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You don’t have to “feel” a workout


Imagine this.

This is the first really truthfully warm day of the year. No gloves, tights, or long sleeves necessary. You head to the track for your first good track session…you’ve been waiting for spring weather to get to the track. The workout is 10x300m with 2:00 jogging between reps. You hammer out the workout feeling great, loving the feeling of summer.

The next day you wake up and your calves are killing you. Major DOMS!

You decide to take the day off, and the next two runs are still both DOMS induced recovery sessions.

Feel hardcore, right?

“Ohhh, I’m so sore from that epic track workout”

Actually, I would suggest that you should never really “feel it” after a workout.

In fact, I would go as far as to say that you should almost never feel sore the next day from a workout.

If you do, you did a combination of a) trained too hard during that one workout & b) did not properly progress towards that workout.

Lets break each of these down.

a) Trained too hard during that one workout

The issue with single workouts that are too difficult is that they may over stress the system and increase your risk of injury. This would include doing long runs that are much too long. Another problem here is that this too long long run is going to require excess recovery time. So you’ve both increased your injury risk and lengthened the time before you can do another key workout.

b) Did not properly progress towards that workout.

With athletes I coach, I never ever start them off with a series of track repetitions. They start their new training block, after a period of rest, with 1-2 strides during an easy run. Each week they’ll get a few more strides and max hill sprints. Over the course of the Introductory period they’ll move to the Fundamental or Special period, where they can now begin dedicated track workouts.

The best way to prevent being overly sore or fatigued after a hard run is primarily to be mindful of what you’ve done recently and make the next key workout a gradual progression of difficulty. Slowly increase the distances of your long run instead of jumping right into them. Gradually add more intensity into your training instead of going hard into a long track session.