If running or walking is your workout of choice, nothing is worse than an ache or pain. The good news? With a smart plan and a few simple strategies, you combat these common and annoying ailments. Time to finally put shin sprints, side stiches, and muscle cramps to bed and get on with your workout!
Shin splints aren't only a nuisance, but they are seriously painful, too. Tiny tears that occur around your shinbone are to blame. New exercisers and those who took a long break from exercise are most at risk. The first step in avoiding this ailment altogether is to pace yourself and gradually increase mileage overtime. Next, periodically switch to running or walking on grass, gravel, or sand instead of hard pavement to reduce the shock that travels through your legs. Finally, make sure you are wearing a good quality pair of running shoes with proper support. A specialty running store will watch you run and fit you with the correct shoes for your feet.
You're cruising merrily along your route when all of a sudden a sharp pain in your side stops you dead in your tracks. Although the cause of side stiches has yet to be proven by science, a few strategies can decrease your chances of experiencing this annoying ailment. Avoid eating within an hour of running and hydrate your body with pure water instead of sugary drinks pre-workout. Next, never take off on a run without a proper warm-up. Walk briskly for a few minutes to prep your body for what's to come. Finally, make sure you are taking big, deep breathes while in motion. Shallow breaths prevent oxygen from reaching your muscles, including your diaphragm, where side stiches are thought to originate.
Nothing's worse than a muscle cramp interrupting your run except when the cramp happens to be in the very important area keeping you upright: your legs. When a spasm hits your calves, hamstrings, or quads, immediately stop running and stretch your legs on the side of the road. Unfortunately, you may need to walk it out for a while or the rest of the way. To lessen the chance of cramps happening next time, may sure you drink enough water prior to your run because dehydration may partially be to blame. Also, start using your foam roller or massage stick on your lower body. Finally, take a look at your current workout plan. Do you cross-train or only run and walk? Strength training and plyometrics can help prepare your body for endurance activities like long runs.