How to avoid muscle soreness from strength training sessions

As runners, we all know how important it is to include strength training sessions in our weekly training plan. Strength training will increase our muscle power, promote a better running form, look after our bone health, and make running easier. Very often, runners who do strength workouts occasionally, tend to get very sore muscles for the following few days, which affects the running schedule, making it more challenging. Depending on the training sessions or the runner’s fitness level, we can experience either muscle soreness or something a bit more intense called DOMS (Delayed-Onset Muscle Soreness). After a strength training session, you feel a bit sore, the next day or two, this will usually be only muscle soreness. On the other hand, if the next day, when getting out of bed and starting to move, you feel soreness in every fiber in your body, or when you walk up some stairs and feel like you’re climbing Lantau Peak or Needle Hill, then you might be experiencing DOMS. In order to avoid DOMS or muscle soreness you need to follow some specific steps to prevent or speed up muscle recovery caused by strength training. You have to look at specific things to do before during and after strength training sessions in order to save your muscles.
Pre-Training Session:

Hydrate before the exercise session- Drinking enough water is one of the best defenses against muscle soreness.
Fuel your body- The food we eat before we train is the fuel our body will use to repair the muscles. A diet higher in protein will ensure quicker muscle repair. A good rule of thumb is to include all three macronutrients in proper ratio 40% protein, 40% carbs and 20% “healthy” fat.
Get enough quality sleep the night before- Lack of sleep can delay muscle recovery.
During Training Session:

Warm up properly- Dynamic warm up are as important before strength training sessions as before a run.
Balance your training intensity- Don’t work harder than your body is ready for. Make sure you progress in your training, start reasonably, you want to challenge your body and muscles, but not destroy them. Increase the weight and frequency gradually. Don’t start training with weights that are too heavy for your finess level, this might cause some injuries.
Vibration training- In between intense sets you can shake your legs and arms out to shake off and release the tension. The vibration technique has many benefits in lowering muscle soreness.
Include a cool down routine- After your workout session make sure you stretch the muscles you focused on or the ones that were engaged. For example if you did many squats and lunges, make sure you stretch your hip flexors, glutes, quadriceps etc..
 Post-training session:

Proper nutrition for recovery: Within 30-45mins, make sure you consume some carbs and protein
Eat a healthy meal a few hours after your training session- Include protein, healthy carbs, and veggies.
Include active recovery- Yes rest is helpful for muscle recovery, but active recovery can lessen and shorten muscle soreness. Active recovery includes moving, walking, cycling, swimming or light bodyweight training.
 Epsom salt bath- Taking a bath with Epsom salts helps reduce muscle inflammation, flush toxins out of the muscles, improve nerve function, relieve stress and prevent muscle soreness.
Get a massage- Regular massages will have several benefits including muscle relaxation, pain reduction and stress relief.
Avoid taking anti inflammatory drugs- Although drugs like Ibuprofen blocks the body natural pain signals, they do nothing to promote recovery, it’s actually the opposite as inflammation is part of the healing process.
After a few weeks of consistent strength training sessions, your body will adapt to the workout schedule and by increasing the weight and reps gradually you will build up muscle strength and prevent muscle soreness. By including an odd session occasionally, your muscles will not be able to adapt and strengthen, the results will only be intense muscle soreness. The optimal goal of any type of training is to find the optimal balance between training and recovery.

Train Hard, Eat Right, and Feel Great!