How did you spend your weekend? Did it hurt? Mine did!
As I write this I am aching top to toe, but that’s ok, it’s normal. This weekend, some friends and myself completed a Tough Mudder event. 10 miles of running broken up by 25 obstacles aimed at testing the mind and body whilst getting muddier and wetter than I’ve ever been before. It was great fun climbing over walls, swimming under obstacles and even running through an electrified gauntlet. However at times I was pushing my body to the limit. Mostly it was my right knee complaining – it was killing me. One of the benefits of being a physio was I knew not to be concerned. Pain does not always mean harm. I was running on uneven hilly terrain slipping all over the place. I was working my body harder than it was used to. Pain was a guide to say ‘hello, you’re working at your limit’. I was still able to run and climb and had full movement, there was no injury. So my point is to show that it’s important to listen to what our bodies are telling us but to evaluate the messages in the context of what you are doing and what you have trained for.
Now day 2 after the event, and I have DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness) big time. Sit to stand, walking, doing he stairs and even getting out of bed are a challenge. DOMS is a normal side effect of exercise. The harder you push the more you get. And it will continue to increase until day 3. During this times its vital to keep moving, maybe a light bike ride or swim, stay hydrate and gently stretch. I need to flush out all the lactic acid, a byproduct of muscle contraction, to normalise the chemical balance within my muscles. It’ll pass, its not an injury. I can then get back on light training – but I have yet to decide what the next crazy adventure will be.
If you have exercised harder than normal, or done an event that pushed you to your limits I hope reading my experience will put help you reason through your aches and pains. But remember they should resolve, at least within the week. If they haven’t maybe you have done more than I did, and need some professional input. Here at ngphysiotherapy we can definitely asses and advise on what you should do, and what strength and conditioning to do in order to to move forward, ready for your next challenge.