Why Muscles Hurt After Working Out -- Nutshell Version

Article written by Niki Jamieson

Triathlon Event  You just completed your first Sprint/Mini-Triathlon and your body is really, really sore. Why do muscles react this way to working out?

We spoke with a local massage therapist to find out the technical reason why muscles hurt or are sore after a big workout or competition. She told us that when you work out, you create micro-tears in your muscle, which breaks down the muscles creating stiffness and soreness.

This is a normal body reaction. As the micro-tears heal, your muscles become stronger giving you stamina to sustain future workouts with less soreness and stiffness.

This is why workout schedules are not designed to have you working to your max 24/7. You need to have recovery days to allow your muscles to rebuild and re-energize. Without rest days, you can seriously injure your muscles which will be more painful and keep you sidlelined for a longer period of time.

Recovering from triathlon events and triathlon training:

    • Massage Therapy – When you get a massage, the therapist skillfully works the painful areas which stimulates blood flow into the the muscles. This allows the blood to heal the muscle so it can rebuild and become stronger. It also lets the muscle relax, which is what makes you feel like a million bucks when you walk out of the office.

I personally always treat myself to a massage after every triathlon. It is kinda like my reward for all of the hard work and dedication I put in over the year to keeping healthy and reaching my triathlon goal.

  • Everyday Recovery Methods – Give your body a rest or ease up on your training routine to allow your body to recover

Substitute a “walk” for a training run and be sure to stretch your muscles at different points during the walk. This will allow your muscles to warm up, get the blood flowing to the area and get them stretched out so that they heal quicker

You can also read these two great articles on Race Recovery:

How to tell if the muscle is injured:

  • If you have serious pain in the muscle or swelling occurs, it could indicate an injury. Get some ice on that bad boy and consult a doctor.

  • If you find that you are merely uncomfortable, achy and just sore, it is your badge of honor for completing an amazing workout or event — Congratulations! Recommended Resources:


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