When it comes to preventing cramps in marathons, you first need to understand and know the cause. Some runners get cramps if they’ve eaten too close to running. Also, running harder or faster than you’re accustomed to, in hot weather, can cause cramping.
Avoid heat cramps. These are caused by loss of water and salt from sweat that isn’t replaced, especially during exercise in hot, humid weather.
Watch your shoes. Shoes that are too inflexible in the ball of the foot or too tight in the forefoot can cause cramping.
Stretch. Make sure the leg muscles, especially the hamstrings, are kept flexible by stretching.
Watch your diet. Cramps may be a sign of a dietary deficiency in potassium, sodium, calcium or magnesium.
Don’t compare yourself with others. Some runners are simply more prone to cramp than others.
Take it easy. If you develop a leg cramp, slow down or stop running. Massage and slowly stretch and relax the involved muscle.
Lean over and press in at the site of a stomach cramp. You can also try raising your arm(s) up high to stretch out the area.
Relax and breathe. Don’t continually suck in air, which can cause cramping in the diaphragm. If this is your problem, focus on pushing air out through your mouth every few breaths.
If you have any condition that would impair or limit your ability to engage in physical activity, please consult a physician before attempting this activity. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment.
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