Muscle cramping is an issue most athletes face at least once in their career and unfortunately it tends to occur at the most inconvenient time, such as while racing. Although the exact cause of cramping in unknown, it is believed there a numerous reasons why you can cramp, including tight, inflexible muscles, over exertion, not warming up or cooling down correctly, poor nutrition, muscle fatigue, muscle injury, excessive perspiration, dehydration and decreased blood supply.
So what are the things you can do to help reduce the chance of cramping?
-incorporate regular stretching into your training
-have regular massages and/or use the foam roller often
-drink adequate water and electrolytes
-train to the conditions you will be racing in
-improve the strength and condition of your muscles
-train to how you will be racing, don’t increase your output on the day
-be cautious when increasing speed or intensity while racing
-have adequate nutrition, before during and after training and racing
-warm up and cool down thoroughly
-eat easily digested food
Although none of this can guarantee you won’t cramp, the likelihood of cramping will be much less likely if you keep on top of everything listed above.
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