Which activity leaves you more sore, running a marathon or doing a workout consisting of a lot of squats and lunges? In general, I would say that the marathon will leave you more sore. A full workout of squats, lunges, rows, pushups, and swiss ball crunches can be accomplished in a mere 20 minutes; 30 minutes, if you count the warm up ahead of time. A marathon workout will take at least 2 hours and in most case more than 3 or 4 hours. In my experience, and I imagine in the experience of most of the people who run marathons who might also have done a workout involving squats and lunges, the marathon will hurt more.

What about when the workout with squats and lunges comes shortly after your marathon, though? What if the marathon did not hurt at all, and you were only mildly sore afterwards? Would the weight workout hurt more? How would it compare to the exact same workout done before the marathon?

In my (recent) experience, the squats and lunges left me a lot more sore than the marathon did. The weights before the marathon were merely enough to keep my conditioning in place and did not really stress my body very much. Doing the exact same workout (including the same weights) a bit after the marathon, though, was much tougher. The workout began with squats, followed by a superset of lunges and rows. Between the first and second set of the lunges and rows, my hamstrings were extremely tight and starting the next set of lunges was very difficult. After the first few lunges, though, my hamstrings had stretched out again and I was not too bad off for the rest of the workout. I was a bit sore that evening and the next day though; more so than after the marathon itself.

So let this be a lesson. I have talked about it before (marathon recovery is not instantaneous), but an illustration of the fact never hurts. It is sort of like a public service announcement, but with a lot more rambling.