Estimated read time: 8 minutes.
The most common question is whether running after your leg day is a good idea. Some people love leg workouts, while others find it more strenuous for the muscles.
Leg day is one of the killer workouts where the main focus is just your legs. You spend your training on building and strengthening your leg muscles. It involves different strength training workouts like squats, lunges, Romanian deadlifts, and others.
This guide will focus on running after leg day, how leg workouts affect your running, and other helpful information to boost your performance.
What is a Leg Day?
Before delving deeper into whether to run after leg day or not, we need to understand the meaning of a leg day. For beginners, there are two main forms of strength training exercises – total body and body split workouts.
Full Body Workout
As the name suggests, a full-body workout routine is where you focus on the whole body part. These exercises will involve using all body muscle fibers, including the chest, legs, abs, core, and back.
Split Workout Routine
In a split workout, the main focus is on specific body parts. The body is split into sections that are made of different muscles.
Therefore, the leg day workout routine is on the muscles supporting your leg. As mentioned earlier, the recommended workouts include bridges and box jumps that focus on building the lower body plyometrics.
What Makes Leg Day So Hard?
There is so much fuss about leg day. Many people consider it to be the hardest workout routine you can undertake. The reason is that leg workouts involve the body’s largest muscle groups, including the hamstring, quads, and others.
Since you are working on your total body mass, your body will hurt the following day. For this reason, giving your legs some time to recover before running is recommended. Note that leg workouts use all the energy in glycogen stores, which in return leaves your body completely exhausted.
However, this does not mean that you have to spend the whole day sleeping to recover from leg day. You should do some lightweight recovery runs to reduce soreness.
Advantages of Running After Leg Day
There are benefits you enjoy when you run after leg day. However, it depends on your fitness and upcoming events. These advantages are:
Helps to Burn Fat
Running immediately after a leg workout helps your body oxidize fat for energy, especially with high-intensity training. Fat and carbohydrates are responsible for providing your body with energy during workouts.
The speed of burning fats will vary depending on the intensity of the exercise and nutrition. Running after a leg workout increases the rate of metabolism so that they can burn fat faster and spare glycogen for endurance training.
Increased Weight Loss
The secrete to losing weight is by burning more calories. So, running after an intense leg session will increase your caloric expenditure. Additionally, this will help you to burn a bigger percentage of calories from the stored body fats.
Speed Up Recovery Process
The good thing with light or easy running after a cardio workout is it increases the recovery process of the tired leg muscles. Also, it brings healing nutrients and sufficient oxygen to enhance the development of more muscle mass: the more oxygen intake, the better blood flow.
Keeps you Healthy
Going for an intense running workout for 60 minutes will not only help you achieve fitness goals but improve your overall health. Additionally, this is a great way to keep your heart in good working condition. Alternatively, you can opt for a moderate aerobic activity to keep you fit.
Disadvantages of Running After Leg Day
Running after leg day has some drawbacks too. Here are some reasons why you should not go running immediately:
High Risk of Injury
Your body and leg muscles need time to heal after an intense workout. Hitting the road immediately after intense training goes against the recovery demands. The average time for the recovery process to complete is 24 to 48 hours, depending on your fitness. Putting your legs under additional stress might lead to depleted or completely damaged muscle fibers.
Slows Down your Gains
If you are training to build muscle mass, running after leg work is definitely a bad idea. Your body requires surplus energy to gain strong muscles. Subjecting yourself to a warm-up after intense exercising will put you in a negative energy balance. This way, your growth process is slowed down significantly.
This is the first thing that every runner should be worried about. Motivation breakdown happens when you lose the desire to continue running because you are physically, mentally, and emotionally drained. You must have a training program so that you don’t push yourself to the limit.
Best Ways to Prevent Sore Legs After Leg Day
One of the reasons you should moderate leg workouts is because it easily leads to the sore occurrence. Sores result from the lactic acid that accumulates in your leg muscles. Insufficient oxygen supply and low blood circulation can trigger pain in the legs and lower your performance.
So, follow these simple guidelines to prevent sore legs from happening:
Do Not Boycott your Workout
Having a well-organized training schedule can help a lot in preventing post-workout problems. It is important to include moderate-intensity workouts to boost your flexibility and increase blood flow. You will not feel pain when running or recovering.
Never Take More than you Can Handle
Some people are fond of making a point at everything, including workouts. Exceeding your limits may bring faster results, but the long-term results are painful. The biggest risk of overstretching is ligament rapture or severe inflammation. This can prevent you from your routine workout for a couple of days.
Take Enough Rest
Make sure you get enough time to recover after an intense workout. This will help your muscles to relax and prevent sore legs from hurting. Do this after every high-intensity runs to improve your muscle strength.
Few Tips to Fasten Muscle Recovery Process After Leg Day
If you have decided to run after leg day, here are a few tips to increase the recovery process:
You must drink as much water as possible during your recovery time. Maintaining a low body temperature will lower the process of metabolism and fasten the recovery of your leg muscles. Always have a water bottle during your leg workout.
Take Short Breaks
Learn to take short breaks during your leg workout. Resting sessions will help you regain lost energy and increase your training time. Moreover, these breaks will prevent you from additional stress from fatigue.
Warm Up Well
Warming up before any hard leg workout is the secrete to reducing injuries. Make sure you include warm-up sessions, such as a brisk walk, in your schedule. Moving your body from a relaxed mode to high-intensity runs or workouts is not good.
Check your Diet
You must check your diet during your running routine or any workout. Eating a well-balanced meal will enhance your running performance and prevent you from excess fat gain. Sticking to protein-rich food like eggs, fish, lean beef, chicken, peanut, and others is recommended. Protein is vital for muscle growth and general body wellness. Remember to avoid alcohol after intense workouts.
Wear Proper Running Shoes and Compression Pants
Another easy active recovery method is wearing unique compression pants and cushioned running shoes. Proper running gear will boost your blood circulation, thus helping you to recover faster.
Go for a Massage
Going for a massage is another you should think about. A good massage will heal muscle soreness and other hurting body parts. Some people opt for lotions to prevent their skins from drying and breaking.
Recommended Leg Day Workouts for Beginners
As aforementioned, leg day involves an intense exercise of all your leg muscles. You’ll achieve this using compound movement that touches different muscles. The following are different compound exercises you can do on leg day workout:
Body Weight Squats Training: This exercise focus on your glutes, hamstrings, quadriceps, and the core.
Standing Calf Raises: These are excellent workouts for building your calves. Also, the exercise helps to strengthen your feet and ankle muscles.
Alternating Reverse Lunges: Another great compound leg day workout that will boost your core strength is reverse lunges. The advantage is you can do it without weight training.
Alternating Side Lunges: This exercise is recommended as it deals with your lower body muscles and your inner and outer thigh abductors.
Glute Bridges: As the name suggests, this isolation exercise targets your glutes. Also, it touches the hamstrings and quads, and the core.
Running After Leg Day – The Wrap!
That brings us to the end of this long topic. The answer to whether to run after leg day comes down to one’s choice and fitness. Some people find it much easier and more relaxing to do short runs after an intense leg workout.
We highly recommend combining strength training, such as lightweight lifting and cardio workouts. This requires you to have a proper plan and consistency in your training. You must start with setting your fitness goals and then decide how you will achieve them.
Therefore, it is okay to run after leg day. However, you must ensure you consider the advantages and disadvantages that come with it.