DOMS / muscle pain for a week after all-out running sprints

Hi everyone,
Long time reader, first time poster here. Please direct me to how I do things right around here if I make any newcomer mistakes :slight_smile:
I tried searching the forum (and the web) for this, but came up with nothing quite describing the same experience or solving my problem, but if you have any resources that might fit I’d be glad for any pointers :slight_smile:

My questions are:
Does somebody else here experience what I describe and how do you deal with it?
Is an all out sprint really an all out sprint for those of you following the tri plans / how do you pace those sprint interval runs?

Here goes: I do triathlon half IM, did MV first and switched to LV now. The base phase in those plans has me do run sprint workouts with 20-30s at RPE 9 or 10 with more than 1 minute rest and ~8 repeats of this on a regular basis. Every time I do one of those all out hill reps or sprints, I have pain in my quadriceps (rectus femoris part) and/or sartorius muscle. This then lasts for anything between 3 to 8 days and feels like the muscles are really hard and painful to massage, much more (and different) soreness than regular DOMS I would get after going too hard on the weighted squats during strength training. I assume it is a very severe form of DOMS, especially since nothing really helps except for waiting until it goes away and even light running or cycling makes it worse or the recovery slower. Obviously, this limits my adherence to the plans. Am I the only one who experiences this? If not, how do/did you deal with it?

My interpretation of an RPE 10 sprint is go as hard and fast as I can while retaining form. However, that reproducibly causes the problem described above. Do I interpret RPE 10 wrong? I could not hold the same speed I do for those 20-30s intervals for any longer than maybe 40s, so it really is all out, but maybe it is too fast? I can do the required repeats, can do 8 of those fine at the same pace, the problem always comes afterwards or the next day.
How do other people here choose your pace for such efforts? Usually I stick to the paces from Jack Daniels’ vo2dot calculator, but if it says RPE 10 sprint, those are not part of Jack Daniels’ suggestions. To make it clearer, here are my target speeds and this is the calculator I’m referring to:
input: 5k in 20:01 mins (I know. I’ll get there, hopefully soon :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes: ).
Pace table:
Easy: 05:08 - 05:39 per km or 08:16 - 09:06 per mile
Threshold: 04:16 per km or 06:52 per mile
Interval: 03:56 per km or 06:19 per mile
Repetition: 03:41 per km or 05:55 per mile
The vo2dot android app also adds the category Fast Repetition that places me at around 3:30 per km / 5:40 per mile.
My all out RPE 10 sprints in the flat would land me at about 2:40-2:50 per km or ~4:20 per mile, which is obviously a lot faster than the fastest category that Jack Daniels recommends.

My next step is that I will try to restart the half IM LV base plan with the RPE 10 sprints at ~3:30/km, even though that doesn’t feel anywhere close to all out if I only do it for 30s and 8 times with 1-3 minutes rest in between. But I hope this will be the minimal effective dose needed to achieve the aims of the workouts. Any thoughts on this?

Any thoughts would be really appreciated!
Will update my results from the strategy described.


I would take a rest week and walk for active recovery. It sounds like you are training to hard at the moment. If you are also strength training, I would stop that as well for a week. Then when you return to strength training reduce the weight.