Derek Asks: I want to build my leg strength in the gym these next few months, but when should I do a hard leg workout if I am running 3-4 times a week and riding 3-4 times a week? My legs are sore for 3 days after I work them and it affects my running and biking.
There are a few things you can do to improve your chances of recovery after each workout. Be sure to drink some type of recovery drink immediately after each session, post-stretch with a foam roller and wear compression type socks like CEP Compression Socks to help reduce the fatigue from your workout. Another very inexpensive item athletes don’t consider is a topical Phonophoresis pain relief gel.
Remember, not every ride and run needs to be hard. Try having one run and ride that would be considered “hard” and keep the others at Zone 3 and below. If you are lifting at night don’t follow the next workout with a hard run or ride, but instead having an easy morning workout and make the harder session later in the afternoon. Look at lifting only 1-2 times a week and you will have higher quality sessions and still make significant gains. Drink plenty of water, get more sleep (8-9 hours with a nap), and take supplements such as a multivitamin and fish oil to help reduce soreness. Be sure your diet isn’t consisting of crappy processed foods and is balanced and nutrient dense.
Taking preventive care and maintenance to help your body recover such as stretching and drinking water can help tremendously. Post workout chores need to be a priority such as staying off your feet, keeping them elevated, and taking an ice bath at night. Get more sleep, plan out your week and you will be well on your way to less muscle fatigue to help you train stronger.