Running to stay fit is the current trend. And it is good. However, just as everything has its pros and cons, running can cause certain problems for some runners. Calf pain is one of the issues faced by most beginners.
To tackle this problem, one must stop training for a few days in order to help the muscle to recover. Such pain can be prevented if the calf muscles are strengthened. This will boost the performance of the runner.
Today, there are innovative types of equipment for running. These help to give extra improved performance.
Even the best runner can be deterred by painful cramps. The reason behind experiencing cramps is many. But the most common one is muscle fatigue. We use our calves throughout the day, and they hardly get any rest. Be it running, standing, or walking; the calves are continuously at work. Also, our footwear adds to the strain.
We wear different types of shoes for different places. We have running shoes, high heels, and many other types of shoes that add strain to our calf muscles. The lower leg and the foot get the support from the foot arch. And when the arches are fallen, the foot and the lower leg lose its natural support and hence add more stress to the calf muscles.
Before you start running or do any form of exercise, consult your physician. If you are someone who is prone to cramps, do seek their guidance. Your medical history can have a role to play when you experience cramps. And your physician will be able to explain this to you very well and guide you too.
Sometimes certain medicines that you may be to increase the chances of cramps. To evaluate your foot and checks the biomechanics related to running and walking, you may also ask your physician for a few referrals to meet a physical therapist, orthopedist, or sports-oriented podiatrist.
Make sure you use the right pair of shoes while running. Sometimes an orthotic or extra shoe insert can help. These could be customers made or bought upright. Whatever you choose, your health professional should guide you based on your goals for running.
When you use an additional shoe insert, it helps to rectify any issues that are biochemical, and also helps in improving the running efficiency. By this, the chances of getting injured are lowered. If you do not have a professional to consult, then ask the shoe store to fix a shoe fit by a professional.
Just running is not enough. You also need to stretch regularly. You are stretching the calf muscles properly after each exercise is a must. When you stretch, make sure you focus not only on the deep muscles but also on the lower leg superficial muscles. This is the right way of stretching.
Now that you have the right shoes and other gear, you should learn about the right training method. By that, we mean, you need to have a good training plan in place. Whatever your current level of fitness is right now, you can start from there.
If you can do only around 2 to 3 minutes for now, then so be it. At least you will start this way, and gradually those minutes will increase. Start walking every day, so you reduce the risk of injury and build the recovery time.
Every week slowly increase your mileage time by 10 percent. Slow and steady wins the race. Hence whatever you do, increase the minutes and pace slowly and gradually. Cut back at least seven days after training for three weeks. Your body will need the rest. Later add little running at short intervals during walking. You could walk, to begin with, then run for half a minute and return to walking again.
Once you think you have recovered from this run, try running again after walking for a few minutes. Slowly as your body adapts to this walk and runs routine, you can increase the running time and the number of intervals. Make sure that this routine of yours always starts and ends with walking.
Muscle cramping can also be related to electrolyte balance and hydration. Remaining hydrated is very important, especially while exercising. You should have water before you start your session, in between the sessions, and after it is done.
If you have enough water needed by your body, you reduce the chances of flushing out important electrolytes like potassium and sodium. You may require to take some electrolyte supplements so that your electrolytes are balanced.
This supplement intake depends on how long you exercise, how much you perspire, and on the weather conditions. These supplements are available in capsule form on the market. There are many kinds of these available today, and hence you will find these easily.
Smart training to avoid calf pain while running.
When you train too much, or you increase your running distance or style too quickly, your body experiences some stress. This extra strain causes calf pain. You could experience aching muscles, pulled muscles, cramps, and calves hardening as a result of this.
You could avoid the hardening of your calves if you stretch on a regular basis. The hardening normally happens because of the local tensing of your muscles. You can get relief by massaging these affected muscles apart from stretching.
If you are someone who is prone to having muscles hardening, then you need to check your body posture and running style. An incorrect body posture while running could be the culprit. This can be rectified by wearing foot orthoses.
Avoiding calf cramps that are very painful
Sometimes a deficiency of magnesium can cause calf cramps. This normally happens at night. But if you experience these cramps while running, then this could be due to excessive strain and shortage of minerals in your body.
Even if liquids are taken incorrectly during running or during the marathon, cramps can be caused. Hence you need to make sure that while running long distances, you add minerals to your drinks.
There is a difference between a muscle tear, a pulled muscle, and a muscle strain. It all depends on how much of the muscle tissue is affected. A sudden high tension causes the strain, and hence this rarely happens while running. Sudden pain is a strain.
Exercises for the calf muscles – How to prevent calf pain
Farmer’s Walk on Toes
You will build your calf muscle strength if you do this exercise.
Take a heavy pair of dumbbells keeping it straight down on your sides. Raise your body using your toes and walk ahead for just 60 seconds. Make sure to stand tall and not to droop. By doing this exercise, you not only work on your calves but also help in improving your cardiovascular health.
Do not break this exercise form before a minute. And if you think that you could walk longer on your toes, take heavier dumbbells while doing the next set. Doing three sets on a daily basis is required.
Eccentric Calf Raise
When using this method, you will be able to strengthen and stretch your calf muscles.
Take a step and stand on it. Make sure your heels are hanging from the edge and not resting on them. Hold a rail or a wall to have enough balance. Or you could add weight if you would like to challenge yourself.
Plyometric Jump Squat
By doing this exercise, you build the muscle because you stretch it, thus helps in generating power.
Make sure to stand tall and that your feet are wider, not more than your shoulder-width apart while your toes are slightly turned outward. Hold your hands in front of your chest, while sending the hips back and bending your knees so as to squat down as much as you can. This whole time your chest should remain lifted.