BLISTERS. To avoid blisters use Surgical spirit rubbed into your feet up to 10 days before a race can help prevent blisters or use Vaseline to reduce friction in the week before the marathon.
This may stop any slight rubbing that could cause discomfort early on in the marathon.
CRAMPING during exercise can be for many reasons years ago it was thought years ago it was because of dehydration including electrolyte imbalance. The following factors can contribute to leg cramps
1. Many years of running (possibly due to tight muscles)
2. Advanced Age
3. High body mass index.
4. Worn shoes or shoes not suitable for your running style.
5. Little stretching or poor technique or stretching before correctly warming up.
6. Fatigue alters the neurological messages controlling muscle contraction especially common in older athletes.
7. Dehydration- electrolyte and mineral deficiency unbalance. Electrolytes carry the electric charges required for a muscle to contract or relax.
8. Diet can also be a contributory factor lacking from food you require.
CALCIUM can be absorbed from Dark Leafy Vegetables Milk Peas Salmon Shrimp Yoghurt, Soy beans) Magnesium can be obtained from Apricots Nuts Whole grains.
POTASSIUM is in Avocado, Bananas, Baked Potatoes, Beef, Fruits, Grapefruits, Milk, Oranges, Raisins, and Vegetables) (Avocado Baked Potatoes Bananas Beef Fish Fruits Grapefruits Honey Dew Melon Milk Oranges Raisins and vegetables and salt are all required.
SALT is added to most foods we eat so it is doubtful if we are short of this in our diet. Bananas contain Potassium and can help prevent cramp they need to be eaten at least 3 hours before an event. The darker the banana the sweeter they are and this energy is converted quicker although the banana will be more acidic.
9. Training on hills or running up stairs.
10. Too much carbohydrate drink and little electrolyte, for events less than 75 minutes try an electrolyte drink instead or mix it with 1-3% carbohydrate.
If you just drink plain water before an event this can also lead to cramping caused by a condition known as hyponatremia-low sodium levels.
11. Poor posture or biomechanics which can be altered by weight training or doing something beforehand such as permanently office bound driving cycling before running or running before cycling.
Preventive measures. Very tight muscles due to years of running can only be cured if you stretch regularly. Recovery sessions on soft surfaces may help tight muscles from the pounding on hard road surfaces. As we age our style changes and this can contribute to a different gait. Do you need to change your shoes more regularly or completely change your type of running shoe or have your shoes worn out? Have you reduced the amount of stretching you do?
Do you stretch properly?
OVER TRAINING or over reaching training too hard too soon can lead to cramping. Running up stairs or hills not properly warmed up can also result in cramping later in a run.
During a warm up fast strides also have been thought to cause cramping. Worn out shoes or the wrong type of shoe can cause tightness and cramping.
Magnesium Phosphate or a product called Lava Salts has been used to reduce cramp in the Ironman Triathlon.
STRETCHING- It can take 60 seconds to complete a full correct stretch for each muscles so taking 2 minutes to complete 5 different stretches is not recommended. Stretching bear foot can help you lengthen the muscles correctly. Stretching should aim to lengthen slowly without any pain and certainly no bouncing or forcing a stretch.
Release the cramp. To relieve a cramped muscles slowly and gently stretch the tightness. Hold the tight muscles in a stretched position usually less then normal DO NOT fight the cramped area until it relaxes. Once the area has improved by more than 50% massage the area. Things to do include standing walking slowly or pulling your toes towards the knee can be all that is needed to gain relief.
Heat while icing may help then ice the area NEVER ice an area then try to stretch it.
Cramping every time you run or race then it is suggested you see your doctor, as this may be a medical condition outside the information about cramping.
Stretch the soleus a stretch often not done. To stretch the soleus by standing flat-footed bend at the ankle and move your torso back so that you are also bending at the knee.
Start with 10 seconds increasing until you are able to complete the stretch for 60 seconds.
You can do this stretch without leaning against anything make sure your balance is correct by placing the non-stretch leg forward.
CRAMPED MUSCLES- Cramping is a spasm and is very painful and will stop you immediately.
Muscles contract fully or relax so a cramped muscle is trying to relax so stretching it can cause it to tear muscles fibres.
If you continue to run on a muscles that has tightened you risk alternative injury because you will then over compensate.
Cramping can occur in the summer or if you are over dressed when it is cooler then sweating happens as your salt balance becomes low.
PREVENTION- Stretch correctly if unsure seek expert advice and stretch muscles liable to cramping especially its opposite antagonistic muscle.
HYDRATE regularly from 3 hours before a training or competition, during if possible and afterwards.
Have an electrolyte drink ready should you believe that cramping might occur.
TREATMENT- Stop slowly and stretch cramping area and hydrate. Injury prevention.
Erratic training patterns help overload and with adequate rest improvement will occur ie. Going long then resting but injury risks are high, so it is important to train and not strain at the end of long sessions. Remember consistent training is better than risking injury and having time off. Injuries re-occur and loss of training time repeats itself time and time again.
Economy is nearly always overlooked, yet improvement by as much as 8 % can occur which helps in that sport and into the next event as well.
HAMSTRINGS- sitting down for long periods of time can cause tight hamstrings.
Get up & go for a walk and stretch regularly at least every 20 minutes, or if driving to an event stop and have a 2 minute break after 60 minutes, plan this into your journey time, it will make all the difference. It's not a race to get to the event it’s a race when you get there. When stretching your hamstrings (muscle at the back of the leg) a suggestion is to keep both feet in the same position when doing alternative stretching otherwise any subtle difference will change the stretch on that leg and result in a muscle imbalance.
TOE NAILS(Black) Buy cycling & running shoes that are a snug fit if they are loose your toes will bang back and forwards causing nails to blacken.
Use your thumbnail in between the end of the shoe and your longest toe.
Sometimes runners have reported sore toes from the ridge of some brands of socks so choose seamless socks.
Buy training and racing shoes at the end of the day when your feet have expanded, if they feel comfortable in tired hot feet then they should be ideal for wearing when exercising. In an emergency out in the wilds use large fresh leaves between toes or discarded sheep’s wool everyone’s feet expand at a different amount when exercising so also take this into consideration. Some people paint their toenails a dark colour to hide back nails.
STRETCHING is done after the muscle has been warm up with easy exercise to stop shortening caused by training.
Tight muscles can put a strain on the joints and the body putting you out of alignment resulting in pain in the lower back, hips and knees.
The purpose of a stretch is to elongate the muscle to lengthen it.
Stretching should always be slow smooth and long and definitely no bouncing and the muscle should be warm up by gentle exercise first.
Hold the muscle taut but only at 50% and focus on the stretch to see if it is tighter than normal. If you feel the muscle is ok then full stretching should be done.
Stretch at only 80% for 5 seconds; release the tension for the count of 10 then stretch further for 15-30 seconds. This should be built up over time and remember to breath slowly. If you feel tight or inflexible that’s fine today is an important day to stretch. Imagine you are a cat stretching nice and slow.
SMOKING- According to ASH half of UK smokers die from smoking related aliments.
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