Muscle Cramps While Running: Causes and Prevention

During the Wineglass Marathon on Sunday, I developed cramps.  Yikes! Something that I thought I had licked and not experienced for a long time.

What went wrong?

According to Emily Brown at, there are two types of cramping: muscle overload/ fatigue or electrolyte deficiency.

muscle overload/ fatigue (local) – if muscle is contracted for an extended period, the neural system that supposed to relax the muscle fibers and restore their balance gets depressed.  This results in an “intense, sustained involuntary muscle contraction” that is localized in the specific overloaded muscle.

electrolyte deficiency (general) – while running electrolyte are lost through sweating, mainly sodium and potassium.  This chemical imbalance (or shortage) of electrolyte leads to malfunction of nerve impulses (that control muscle contraction) and cramps.  This type of cramping is not limited to local muscle but more general to include other areas such as stomach cramps, side stitches, etc.

Since mine symptoms were mostly isolated in my quads, I believe I had muscle overload/ fatigue cramps.

Further, the Wineglass Marathon was a net downhill course, my quads were under repeated loading.   Recommendations to prevent this type of cramping include practicing relaxation while running and better conditioning and range of motion. For example, when practicing the hill repeats, instead of walking down I would run down hill.

Source: Muscle Cramps While Running: Causes, Treatments, and Prevention

This entry was posted in awareness, Goals, marathon training, training technique, Wineglass Marathon and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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