Listen to Your Body: Post Marathon Run Soreness

The kinds of pains you get a day, a few days, or even a week or two after a marathon run can say much about what you need to do in order to help improve your future runs.

Here are some of the pains I’ve experienced:

  • Sore quads
  • Sore hamstrings
  • Sore left ankle

Sore Quads

The CIM is a hilly course.  The uphills gave my quads a beating just on the edge of cramping up.  This means that I should do more hill work.  Unfortunately, the only hills available in the Central Valley within running distance are the over passes over highway 120.

I will have to incorporate various quad exercises in my cross training routine.  This can include:

  • squats
  • squat jumps
  • lunges (including carrying dumbbells)
  • jumping switching lunges

Note that I don’t go to gyms; all exercises I do doesn’t require any extensive use of equipment.  As a matter of fact, I prefer no equipment at all.

Sore Hamstrings

I read in Men’s Running magazine that the cause of sore hamstring is not getting the heels to go high enough.  In addition, they  also mention that getting the heels up helps with the foot turn over, and as such, results in covering more ground in shorter amount of time.  This translate to speed.

The one way you can incorporate getting the heels up in your run is by thinking “touch – lift” during your run.  The idea is not to have your foot spend too much time touching the ground.  So if you are finding yourself losing speed even though it feels like you are going harder, then think “touch – lift”.  By keeping this in mind, you can focus on getting your heel up, and close to your butt.

According to Mens Running, this is suppose to help with sore hamstrings.

Sore Left Ankle

My left foot, showing indication of over pronationMy left ankle felt sore after running the marathon.  I didn’t really notice it until one day after the run.

I didn’t even notice what caused it until two weeks after the run.  The root cause is a badly worn shoe.  My left foot just likes to hit with the heel first, resulting in the heel of my left shoe to get worn out first.

To be exact, my outer left heel hits first resulting in an over pronation.  The pain I get is similar to a sheen splint, except the pain I get is on my inner ankle, just above the ankle, towards the heel.

Because of the pronation, the inner ankle tendon is getting more stretching than it needs.

To correct this, I will need to do three things:

  • get better shoes (I didn’t have this problem when I was wearing the Saucony Progrid Mirage running shoes, where the heel to toe height difference is very minimal); at the CIM I used my Nike Pegasus 26.
  • fix my form; this may be a bit tough to do, but with the right shoes, I should be able to achieve this.
  • do ankle strengthening exercises


The long CIM run produced leg pains that dictate areas I need to look at.  The quad pains were indicative of the need to do more hill work or quad work outs.  The hamstring issues I felt were indicative of the need for better form.  Last but not least, my left ankle pain pointed to the need for better shoes and form adjustment.

You might say that a marathon run can make your body feel pain everywhere.  Yes that is true and generally normal; but parts of your body that feel the most pain is indicative of something.  So make sure you pay attention; your body is telling you something.

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