Running Aftermath: How to Deal with Post-Run Muscle Twitches

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Cross Training For Runners
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David Dack

Experiencing muscle twitches post-run? You’re in the right place.

And trust me, I’ve been there too. Imagine this: you’re basking in the post-run glow, feeling on top of the world, yet there’s an uninvited guest at your celebration—those small, but persistent muscle twitches.

But what exactly are these muscle twitches and why are they so common among runners? Essentially, these are involuntary contractions causing your muscles to flicker or pulse, often benign but impossible to ignore.

Worry no more.  In today’s article, I’ll dive into everything from the straightforward explanations to the more complex reasons behind post-run muscle twitches. I’ll also share some effective ways to soothe them and strategies to prevent their return.

Sounds intriguing? Let’s dive right in.

Understanding Muscle Twitching:

Muscle twitches after a run might have you wondering if your muscles are trying to keep the workout going without you. Known in the science world as fasciculations, these involuntary muscle contractions are more quirky than concerning.

After pushing through a tough run, don’t be surprised if your muscles start buzzing with these twitches. They can pop up in any muscle group you’ve been working hard, sometimes even putting on a visible show.

Though it’s pretty common to have a twitching session post-run, you might wonder if it’s something to worry about if it keeps happening. Typically, it’s all cool unless the twitches are crashing your sleep party, spreading out to multiple muscle bands like an uninvited tour, or if they bring along muscle weakness as their plus one. If that’s the case, chatting with a doc is your best bet.

Now, let’s break down why your muscles might be throwing these after-parties and how you can help them chill out.

Electrolyte Imbalance

Picture this: it’s a sunny day, and I’m out on a long run, pushing my limits. The miles are adding up, and I can feel the sweat pouring off me. But when I finally stop, my leg muscles start to put on a spontaneous dance performance – little twitches here and there.

I quickly realized it might be an electrolyte issue. You see, electrolytes like potassium, calcium, and magnesium are key muscle function. They control the nerve signals and muscle contractions. And if they’re out of balance, it’s like trying to play a piano with the wrong keys.

Here are some solutions to address electrolyte imbalance:

  1. Dietary Changes: Incorporate foods rich in potassium, calcium, and magnesium into your diet. Examples include bananas and avocados for potassium, dairy products and leafy greens for calcium, and nuts and seeds for magnesium. A balanced diet can help maintain proper electrolyte levels.
  2. Hydration: Proper hydration is crucial for maintaining electrolyte balance. Drink an adequate amount of water, especially after long or intense runs. In addition to water, consider electrolyte-replenishing drinks that can help restore electrolyte levels lost through sweat.


I remember a particularly hot and humid day when I decided to go for a run without paying much attention to my water intake. Big mistake. After the run, the muscle twitches kicked in, and I realized it was a hydration issue.

This should come as no surprise, but running in the sweltering heat and humidity can turn you into a sweat factory. You lose water and essential minerals, and it messes up your muscles and nerves.

To maintain proper hydration, consider the following tips:

  • Before the Run: Start hydrating well in advance of your run. Ensure you drink fluids throughout the day to stay properly hydrated.
  • During the Run: For longer runs, carry water with you or plan your route around water sources to stay hydrated during your workout.
  • Pay attention: watch out for signs like increased thirst, fatigue, dark urine, and dizziness. When those signals pop up, know it’s time to hydrate.
  • After the Run: Rehydrate by drinking water and fluids that replenish electrolytes. It’s crucial to not just quench your thirst but also ensure you’re fully rehydrated.

Muscle Fatigue and Overuse

Although muscle twitching can strike anytime, another possible cause is overtraining.

Let me explain. Running hard and heavy can lead to microscopic muscle fiber damage. As they repair and adapt, you might experience twitching – it’s like your muscles are saying, “Hey, give us a break!”

What’s more?

Muscle fatigue can mess with neural signals, causing involuntary contractions. Muscles need oxygen, and overexertion can deplete the body’s oxygen supply.

To address muscle twitching related to fatigue and overuse, consider the following solutions:

  • Rest and Recovery: Ensure you have adequate rest days between intense workouts to allow your muscles time to repair and strengthen.
  • Balanced Training: Incorporate cross-training into your routine to avoid overusing specific muscle groups. Diversifying your workouts reduces the risk of muscle twitching due to overuse.
  • Listen to Your Body: Pay attention to your body’s signals and avoid pushing yourself too hard. Gradually progress in your training to build strength and endurance without overexertion.

Tackle Poor Circulation:

Dealing with muscle twitches after your runs? It could be your body’s quirky way of saying it needs a little extra care.

Cooling down properly is key. Don’t just stop dead in your tracks after a run. Ease out of it with some light jogging or walking, followed by stretches focusing on your legs. It’s like giving your muscles a gentle goodbye hug, helping blood flow back where it needs to go.

Keep an Eye on Your Blood Sugar:

Running on an empty tank, especially in the blood sugar department, can lead to twitching. Fueling up with 30-60 grams of carbs about an hour before your run can keep things steady. If you’re going long or hard, a sports drink mid-run can be a clutch move to keep your glucose levels stable.

Fuel Smart:

Twitches can also be a nudge that you’re not feeding the machine right. Aim for a balanced plate a few hours before you head out—lean proteins, carbs, and some healthy fats. And maybe skip that pre-run spicy taco, tempting as it may be, to keep your stomach and muscles happy.

Curbing Muscle Spasms

Did you know that dodging muscle spasms is often within our control? Yep, simple things like eating right, keeping hydrated, and not pushing your muscles too hard can make a big difference. And, you’ve probably heard athletes talk about their own little hacks, like chugging Pedialyte or snacking on bananas, to keep those cramps at bay.

Schwab’s got some cool tips up his sleeve for dealing with muscle spasms, too:

  • Foam rolling: This is all about giving yourself a mini-massage to smooth out the kinks and tension in your muscles.
  • Cupping: This old-school method uses cups to suck onto your skin, aiming to get the blood flowing and muscles chillaxing.
  • Trigger release: It’s like hitting the reset button on your muscles through targeted massage spots to ease the tension.

But hey, if you’ve tried all the right moves – eating well, staying on top of your hydration game, and giving your muscles some R&R – and those spasms just won’t quit, it might be time to chat with your doc. Schwab mentions that sometimes, certain meds, like blood thinners, could be the culprits behind those nagging spasms.

When to Seek Medical Attention:

While most muscle twitching after a run is harmless, there are times when you should consult a doctor. Here are some guidelines on when to consult a doctor:

  • Persistent Symptoms: If muscle twitching continues despite taking preventive measures, it may be a good idea to consult a healthcare professional for a thorough evaluation.
  • Widespread Twitching: If twitching occurs in multiple muscle groups or significantly disrupts your daily life could signal underlying issues.
  • Muscle Weakness: If muscle twitching is accompanied by noticeable muscle weakness, it could indicate an underlying problem that requires medical assessment.
  • Disrupted Sleep: If muscle twitching affects the quality or duration of your sleep, it’s a valid reason to consider seeking medical consultation.


Ultimately, understanding the causes and prevention strategies for muscle twitching after running is essential for maintaining your well-being as a runner.

By maintaining a balanced approach to diet, hydration, training, and lifestyle, you can minimize the occurrence of post-run twitching and enjoy your runs with greater comfort and confidence.

Remember to listen to your body, and when in doubt, seek medical advice to ensure your running experience remains enjoyable and free of unnecessary concerns.

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