What To Do If You Get A Leg Cramp From Running?

You’ve headed out for a run or probably come back if you’re watching this, and you got a leg cramp while you were out. It’s so painful. It’s like your legs seizing up, this pain just strikes you and you simply cannot move.

You’ve headed out for a run or probably come back if you’re watching this, and you got a leg cramp while you were out. It’s so painful. It’s like your legs seizing up, this pain just strikes you and you simply cannot move. And you’re wondering, for the future, what can I do if I get a leg cramp while I’m running?

Since most likely you’re back from your run watching this video trying to figure out what the heck am I supposed to do during the run? As you are not actively running, one of the good things you can go to immediately is actually putting heat on a heat pad of some sort. Now, a lot of people want to go to something like this, which we make at Solpri, Solpri.com/shop. It is a muscle gel. It has kind of warming and cooling sensation.

Now, although I would love for you to shop with us because it helps my company grow and we get more customers, That’s really not the thing you want to do for cramps. It kind of helps you feel a little bit better, but actually applying real heat versus that sensation of heat you get in products like this is the thing that you want to apply to cramps when you get back to try to make that muscle relax.

When you’re actually out on your run, though, the biggest thing to do is stop for a minute. Just stop. So, your leg is cramping largely, or most likely, from an electrolyte imbalance. It is kind of locked up, so to speak. So, if you continue to put pressure on it by running and pushing it, you have the potential to cause a tear and make yourself worse than if you just simply stopped for a minute.

Now, there’s no shame in stopping. If you’ve got a cramp, stop, take a deep breath, allow your muscle to relax and try some gentle stretching a little bit. Depending on what it is, depends on the kind of stretch you’re going to do. But you’re going to try to make it so that it relaxes and it doesn’t have that cramping more. Sometimes it’s simply a matter of waiting for that muscle to relax again. But the one thing you want to do, regardless of whether you can get it to relax or not, is make sure you’re doing the prep work beforehand so it doesn’t happen again.

Now that prep work that I’m talking about really is largely making sure you’re taking in the nutrients that you need. And if you’re out on a long run, especially if it’s in the heat, where you’re going to be losing a lot of fluid, a lot of electrolytes, that you have some way to replenish that during your long run. And I’m talking about hour plus kind of activities.

Now it can happen on a shorter kind of run, if you’ve not taken care of yourself, if you’re prone to cramps. But one of the things you can do and this comes as a recommendation from my friend, Todd Buckingham, Dr. Todd Buckingham. I’ve interviewed him a couple times on the show, the Smart Athlete Podcast. He has actually studied the sweat rates and electrolyte replenishment levels of various athletes doing Ironman.

So, it’s very crucial in that environment to replace the electrolytes to avoid cramping. And his suggestion to me, especially for hot situations or situations where you really need to make sure you’re good to go before you start your activity is to do your electrolytes the day before.

You can preload as he says, you can preload electrolytes the day before you do your thing, whatever that is; long run, race, whatever’s coming up, you can preload, I think his suggestion was something like 1500 milligrams of mixed electrolytes. Now, that’s going to be dependent upon your particular drink. But you can basically give your body what it needs, allow it to store it, that will also help you hold more water, and prevent that situation where you’re going to cramp.

My last tip here is also going to be just massage. You know, massage, rub it out, that’s kind of the natural thing we want to do, right, is rub that area that hurts. So, if you’re out on the run, you need to stretch it, massage it a little bit. The whole key is you got to get it to relax. So, even if you gotta sit down, not in the middle of the street, please but on the sidewalk, on the side of the road, somewhere, sit down to rub it, relax, whatever you got to do to -- maybe even just get yourself home for the time being. That’s what you have to do before you can kind of tend to the nutritional side of it to make sure that you’re good to go for the future.

So, what questions do you have for me for future episodes of Runner’s High? I’d love to answer your questions. As always hit that subscribe button so you can stick around to see it. But leave your questions down in the comments below so I can do a video just for you. I’ll see you next time on the next episode of Runner’s High.

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