How to Avoid Running Cramps

Ever been in your zone while running? Fresh morning air, sun peaking over the horizon”you just think: Life's good. That is until the sharp pain runs through your body. Oh here come the cramps”how frustrating!

As many as 39 percent of distance runners may experience a cramp in their muscles while running. Therefore, preventing cramps is top priority for most runners. The experts at EIRMC in Idaho Falls have complied five tips to help you avoid cramps when running:

1. Stretch your muscles.

  • The muscles most likely to cramp are those that contract. Stretch your calves, hamstrings, quads, and hips.

2. Drink up!

One reason cramping happens is the loss of fluids in your muscles.

  • Water is the best way to hydrate your body. However, if your workout is running like you're in the Grand Teton Relay, you should consider a sports drink to replace salt and electrolytes.
  • Try this: For every 20 minutes that you run, try to drink between 5 and 12 ounces of fluid. Also, 4 to 8 ounces before you run and when you finish.
  • Just remember, the more you hydrate your body, the less likely you'll get those dreaded running cramps.

3. Choose the right time of day to run”avoid heat and humidity.

  • The hotter it is the quicker your body will burn through fluids”and as we mentioned above, hydration is key to decrease the risk of cramping.

4. Proper running shoes will only help.

  • Shoes that aren't fitted right can cause major problems. Wrong shoes can create unneeded stress on your muscles and tendons. That stress can increase cramping while you run.

5. Your diet can make a difference!

  • Soda, especially those with caffeine, can dehydrate your muscles.
  • Bananas are good! They help to prevent cramping.
  • Refrain from eating within 4 or 5 hours before a run.
  • Eat plenty of carbohydrates the night before.

So, the next time you get out for your run, keep in mind that only YOU can prevent cramps!