You do the right thing by going out to run to get in shape. But not long after you start, a nasty muscle cramp stops you in your tracks, cutting the run short before you can really get going. Muscle cramps are the bane of any runner’s existence. But what can a runner do to prevent cramps from popping up before they finish their run?
Cramps can do more than just mess up your daily run – it can lead to serious muscle injury. There are several reasons that a muscle can cramp up, and in the moment there may be no way to know exactly what caused these cramps. But we do know ways that could possibly help prevent them. Try these tips to avoid cramps the next time you go for a run:
1. Drink a lot of fluids
Often the main reason for muscle cramps is dehydration. You want to make sure you drink plenty of water before, during and after the run to keep yourself properly hydrated. Cramping could be caused by a loss of fluid in the muscles so drinking water or sports drinks are essential. If you plan an exceptionally long run, you should be hydrating days in advance since it takes time for the muscles to process the fluids and prevent cramping.
2. Concentrate your breathing
Cramps that strike you on your side tend to be a result of shallow breathing. If you aren’t breathing deeply from your lower lung, you will get the pain in your side as a warning to start breathing a little deeper. If your stomach is rising and falling during each breath, then that is a sign that you are breathing deep. Keep your composure while running and take it slow out of the gate while focusing on your breathing. A few good, deep breaths will help prevent cramps in your side.
3. Stretch it out:
It is important to warm your muscles and stretch before any work out to prevent injury, and stretching helps prevent cramps as well. Calves, quads, and hips tend to cramp up because they are in a constant state of contraction. Be sure to stretch out these muscles before you run to help avoid cramps. Plyometric drills after workouts can also help keep the muscles from getting tired and cramping up.
4. Change your shoes:
Running in ill-fitting sneakers puts a lot of extra strain on your legs and feet, which can lead to cramping and other injuries. Putting unnecessary stress on your muscles and tendons will increase your chances of cramping up while on a run. Be sure you have good running shoes that are not worn down to optimize your run.
Nothing stops a run prematurely like a cramp, so anything that we can do to prevent them is worth a try. Next time you are on a run and worried about cramping, consider trying these tricks. It could buy you a few extra pain-free miles.
CATEGORIES: Exercise, Health Tips, Running, Running Injuries, Runner's Cramps, Cramps