I hope you are feeling strong and prepared because the Beast on the Bay is a few short weeks away! Something to consider while finishing up with your training is muscle cramping. I’m sure you all are well aware that this race is long and demanding on the body and muscle cramping is a real possibility. So, I’m going to give you the low down on what muscle cramps are, how to prevent them, and what to do if one occurs. As a heads up, the team at the Beast on the Bay has made medical attention readily and easily accessible to all participants and it should be utilized at once if something arises, but these are tips to help you handle the situation until help arrives.
What are muscle cramps?
According to The Mayo Clinic, muscle cramps are a sudden and involuntary contraction of one or more of your muscles. They are what some call a “Charley Horse,” and most often go away on their own. The causes of muscle cramps are unknown, but a number of possibilities have been discussed and researched. That list includes overuse of a muscle, dehydration, muscle strain or simply holding a position for a prolonged period.
Symptoms of a muscle cramp:
The symptoms of a muscle cramp are pretty self-explanatory when experienced; they can be very painful, but muscle cramps occur in the lower half of the body where a sharp pain occurs and sometimes a tight ball will form in the muscle itself.
What to do if a muscle cramp occurs:
The best immediate treatment for a muscle cramp is to stretch and massage the affected area. Heating with a heating pad will help as well but is there is nothing readily available massage and stretch or cooling the area with ice after a massage will help as well.
Allow time for recovery! Allowing your muscles the proper recovery time to repair damage is very important in preventing a painful cramp and optimal performance on the day of the Beast. So take a couple of days off from training before the big day! If you start with stiffness and soreness from a weight-training session, you’re increasing the chances for a cramp to occur.
Slow down in warm weather. The Beast is in September and if it’s anything like last year, it will be hot and humid. These conditions make dehydration a real possibility so taking your time and not overly exerting yourself will decrease the likelihood that a cramp will occur.
Hydration station! No special drinks will do the job of good old water. Make sure to drinking enough water throughout the day; for men that’s about 13 cups and for women about 9 cups of water. Be sure to add in an additional cup of water for every 20 mins of exercise.
On the day of the race there will be hydrations stations set up to replenish you, take advantage of these and prevent muscle cramps. Muscle cramps can be very painful and can put a damper on all the fun the Beast on the Bay brings! Stay hydrated, acclimate yourself to the intense weather conditions, and enjoy the couple of weeks left in your training! See you all soon!