Avoid the dreaded cramps and muscle strains that plague so many runners on race day! Follow these simple steps to help minimise the effects of running.
The ultimate prevention is being as fit as you possibly can before race day. So start your training regime as early as you can, building up to a level comparable with how you want to perform on the day.
Stretching before running may be a way to get your muscles ready. Gentle sustained stretches and some light dynamic exercise (e.g. jogging) before the race helps to warm up your body. Make sure you address the key muscles – calves, quads and hamstrings.
Maintain a good diet while you train in the lead up to your race. This involves foods rich in minerals such as sodium and potassium for your nerves, and calcium and magnesium for muscle health. In the days prior to the race, carbohydrate loading can help to build up your energy reserves.
There isn’t solid research to prove that dehydration causes cramps, but it’s still important to maintain a reasonable fluid intake before and during exercise. Electrolyte drinks are a great option to keep your body in a hydrated state.
Cramps can often be avoided, but if they really set in they can end your day early. If you get cramps while you run, the best remedy is to address them before they get too bad. Stop running and bow down or stretch if necessary.
Head into your local Core Physio practice after the race to give your muscles the best recovery and address any injuries you may have sustained.