The 5 Most Effective Ways to Avoid Cramping While Running

Jeremy Colon
· 4 min read
Picture Credit: Pexel

In light of the breezy and relaxing weather, FALL RUNNING is officially in. Running is a great low-impact cardiovascular exercise that when executed right and done moderately can really get you back into shape or help you maintain. I should know having done two marathons and going through a complete whole-body transformation. You don’t have to be the fastest or leanest to get into running, you just have TO START to be GREAT over time!

Now that I got your attention, let’s dive into the antithesis of running which is… CRAMPS and how to avoid them. Here are the five most effective ways to reduce your chances of getting cramps while getting into the groove of running.

Before getting into the nitty-gritty details, here are some important guidelines to remember and be conscious of when running:

  • When going on a run, it’s important to stay hydrated if you want to avoid muscle cramps.
  • Stretching before you run can also help you warm up and decrease cramping.
  • When it comes to preventing muscle cramps, monitoring your breathing is helpful and to make sure you’re not breathing too deeply.

Whether you’re competing in a marathon or just going for a short jog before/after work, getting a cramp is always something runners pray never happen to them.

From a side stitch in your abdominal area to a Charley horse in your calf, cramping up can force you to start walking, come to a screeching halt and just overall, ruin your run.

Now, here are five ways to help stop cramps from getting in between you and your next run or race.

1. Feed Me Electrolytes.

Aside from always staying hydrated to relieve headaches and improve athletic abilities, you want to make sure you’re getting your electrolytes. Electrolytes are ions in the body that conduct electricity and they’re important for a wide range of body functions, including athletic performance. When your body isn’t given enough electrolytes it can cause muscle weakness and excessive contraction and cramping of muscles, according to Medical Daily News.

The body’s main electrolytes include potassium, sodium, chloride, calcium, and magnesium. Eating a diet rich in those nutrients, including bananas, pickles, kale, and yogurt, will help ensure a proper electrolyte balance.

2. Don’t Eat Too Soon Before a Run

Eating a meal right before you plan to sit on the couch and watch a movie is a great idea. But doing the same minutes before a run doesn’t fly. Experts advise against drinking large amounts of water or eating within two hours of a run. A 2005 study in the Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport found that runners who consumed a large amount of food relative to their body weight one to two hours before a race were more likely to develop symptoms exercise-related transient abdominal pain, also known as a side stitch.

3. Track What You Eat and See How it Affects You

If you keep a food log for about a week, you can learn a lot about yourself and your body, including which foods make you flighty, bloated, and why you feel more tired on certain days and what might be causing you to cramp up while running.

According to Active.com, runners should try to keep a log for a full week that details what you eat and drink, how long before a run you eat or drink and how you feel during your runs. This will help you determine which habits will work best for your exercise.

4. Pace yourself.

If you have ever run competitively, you know that you should never start a run or a race all out too fast. For starters, if you go out too fast you will most likely crash and burn. But you are also putting yourself in jeopardy of a muscle cramp.

A 2010 study in the British Journal of Sports Medicine found that runners who ran at a faster pace at the start of their race were more likely to develop exercise-associated muscle cramping.

To try and reduce your chances of getting a muscle cramp, start by running slowly and settle into your goal pace as you go.

5. Practice some jumping drills.

Repeatedly hitting the pavement and running more will surely make you a better runner, but so will adding some jumping and skipping drills known as plyometrics.

Plyometric drills are training exercises that are proven to help improve athletic performance, and they’re also believed to delay muscle fatigue and therefore muscle cramping.

When you add some plyometric drills to your training — such as box jumping or jumping lunges — it will help relieve tight muscles, improve coordination between your muscles and nerves to avoid cramping and make your muscles stronger overall, according to Runner’s World.

Thank You for reading and many more articles to come!

getHealthy

Gradual change approach toward getting healthy, with personal weight loss stories, thoughts on diet, diabetes, chronic pain, high blood pressure, coping with debilitating conditions, sleep apnea, meditation, and healthy food choices.

Jeremy Colon

Written by

Kidney Donor, Personal Trainer, Life Coach, Marathoner, Founder of Jeremy Colon Enterprises/Second Chance Fitness, and Floor Seats Marketing.

getHealthy

Gradual change approach toward getting healthy, with personal weight loss stories, thoughts on diet, diabetes, chronic pain, high blood pressure, coping with debilitating conditions, sleep apnea, meditation, and healthy food choices.

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