling. Also, zinc can aid with recovery. Finally, evaluate your iron levels, as that is a common factor in leg pain and can produce many other symptoms.
Hope this helps and wishing you all the best.
As a new runner, you can expect to feel sore whenever you exceed the mileage you are accustomed to running. After your season is over and you cut back on your mileage, you should find the next season to be easier, as long as you don't push too hard too soon. Great confidence often precedes great soreness, as most of us have found. The good news is, those sore muscle cells will be replaced by stronger ones, though the process may be painful along the way to the new you.
While stretching can be beneficial in conjunction with exercise, it's a tricky give and take. Cold muscles do not react very well to a stretch, and it is better to stretch warm muscles than cold. On the other hand, it is not always a good idea to stretch sore, tired muscles, because they are already overstressed. Studies have shown that stretching before exercise does not prevent injuries or improve performance, but common sense should tell you that a stretch does the same thing to a muscle that exercise does, which is to stress muscle cells and fibers. In other words, when your muscles have had enough, they've had enough! Instead of adding insult to injury, use a stretch strategically to keep warm muscles from shortening during rest. For example, it's a great idea before bedtime, or during the day after you have partially recovered from morning exercise, and you can feel what is going on without the numbness of exercise-induced endorphins.
The fact that Ibuprofen, a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID) decreases your symptoms, means that inflammation is probably a component of your pain. I agree with Jasko's strategy to pursue foods that fight inflammation before it becomes a problem.
Fish oil, Krill oil, Walnuts, Flax seeds, and Chia seeds are usually rich sources of Omega-3 fats. You can also find them in grass-fed meats, since animals (including fish) are what they eat, too. Be careful with sourcing your omega 3s, since products claiming to contain them are sometimes based on rancid fat. This includes fortified eggs from hens raised on feed in which the Omega-3 oils are already oxidized, not fresh. Most salmon is also farm-raised on feed that contains more Omega-6 fat than Omega-3. Omega-6 fats (vegetable oils, most margarines and shortenings) are highly inflammatory, as are sugars and refined starches. Almost all cakes, cookies, crackers, and energy bars are largely composed of these three items. Minimize their use, and you will experience less inflammation.
But oil is only one of the foods that affect inflammation. While eating healthy and fresh is a great start, there are powerhouse anti-inflammatory spices you can add to many dishes, as a way to enhance your fitness diet. Chief among them are Turmeric, Ginger, and hot peppers. Oddly, the heat these spices provide produces an opposite effect in your body. Fauja Singh, the 100 year-old marathoner who recently set a record for "oldest to complete a marathon," credits his endurance to regular consumption of Ginger Curry, a dish that contains all three! Studies have even shown these foods to be helpful for combating the pain of arthritis... http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/21246089/ns/today-today_health/t/fight-arthritis-these-foods/#.TxMIXHpZq8o
A video in the above link shows a number of other helpful foods, including the sulphur-containing "cruciferous" vegetables, such as broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, cabbage (yeah, the stinky ones), and one of my favorites, Kale - which is rich in natural magnesium as well. While it takes longer to prepare foods than to pop a pill, there is a difference between what goes into a supplement, and what you actually can get out of it. Many pills release their nutrients too soon to survive stomach acid, and some pass right through without dissolving in time. Many pills contain binders or gums that can actually interfere with the digestive process. The advantage of nutrition from food, is that it is locked into the cells of plants and animals that release their contents in the intestine where they can be absorbed. An average magnesium pill, on the other hand, may yield for absorption only 20% of the mineral it contains.
This same principle holds true, unfortunately, for vitamins. While they are more helpful for metabolic and anabolic processes than for inflammation per se, what goes into a product is often much different from what you get out of it, manufacturer claims notwithstanding. A classic example is in beverages, which begin to lose their vitamin potency as soon as they are bottled, according to naturopathic physician Andrew Weil, MD. Minerals are basic elements that remain largely intact, while vitamins are active chemicals. Water is an ideal medium for chemical reactions to take place, with or without the presence of oxygen. Be particularly suspicious of any beverage that claims to contain both C and B vitamins, since the ascorbic acid of vitamin C destroys certain B vitamins in solution. C is not very stable in liquid form anyway, except in canned tomato products, which are often found to be tainted with hormone disrupting BPA. In other words, get your vitamins fresh from food, whenever you can, so to speak.
Exercise can change your life in many ways. One thing is for sure: it's a great way to find out how many other adjustments you might need to make in your life, in order to survive it. So, if you can prevent inflammation with food, and fight it when it happens with food, you shouldn't need to use the meds very often. It's always better to fireproof your house, than to have a convenient fire hydrant. Good luck with your training. The first few months can be the hardest, but combined with a healthy lifestyle, it's mostly better from here on out!
Correct your running posture. I started running in August 2008. I found that my legs almost always hurt after runs. Especially after 10K and HM races. In 2011 I spent the whole year reading, asking questions and trying changes. At 57 I now run mostly without pain - even HMs and Ms. In 2011, I was much slower than I was in 2010, but as I corrected my posture I hurt less and less. I started getting my speed back in my last HM - December 2011. It was easy to measure my progress as I run a HM or M once a month. I still have issues, I now know where to look for the solutions. Good info on posture is a bit hard to find, but is out there. Just look hard and you will find it. Good luck on correcting your running posture and run without pain - it is much more enjoyable.
Trigger point therapy made a world of difference for me. You can use The Stick or Tiger Tail, but I used a good old fashioned dowel rod and rolled my calves out. I used a massage knuckle the other day and it worked well too. I went from running with cramped calves, to no pain at all.