Have you ever gotten sore quads from running? Sore quads from running are something that people experience quite frequently. It can be annoying to have as not only can it be painful but it can temporarily hinder your ability to run.

The word “quads” refer to the quadriceps, that is, the four muscles located in the front upper thigh. They work in conjunction with the hamstrings to bend and extend the leg as necessary – so you can see why they’re so vital to running and other athletic sports! However, this also means that they are prone to injury or overuse, which is why you may experience sore quads from running at times.

When runners try to run faster and the quads are worked more than they are capable of, you put a lot of stress on the cells that aren’t quite used to the intensity of the exercise. This can result in microtears in the muscle, which causes the sore quads from running. The good news is that over time, they will grow more resistant and learn to adapt.

Not only that but as I mentioned earlier, your quads work together with the hamstrings. It is a common problem that people actually have much stronger hamstrings than they do quadriceps, which causes an imbalance in the lower body. Other common problems also include tight quads.

The average length that a runner will experience sore quads from running does depend on each individual. On average, soreness lasts for 2-3 days. For beginner runners though, this may be extended to up to a week, while seasoned runners may feel relief within 1-2 days.

How to Treat Sore Quads from Running

Now that you know what causes the soreness in your quads, here are some ways to treat it and help you recover faster.

Ice Bath

You may have heard of athletes taking an ice bath after a training session. There is a reason why so many people turn to this recovery method. An ice bath assists in reducing swelling and tissue breakdown. It will also flush lactic acid out of your body.

While the prospect of emerging your body in a bath full of ice isn’t quite appealing to a lot of people, it is quite an effective method.

To take an ice bath, fill the bath with cold water first. Then emerge yourself into the cold water. After that, you can add the ice. This makes it easier for those who hate the cold to slowly ease their way into it.

Alternatively, you can just ice the area that is sore; in this case, it is your quads. This will cause the blood vessels in your quads to tighten, facilitating in draining the lactic acid out of your muscles.


Another popular method? Massages. By massaging the affected area, you increase the blood flow, which helps to circulate oxygen. It will also lessen tension in the muscles by helping to loosen them up, eliminating stiffness.

This will ultimately help your sore quads recover faster.

Foam Roll

Similarly to a massage, foam rolling your quads will help to get the blood flow moving. To foam roll your quads, put the foam roller on the floor and lie on top of it face down. Make sure your thigh is situated on the roller and support yourself with your other leg on the ground.

Use the roller to move back and forth over your thigh. When you feel an area that is tender, keep the roller there for a few minutes. Alternatively, you can also roll back and forth over this affected area. This will work similarly to a massage.

Stretch/Light Activity

You should be stretching before your run (with dynamic stretches) and after your run (static stretches). Doing so can help to recover and prevent sore quads from running.

Stretching when your quads are sore can help to loosen your muscles and activate recovery. Light activity such as walking can also assist in this and prevent stiffness.

Rest time

Make sure that you give yourself time off to rest. Don’t go straight into another intense exercise the next day or soon after as this can make it worse. Resting gives your body the time it needs to relieve muscle tension so that you can come back 100%.

If it is hard for you to skip a day of exercising, then just heed the point above and do light activities such as walking. That way, you are still moving without putting too much stress on your quads.

Stay Hydrated

An easy way to help with sore quads is to stay hydrated. Water helps to flush away toxin buildup that accumulates throughout the muscle repairment process. Help your body out by giving it the hydration it needs.

Eat well-balanced meals

Of course, what you put in your body makes a big difference in your recovery. Eat a nutritious, well-balanced meal after a running session that focuses on protein and carbohydrates. It is a good idea to add some healthy fats as well.

Looking for a running plan that can help improve your running? Zen Labs Fitness offers a range of running apps that help complete newbies to experienced runners. Armed with an audio coach, proven walk-run program and a supportive, tight-knit community, you have all the ingredients to help get you off that couch and into your running shoes for a great workout.

What helps you when you have sore quads from running? Let us know in the comments below, we would love to know!