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What are your techniques for preventing cramps?

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  • What are your techniques for preventing cramps?

    Recently changed my routine for running. As of right now my routine is in 3 different runs, 1.5 mile easy run, 3-4 mile long run, and then a 1.5 mile timed run. With my longer run ive been getting cramps every now and then and im usually pretty good at following the rules like not eating before running, stretching, and having some hydration before running. Is there anything else I can do to prevent this? Thanks guys.

  • #2
    Originally posted by thepizzle44 View Post
    Recently changed my routine for running. As of right now my routine is in 3 different runs, 1.5 mile easy run, 3-4 mile long run, and then a 1.5 mile timed run. With my longer run ive been getting cramps every now and then and im usually pretty good at following the rules like not eating before running, stretching, and having some hydration before running. Is there anything else I can do to prevent this? Thanks guys.
    First up, your long run is a bit too long compared to your weekly mileage. A long run that is 50% of your weekly mileage is the absolute MAX. So based on your posted schedule you're running between 50 and 60% of your weekly mileage in one run. You'd be further ahead to do one of the following: bump up your easy run (to 2 or 2.5), put in another easy run or two into your schedule, or keep your long run to 3 miles. Ok, that's my rant on mileage.

    Question, what kind of cramps are you getting? Different kind of cramps have different answers.
    Originally posted by kontemplerande
    Without Germany, you would not have won World War 2.

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    • #3
      They are under my right rib. Pretty common area for runners for what I hear.

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      • #4
        I get cramps under my rib when I am dehydrated. I try to drink more water the day before my run, seems to help. When I eat junk food before a run, oh my god. Let's just say I am glad the park has port-a-pottys in several locations! I've had some photo finishes.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by thepizzle44 View Post
          They are under my right rib. Pretty common area for runners for what I hear.
          Two major causes to that kind of "cramp". Those are dehydration and improper air movement.

          What you're feeling is a diaphragm quiver. The right lung is bigger than the left lung and takes in more air. When you start breathing too hard, the diaphragm gets out of sync with your breathing causing it to quiver which feels like a cramp around your liver. The cure is to slow down, take slow, metered deep breathes until it passes. This is a good time for a four count in and four count out. Also, standing upright with your arms above your head will help "stretch" the diaphragm back into place.

          Now for the actual cause of this pain: you're running too fast for your long run. I'm guessing that you're running your long run at a pace that's not far off from you're timed run. The long run should be run at nearly 2 minutes slower per mile than your timed (tempo) pace. In other words, if you run a tempo run at an 8:00/mile pace, you should run your long run at around a 10:00/mile pace. I know it sounds counter-intuitive to run slower to get faster, but trust me, it works.

          Lastly, let me address dehydration. Its not what you drink today that will impact your run, but what you drank yesterday. Drink enough water so that your urine comes out nearly clear. I know that sounds weird but that is the best and quickest gauge to how your doing. If your urine is yellow to dark yellow, you're dehydrated. (Side note: some vitamins will cause your urine to almost glow yellow. That's ok). Sports drinks are handy, especially after exercise to help keep your electrolytes in balance (which is the real cause of cramping due to dehydration.)

          Another short rant here if I may. If you drink caffeinated beverages, be sure to drink at least an equivalent amount of water following your drink. So if you drink a 20 ounce Mountain Dew, drink at least 20 ounces of water. Most caffeinated beverages are negative hydrators meaning they tend to suck more water out of you than they're putting in. (Caffeine is a diuretic.) Don't think I'm saying to cut out caffeine because I'm not. Just don't make the mistake of thinking that slamming down that Diet Coke will hydrate you.
          Originally posted by kontemplerande
          Without Germany, you would not have won World War 2.

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          • #6
            Awesome thanks for the tips guys. Ill try some of these things out, hopefully they help.

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            • #7
              A couple tips I learned throughout my Academy in Miami (where it is scolding hot). Pedialyte is amazing and it works. Its made for babies and a tad bit expensive, but get the powdered packets, pour it in your water the night before and drink up before bed. I also got into coconut water. I would have a scoop of peanut butter for breakfast and drink my coconut water on my way to the academy the mornings I had PT or DT. Coconut water has the equivalent potassium content of 2 bananas and gives you enough energy to run all morning. There is nothing worse then catching a cramp when you are only half way done with your PT run. Good luck buddy.

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              • #8
                I get leg cramps sometimes during pt, but I thinks it's due to my muscles being chronically tight. I need to stretch more often. Definitely not dehydration. I drink at least 1.5 gallons a day.
                "No one can make you feel like a turd without your permission." - Eleanor Roosevelt.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by LeoRespect View Post
                  A couple tips I learned throughout my Academy in Miami (where it is scolding hot). Pedialyte is amazing and it works. Its made for babies and a tad bit expensive, but get the powdered packets, pour it in your water the night before and drink up before bed. I also got into coconut water. I would have a scoop of peanut butter for breakfast and drink my coconut water on my way to the academy the mornings I had PT or DT. Coconut water has the equivalent potassium content of 2 bananas and gives you enough energy to run all morning. There is nothing worse then catching a cramp when you are only half way done with your PT run. Good luck buddy.
                  Good to know. I'll have to look into both of these options. My next long run should be on wednesday after class so i'll see how everything goes. Thanks guys.

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