Muscle Pain with Sprints

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created April 24, 2010 at 4:46 PM

Hi guys:

Has this happened to anybody? I am a reasonably fit guy who has been running, weight-training, yadda yadda for years. I tried out Tabata sprints a la Mark Sisson's Primal workout a week ago and really liked them. Post-sprints, my quads were a little tender, understandably. I did my regular workouts through the rest of the week, nothing special; quads a little tender still but nothing prohibitive. Comes this Saturday morning, I jog out to my sprint mark, crouch down and as soon as I begin to push off, BLAM! Both quads felt like someone had shredded them. I hobbled home like I'd run a marathon. I was able to do a regular cardio workout, though. The rest of my leg muscles were fine. I hadn't stretched before I started to run, but I just can't believe such unbelievable pain could come from simply being a little tight. Right now, one hour later, quads are still sore, but I can move around fine. Anybody have a similar experience?

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3 Answers



on April 24, 2010
at 08:28 PM

Whenever I change my sprint routine, I get increased soreness in the quads and hamstrings. It seems to go away within a week if I decrease the intensity of my leg workouts for the rest of the week.

Also, adequate warm-up seems to help prevent pain and tightness when I sprint. Before starting a sprint, try gradually warming up with a walk, then jog, then moderate run, then accelerate to a sprint from a run. Only when you can tolerate sprinting from a running start would I recommend sprinting from a dead stop.

Sometimes it helps to gradually ease into tabatas. Try starting with a longer rest interval, say 30 seconds, then gradually lower it to 10 seconds.

Two supplements you can try to speed up recovery are creatine (see this thread: http://paleohacks.com/questions/1037/creatine-and-paleo ) and citrulline malate (see this study: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20386132 ).

Try other tabatas (burpees, benches, rowing, etc.) to see if they trigger similar pain somewhere else. If so, then it's an issue with anaerobic metabolism. If not, then it's a quad training problem.



on April 24, 2010
at 08:23 PM

Being a senior citizen and living in a retirement community and playing senior solftball, I can attest that when new arrivals begin the first week into the season, fully half come up with lame quads during the first game of the season....when they hit the ball and take off for first base. A combination of both fast twitch and slow twitch muscles have been torn down at the micro level and just need time to repair. Perhaps two weeks in your case.

It all has to do with not using those quads and asking them to perform in a manor they are not accustom to.

In your case, do your regular workouts but ditch the sprints for a while. When you feel that the quads have healed, get a beach ball and put it against a wall and also put it just above your butt and do a lot of wall squats....as deep as you can go....slowly. That will strengthen the quads and you will never pull them again during tabata time.

I do 10 rounds of 20 seconds all out with 10 seconds rest. I can do 120 yards the first 20 seconds and by the 9th and 10th round, I am down to 70 yards and totally exhausted but feeling good. Once a week is enough for tabata and recovery.



on April 24, 2010
at 05:09 PM

If you rip apart your muscles more, you need more rest to rebuild them stronger!

This quad prob happened to me after I ran my marathon - opposite experience but similar effect. I think perhaps that you need to give it a little rest on the remainder of your workouts rather than continuing with the rest of the week as normal. Then after a while, up your workouts back to normal intensity. I think you'll find that with time, the pain will subside; but you need to allow for an increased rest period after you increase effort.

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