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There are few things worse than being in the middle of a run, whether it’s a long or short distance, and having your foot cramp up. This often requires that you stop and maybe even remove your shoe to provide relief to your sore muscles.
If you had a high level of motivation or were in the middle of a really great, efficient run, needing to stop can derail these sensations and throw you mentally and physically off track. Runners who are preparing for a 5K, half-marathon, marathon or triathlon may be worried that constant foot cramps will prohibit them from sticking to their training schedule or from being successful in crossing the finish line in the time they were working toward.
There are plenty of reasons that foot cramps occur, including chronic conditions like plantar fasciitis, shoes that are worn out or too tight, dehydration or pointing your toes too much.
Here are some methods for keeping your feet from cramping up:
Massage: A great to both alleviate and prevent foot cramps is through self massage. Using a portable massager like the Moji 360® foot massager, you can soothe and loosen tight muscles in your arches as well as release any knots that may have formed during your runs. It might also be helpful to massage your calves as well, especially if you have plantar fasciitis or Achilles tendonitis, which can contribute to foot pain and cramping.
Drink up: Dehydration can cause muscles to cramp up because they are not getting the nutrients and water they need to function properly. Before and during your run, make sure you drink plenty of fluids (water for shorter runs or sports drinks for longer ones to replenish electrolytes) to ensure that your muscles can work properly to propel you forward throughout the day’s session. Additionally, if you think you’re lacking in electrolytes, snack on a banana, spinach salad or some almonds to replenish your magnesium, potassium and calcium levels.
Stretch: Tight muscles also contribute to a higher risk of experiencing foot cramps, so be sure to spend some time during your cool down stretching. To stretch the arches of your feet, you can cross one foot over your knee, lace your fingers through your toes and pull your toes toward your calf. You can also stretch your calf muscles by standing with one heel hanging off of a step and dropping that heel until you feel a sensation in the back of your lower leg.
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Is your daily routine negatively impacted by that relentless ache in your lower back? Can you feel it throbbing for attention as you read this? You’re not alone. According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, around 80% of adults suffer from lower back pain at some point in their life.
Endurance athletes who take part in marathons, triathlons or century bike rides typically have fitness goals of strength and stamina. Your body needs to be strong enough to carry you long distances, and it needs to have the proper training in order to function for extended periods of time.
Before a race it’s crucial to plan a training program to prepare, and most of this will include running or cycling through intervals of faster and slower speeds, up and down hills and longer and shorter distances. It should also include cross training with strength exercises and core workouts such as Pilates for total body training.
Another factor that should be included in a pre-race program is athletic recovery and stretching. Whether you’re a new or seasoned endurance athlete, you’ll be putting your body through more intense challenges, which is sure to leave you with sore muscles from time to time, but it can also increase your risk of injury. To prevent getting hurt and having a setback, you need to take the proper precautions, which include stretching and massage.
A century bike ride will take you 100 miles, and it will certainly test your mental and physical prowess. This may seem like a lofty goal, but it’s certainly an achievable one that many endurance cyclists aspire to complete.
Being able to bike 100 miles requires serious commitment, dedication, planning and training. Once you decide to take part in a century ride, you need to starting working at least eight weeks beforehand to prepare your mind and body for the challenge ahead. Your training program should consist of long and short rides as well as intervals of different speeds, resistance levels, terrain and hills. It’s also a good idea to cross training with weight lifting to strengthen your muscles and exercises such as Pilates that provide stretching and improve posture.
Another key component is nutrition. Your body won’t be able to last long if it is not being fueled properly. Even slight dehydration can completely zap your energy levels and cause sore musclesand cramps. If this does happen, giving your muscles a massage can help. Additionally, eating the right amount of carbohydrates and fats is needed to fuel your muscles and provide you with the nutrients to keep you going mile after mile. You’ll certainly want to pack snacks to stop and eat during your ride to replenish fuel sources, curb hunger pangs and boost energy. Remember not to pack any foods that are too heavy or hard to transport. A muffin may sound delicious, but it can be messy to eat. Also, be sure not to try any new foods in case it affects your stomach negatively and you have to stop mid-race.
Here are some tasty, helpful snack options to pack for your century ride: