Why do I get cramps when running?
It is not unusual for runners to cramp whilst running. These cramps may occur in the side, the stomach or in the muscles of the leg. While there are many factors that can lead to the onset of cramping, the consensus is that shallow breathing, dehydration, electrolyte imbalance and exhaustion are the main causes.
How do I stop cramping up when running?
- Stay Hydrated!
It is very important to stay hydrated. Cramping often occurs when there is not enough fluid in your system, or if you are sweating out most of it during a run. Ideally you should be hydrating 45 minutes before you run, however if it is a long run or a hot day, make sure you rehydrate during your run as well to keep your fluid levels balanced.
- Don’t Forget Your Electrolytes
While your body will sweat out water while you run, it will also lose many electrolytes that are used in muscle contraction. Simple carbohydrates like fruit are easy to digest and provide good levels of electrolytes for the body to use as well as energy to keep you going for longer! Remember to eat about an hour before you go running to give your body time to absorb these nutrients.
- Breathing, Are You Doing It Wrong?
If you are shallow breathing during your run, you will not be maximising the oxygen your muscles need to use when working hard. Muscles that are starved of oxygen will fatigue quickly and cramp as they do not have the energy to allow the muscle to lengthen.
When running, breathe deeply. Slow it down and try to breathe through the base of your lunges while keeping your shoulders relaxed. It may help to do some practice beforehand by placing your hand on your stomach, and feeling your stomach rise and fall as you breathe slowly in and out.
- Try Not to Peak to Early
Fatigue is another common factor in cramps. If your muscles are burning oxygen faster than your body can replace it then they will cramp as mentioned above. Make sure you start slowly for the first 10 minutes to warm up into your run. This will allow you to get your breathing patterns sorted while not burning off too much of your stored muscle energy.
If you are having problems with cramping, one of our friendly team at Sydney Physio Solutions can easily help. Call now on 92525770 to sort out what can be a frustrating issue that limits performance and can lead to injury.