Useful Tips

How to avoid muscle cramps while running


Colic while running attacked suddenly - a sharp, stitching pain that interferes with training. The causes of colic during running are not fully understood, and there are few ways to combat colic. How to deal with the attack of pain during training.

Colic while running - causes

The causes of a colic attack during running are not clearly defined: they are formed by a combination of diaphragm spasms, electrolyte regrouping within the intestines, weakness of the muscles supporting the diaphragm, inadequate blood supply to the diaphragm, improper nutrition, and outflow of blood to the stomach.

During running, especially shortly after eating, overstrain mesentery (folds of the peritoneum on the back wall, on which the abdominal organs are attached), which causes a spasm of the smooth muscles of the intestine. This is the cause of colic.

The pain is localized in the left hypochondrium, because a muscle spasm pushes blood from the intestine to the spleen. As a result, it increases in volume and painfully pulls the spleen bag.

Ways to get rid of colic while running

To avoid colic while running, wait with the start of the workout after eating - this is a very individual matter - for someone half an hour is enough, and someone will have to wait three hours.

In addition, exercises to strengthen the abdominal muscles and diaphragm should be introduced into the number of daily workouts, which will certainly limit the occurrence of colic attacks during running.

Colic while running - what to do

If you have already started colic attack while runningthen:

  • never sit down and crouch
  • work with the diaphragm by pulling and protruding the stomach
  • lower and put your right hand on your stomach, right on your ribs and press the place of pain with your fingers
  • stop, inhale and tilt, exhale in a few seconds - do a few repetitions
  • stop, raise your right hand and bend to the left side, hold for a few seconds and repeat the other way

Make sure you moisturize properly

Muscle cramps are often the result of dehydration, so it is important to make sure that you moisturize your skin properly before, during and after jogging.

Before starting: One hour before your run, try drinking 16 to 24 ounces of water or other decaffeinated liquid. Stop drinking at this point so that you can discard excess fluids and avoid stopping to go to the bathroom while jogging. To make sure you feel hydrated before you start running, you can drink another 4 to 8 ounces right before you start. If you are doing a long run or race (such as a marathon), you can take a “salt shot” before you start running to get extra salt. Take a bag of salt, drop it in your hand and follow it with water.

During launches: General rule of thumb for fluid intake while jogging: while jogging, you should take 6 to 8 ounces of fluid every 20 minutes. During longer runs (90 minutes or more), part of your fluid intake should include a sports drink (such as Gatorade) to replace sodium and other minerals (electrolytes) lost by sweat. You can also take another shot in the middle of a run. Muscle spasms often occur as a result of electrolyte imbalance, so it is very important to replace electrolytes.

After launches: Remember to moisturize with water or a sports drink after a run. If you have dark yellow urine after a run, you need to continue to moisturize it. It should be a light lemonade color.

Do not forget to warm up and stretch

With proper warm-up, before the start of the run, blood flows to the muscles and helps prevent leg cramps. Warm up by jogging slowly for 10 minutes and performing some warm-up exercises, such as butt kicks, jumping jacks, or high knees. Perform static stretching, during which you hold stretch marks for 30-60 seconds after the end of the run.

Did you start too fast?

Another possible cause of muscle cramps at the end of long runs or races is because you simply exited too quickly. Here are some ways to avoid excessive acceleration at the beginning, burn through the stored energy and hit the wall:

  • Deliberately running your first mile slower than you plan to run the last. This is difficult to do, because in the beginning you will most likely feel really strong. But keep in mind that for every second when you go too fast in the first half of your race, you can lose twice as much time in the second half of your race.
  • Try to make sure that you are in the right starting position. Do not start with faster runners, because you will most likely try to keep up with them.
  • Start the race at a convenient pace and check your watch at the first mile mark. If you are ahead of your expected pace, slow down. It's not too late to make adjustments to the pace in just one mile.
  • Keep telling yourself that many other runners will walk you in the first mile. But you will go much later in the race.
  • Train to start slowly during training races. When you do your long runs every week, try to hold back for the first few miles to get used to the discipline of not going out too fast.

Regular massages can help.

Going for sports massage is a good way to treat soreness, which often develops as a result of muscle cramps. Regular massage also helps keep your muscles in optimal shape, significantly reducing your chances of muscle cramps while jogging. You can also use massage tools, such as a foam roll, for self-massage at home. Make sure you also stretch after a run to reduce tension.

Muscle imbalance

Back cramps often occur when muscles are unbalanced, causing your spine to go out of its natural alignment. If one muscle is strong and the opposite muscle is weak, it causes an imbalance that can affect posture. For example, if your quad muscle is much stronger than your notched muscles, your pelvis leans forward rather than sitting directly in spinal alignment, a condition called anterior pelvic tilt. This puts significant pressure on the lower back, which leads to cramping.

Core strength

Your main muscles are made up of the abdominal cavity, oblique, quadriceps, buttocks, back muscles and hamstrings, or basically every muscle involved in the stabilization of the spine. If your core muscles are weak, your spine is not supported. The National Association for Strength and Conditioning recommends supplementing your running program with basic reinforcement exercises such as planks, notched bridges, back squats, and rear extension cords.

Cramps in the back can be the result of imbalances in the legs, such as high or low arches, which cause the foot to lame or delay. When this happens, your ankles, knees and lower back are affected. Look at the orthopedist or go to your local store and ask for a walk to prevent leg problems. You may need additional arch or insole support for your crosses. Your shoes can be worn and no longer provide adequate support. The American Academy of Pediatric Sports Medicine suggests replacing your running shoes every 350-550 miles.


The best way to prevent back cramps is to solve the problem before it begins. Change the intensity of your runs. Mix short tracks with long tracks and an intersection to prevent overuse injuries. If you work on cement or on a hard surface, switch to grass, sod or track for better cushioning. Stretch your hamstrings, ATVs, calves and back daily to maintain proper range of motion and prevent muscle imbalances. Supplement your routine with upper and lower body workouts to maintain strong muscles.

Since inflammation of the spine causes cramping, Dr. Robert Watkins of the Association of Professional Doctors of the team recommends taking an anti-inflammatory drug, rather than relaxing muscles. Throw back, but do not limit yourself to a bed, which can worsen the condition. Try to stay active. Lady your back. If you continue to have cramping, talk with your doctor about the appropriate treatment.

What are cramps?

Muscle cramps are painful spasmodic involuntary contractions of skeletal muscles during or immediately after exercise. Most often, those involved in endurance sports suffer from them.

Here are the cases in which the risk of seizures increases:

  • if they have happened before, that is, you are prone to them
  • at unusually high load intensity
  • when the load lasts longer than usual
  • at high air temperature and humidity.

Why do they occur

Studying the causes of seizures is not so simple - they happen unpredictably and cannot be modeled. It remains only to analyze the stories of the victims about how and when this happened.

Here are a few basic theories of sports medicine about the causes of muscle cramps.

The first theory believes that leads to them exhaustion of electrolytes. Losses of sodium, potassium and magnesium with sweat lead to involuntary muscle contractions.

However, electrolytes are exhausted throughout the body, and cramps occur only in certain muscles - those that contract most. In addition, even if you restore the electrolyte balance during the race, this does not guarantee the absence of convulsions.

In 1997, another theory appeared that the cause of seizures could be changes in neuromuscular control. Repeated muscle overload depletes it. Muscle fibers become too sensitive to nervous excitement, and its inhibition from the so-called Golgi tendon organ weakens.

The Golgi tendon is a proprioceptor, that is, a receptor for the position and sensation of the body. It is located in the tendon and transmits information about muscle tension. When the tension is too great, for example, we lift a lot of weight, then through a reflex arc the muscle contraction is inhibited - so as not to damage it.

But with depletion from the load, for example, during a race, the Golgi tendon organ performs its function worse. So spasms appear, which normally should have been slowed down.

This theory was formulated based on animal experiments and human observations. It is also confirmed by the fact that muscle and tendon stretching inhibits contraction and cramp. Studies have also shown the effectiveness of electrical stimulation of the tendon.

It is also believed that seizures contribute to high humidity and air temperature, so in these conditions there is a higher risk of dehydration and loss of salts. Such data were obtained as a result of a study conducted by miners.

Is it possible to prevent them

Unfortunately, we did not find a universal recommendation that would 100% guarantee the absence of seizures. There may probably be several reasons for this condition, so there is no general solution.

Here are some tips for preventing seizures from various sources.

General recommendations: do massage, stretching, warming up, observe the water regime.

In hot weather restore the water-salt balance with drinks with minerals, isotonics and even brine.

Work on your running technique. When one of the muscles is weaker and does not work properly, the load is redistributed to the others. They have to work more, and overwork comes earlier. Therefore, the correct position of the body while running, as well as balanced and well-stretched muscles and tendons should reduce the likelihood of cramps.

Get used to the competitive pace and duration during training. Unusually high speed or duration of the load increases the risk of seizures. Therefore, it is worth getting used to them in advance. Or run at competitions at your usual pace.