2011-05-29

Sore Muscles

Here's an interesting bit of medical wisdom from Dr. Gabe Mirkin, M.D. (please resist the urge to snicker at his last name):
You finish a workout and feel great; then you get up the next morning and your exercised muscles feel sore. We used to think that next-day muscle soreness is caused by a buildup of lactic acid in muscles, but now we know that lactic acid has nothing to do it. Next-day muscle soreness is caused by damage to the muscle fibers themselves. Muscle biopsies taken on the day after hard exercise show bleeding and disruption of the z-band filaments that hold muscle fibers together as they slide over each other during a contraction.
Of course, this doesn't diminish the importance of proper hydration and a good cool-down, but it's interesting nonetheless.

Dr. Mirkin recommends utilizing the burning sensation as a training tool. What you do is increase running speed up until your muscles start to burn, then back off. Repeat this until your muscles start to feel stiff, and then stop working out altogether.

The idea can be applied on track and fartlek training days, neither of which I have yet covered here. (Our first fartlek workout is this Tuesday, which means you can expect to read about it here on Stationary Waves some time tomorrow.) Feel free to give it a try yourself this Tuesday, especially if you've never before engaged in fartlek training.