PNG Ambassador and elite endurance trainer John Wessling gives you the run down on how to perform better and not cramp when running.
Cramping and running go together like Peanut Butter and Jelly. Some days you’ll have side cramps, some days you’ll have calf cramps. Preparing yourself to avoid those cramps can be the difference between an enjoyable workout and one you’d rather forget, but the preparation for your workouts start well before you step out of the door.
Side cramps are mostly caused from not breathing deep enough and not utilizing the entire capacity of your lungs. To avoid side cramps focus on deep breathes in through your nose, and breathe out of your mouth. Especially the first five minutes of your run, make deep breathes a priority. If you plan on running fast, give yourself a solid 5-15 minutes to get warmed up and going. To jump into a run at maximal effort right away is an easy way to feel a bit off; that would be like starting your car on a cold morning and putting the pedal to the metal.
Muscle cramps can also be due to breathing, but will most likely be caused by your diet and hydration. To avoid muscle cramps stay hydrated and eat well before you run. 16-20 ounces is recommended up to 45 minutes before a run, and eating 2-3 hours before your run is usually best. You will also want to give your body 5-15 minutes of easy running to get warmed up if you’re planning on running fast! When you eat and hydrate in excess too close to your workout, you will up your chances of having cramps. If you’re running early in the morning, try eating something easy on your stomach like a banana before the workout.
When you tie in all factors of your lifestyle and running preparation, the best way to guarantee a quality workout is making sure you are getting 7-9 hours of sleep each night, eating plenty of fruits and veggies during the day, hydrating with proper electrolytes like PNG (all day, not just before or during the run), stretching well after your runs, and taking care of your body will all play a big factor in getting the most out of yourself. The more consistent you can be with your training, the more you can improve and feel better while training. No matter how fast or how slow you’re going, you are doing it right. Get outside and get active!
If you have any other questions regarding running, cramps, or training in general, feel free to email me at WesslingFitness@gmail.com.
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