Ask ALP: Why am I so sore two days after a big effort?
Every week, Alison Powers and her fellow ALP Cycles coaches — Jennifer Sharp and Patricia Schwager —share their experience, stories and advice with Ella readers in a ‘Weekly Wisdom’ training tips column. Additionally, once a month, Alison responds to your training, riding or racing questions.
Got a question for Alison and her team? Simply post your question in the comments below or send it to us on Twitter or Instagram using the hashtags #weeklywisdom or #askalp.
– Anne-Marije Rook
Why am I so sore two days after a big effort?
DOMS (Delayed onset muscle soreness) is a common result of physical activity that stresses the body and more specifically, the muscle tissue, beyond what it is accustomed to. After participating in some kind of strenuous physical activity, particularly something new to your body, it is common to experience muscle soreness. This soreness, DOMS, can start as soon as six to eight hours post-exercise, and peak around the 48-hour (two- day) mark. DOMS is the product of inflammation of microscopic damage to the muscle fibers involved the exercise.
DOMS can occur anywhere in the body that has recently been exposed to unfamiliar or intense physical activity. While most exercise can induce some DOMS, exercise with a greater emphasis on the eccentric phase (muscles lengthen while force is applied – i.e. resisting the weight) plays the most significant role in the manifestation of DOMS. As cyclists, our muscles are used to contracting concentrically- meaning they push and the muscle shortens. This means, as cyclists, we get sore easily when starting a new activity that makes our muscles contract eccentrically- strength training, running, etc.
One of the best ways to reduce the severity of DOMS is to progress slowly when starting a new exercise, workout or training plan. Taking the time to allow the muscle to adapt to new stress should help to minimize the severity of DOMS, but it is unlikely that soreness can be avoided altogether. Proper warm-up is also important in preparing the muscle for the types of forces that may cause damage.
DOMS is not a bad thing
It’s important to note that DOMS is not a bad thing- unless the soreness gets in the way of daily activities, then you may have over done it. DOMS means you are challenging your muscles to do something they are not used to doing- and that’s how you get stronger. To aid in recovery, post workout be sure to do a short cool down, consume protein (I suggest Osmo recovery drink) to help your muscles start to recover, foam roll, and stretch. Allow the muscles time to recover from the training that produced soreness.
Once DOMS is gone, you should be recovered, and ready to challenge your body again.
Your questions for Alison or any of the other ALP Cyles coaches don’t need to be limited to the topic at hand. Ask them anything! Post your question in the comments below or send it to us on Twitter or Instagram using the hashtags #weeklywisdom or #askalp.
ALP Cycles Coaching is a Boulder-based coaching company with three female coaches at the helm: Alison Powers, Jennifer Sharp and Patricia Schwager.
Each coach brings her own coaching strengths and personal experiences. Roading racing, track, endurance mountain biking, time trialling, making the leap to living and racing in Europe – they’ve got you covered. Find out more about Alison Powers and her Alp Cycles coaching company at here.