Drop Some Knowledge #4: Muscle Soreness vs. Muscle Damage


Finish this sentence/quote: “Fat burns in the flame of ___________.”


Quick recap of the last few days:

My brother (Michael) is back from Georgia! Vanna was the most excited about that:


And Michael’s girlfriend (Libby) is also back home from SoCal:


Sunday= lots of time at church. We had a leadership seminar that was really great (led by Pastor Sam Yun from Los Altos UMC):



Monday, I was going to do a few things before work, but my mom requested that I drive with her when going to SFO to pick up my dad and grandpa. I said I had too many things to do… but I felt bad because she is not that comfortable with driving (which I think she’s just faking because she can parallel park better than I can and she’s never gotten a ticket. Smart lady). Anyways, I’m so glad I went because I got to see my dad and grandpa and help them unpack.

Thank you, God, for my grandfather. He is so sweet and funny! Also, he’s going to be 94 years old soon. He has many many years of life experiences and stories of how God was there for him πŸ™‚

Also, he was asking about me running marathons and when my next race is. He said that now that he can’t walk very well, he is so in awe when he sees people running around. He wants to go when I finish a race some time (haha, which is funny because my parents have not even come to any of my races… I think the fact that it happens all the time makes it seem extremely ordinary).


Time to throw a bunch of numbers at you!

Tuesday’s Tempo (following an unplanned rest day on Monday):

Warm up (3 miles): 8:54, 8:55, 9:42

Tempo (7 miles, really trying to stay around race pace, which is from 8:00 to 8:10): 8:08, 8:05, 8:04, 8:03, 7:58, 7:55, 8:00.Β 

Cooldown (3 miles): 9:25, 8:58, 9:32

So I did a lot better than last time when I was under 8:00 on all of them, hahaha. For the Hansons Marathon Method, their version of the “tempo” isΒ marathon pace instead of 10K (or faster than half marathon) pace.

What kept me going strong? The beautiful ocean. I loooove running along the Great Highway with the ocean by my side. Sky was clear as could be. Thank you, God, for yesterday!

Total for Tuesday: 13.1 miles (1:52).


Answer to the fill-in-the-blank: “Fat burns in the flame of ___________”

… CARBOHYDRATES! Don’t be scared of carbs, friendos.

That’s all for that.

Okay… let’s talk about muscle soreness and muscle damage!

What are they?

What makes them different?

Are either of them subjective?

Okay. Muscle soreness can be immediate (from the increased hydrogen ions, which can cause a burning feeling during or right after the workout).

Delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS)Β is due to muscle damage. It peaks 24-48 hours after the workout, and it’s related to intensity/duration. The most profound muscle damage seems to come from eccentric contractions (such as running down hill where you’re braking constantly).

Okay…Β muscle damageΒ is damage to specific parts of the muscle fiber (sarcolemma), and it is marked by swelling and inflammation of the tissue as it repairs itself. This can also stimulate pain receptors (localized to the muscle used). There is also more myoglobin and creatine kinase released.

You can actually measure the muscle damage by testing the blood from the muscle area if there are increased levels of myoglobin and creatine kinase (this is how it is done in studies).

Muscle soreness? Kind of subjective… You just ask for a rating from 1 to 10 or something. Or you can be mean and poke ’em, watching for how mad they get at you.

To sum up: muscle damage kind of falls under muscle soreness, but only muscle damage can actually be measured (whereas some people can’t bear any type of pain and others can tolerate a whole lot of pain, making “muscle soreness” tough to compare between two different people).

I know a lot of people like to take anti-inflammatories or ice excessively when the have mad DOMS. Well in situations where you are totally suffering from the muscle damage/soreness, maybe it is appropriate… but just taking it all the time is probably not the best thing to do (considering that you could be interfering with the repairing process of the body).

[Of course, I’m no doctor. If your PCP tells you to take it, then please do so :P]


What was the last activity you did that made you super sore?Β [Any type of heavy lifting, which I’m doing a lot of this week]

Have you ever had to use an ice bath or take ibuprofen to reduce swelling/inflammation? [My longest trail race… a 22-miler… definitely required an ice bath afterwards. I think I may have popped an ibuprofen, too].

13 responses to “Drop Some Knowledge #4: Muscle Soreness vs. Muscle Damage

  1. When I first started out on the journey to get fit, a friend worked out WITH me. Well day two she wrote something on FB along the lines of “My body hurts so bad. My muscles are so sore. There is NO way this can be benefiting me.” I just thought- really? We hiked. It wasn’t like we ran a marathon or did an IronMan. Three miles of low intensity hiking with ONE hill. It’s called fitness for a reason… I still chuckle about it. She never did work out with me again. πŸ™‚


    • Right! Some people are not used to the feeling of having challenged the body that they get scared of continuing a certain activity. Hope your friend was able to find a different workout or activity that she’s more comfortable with πŸ˜‰

  2. This is awesome info on muscles! I’ve never fully understood DOMS so thanks for that. I’ve never taken an ice bath but ice packs all over my legs are my best friends. I know if I ran a marathon tho id definitely need an ice bath, stat!

  3. Great post! Super informative πŸ™‚
    I unfortunately overtrained and was experiencing not only DOMS, but fatigue, irregular heart rate while exercising and overall malaise. Now I know I need MORE recovery time after intense leg days! And I take inbuprofen quite often for tendinitis and a herniated disc in my back. In addition to help with soreness/damage I foam roll πŸ™‚

    • OMG foam rolling! Hurts so good!
      Yeah, recovery time is definitely the best (or some light exercise like walking) after leg days. I applaud you for working hard and not letting a herniated disc and other things become an excuse to become sedentary! You’re a rockstar πŸ˜€

  4. Pingback: Nice Long Break | blessed with thunder thighs·

  5. Pingback: Drop Some Knowledge #8: Postural and Mechanical Loading on Bones/Ligaments | blessed with thunder thighs·

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s