Questions and Answers
Q: I have recently begun doing some
long-distance running, but have had problems with
leg cramps toward the end of a couple of races. Any
Since they come on late in a race, the most likely
causes are fatigue and/or dehydration. A sports drink
before and during a race is often recommended to counteract
this. Also, a lack of adequate stretching is another
possible reason for cramping. During a typical 12-16
mile run, your feet hit the ground (and your calf
muscles shorten/contract) thousands of times. Consequently,
stretching before and after your runs is very important.
A good exercise to both stretch and strengthen your
calf muscle is to stand with the ball of one foot
on the edge of a step while you hold onto the railing.
Alternately raise and drop the heel several times
as far as it will go, then switch feet.
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