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Cramps during running cause pain, discomfort and frustration. Below we share some tips to deal with them.

Running and cramps. An experience that no one wants to have, since cramps are one of the most annoying situations during training. They can force you to stop exercising for a while or – at worst – stop it temporarily.

Apart from the feeling of discomfort and pain, cramps usually also cause negative feelings , such as frustration, especially if you haven’t even managed to reach the middle of your running route.

There are a few tips that can help reduce the chances of cramping while running, and we’ve put them together below.

We do not neglect hydration

Drinking plenty of water throughout the day can work wonders on our body. Hydration can relieve us of a headache, facilitate weight loss or improve our training.

There may not be enough evidence to prove that dehydration causes or worsens cramps, but experts believe that staying well hydrated can reduce the intensity of the pain caused by a cramp.





Stretching and warming up

Light stretching is one way to relieve the pain and discomfort caused by a cramp.

Also, stretching before running is important, since it helps our body “warm up” and reduces the chances of experiencing not only cramps but also strains or injuries during running.

Of course, we don’t forget to stretch as soon as we finish our training .





How long before running should we eat?

Sometimes experts disagree as to “how many hours before running should we not eat?” . Some advise not to eat food up to two hours before exercise while others recommend a balanced meal three to four hours before training and in case of hunger, a small snack 30 to 60 minutes before the start of exercise.

However, a study published in the Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport in 2005 found that runners who consumed a large (relative to their body weight) amount of food one to two hours before a race were more likely to experience symptoms of transient abdominal pain that related to exercise.

In any case, and because every body is different, it’s important to keep a food and drink diary to see what helps or sabotages your body. That way, you’ll also be able to figure out what eating habits work best for you and your training.

To avoid cramps, keep a steady pace during your run

Regular runners know that it is not wise to start running at a fast pace. A study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine in 2010 found that runners who ran at a faster pace at the start of their race were more likely to experience exercise-related muscle cramps.

In other words, start by going slow and slowly adjust to your target pace as you run.





Some extra tips

The sports shoes we choose also play a big role in running and avoiding cramps, as well as “listening to our body” . This means that if you experience pain or fatigue during your workout, don’t hesitate to modify or skip an exercise. This can save you from an injury.

Finally, don’t neglect the importance of rest . Back-to-back workouts can cause injury and fatigue, so be sure to include rest days in your exercise program.

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