4 Steps To Stay Cramp-Free During Runs

By Shannon Clark B Sc, MA   |   9 March 2016 

Few things are as frustrating for a runner than heading out for their run only to suffer from a debilitating side cramp 10 minutes in. You have another 30 minutes to go until you’re finished and with every step you take, you’re greeted with a stabbing pain just under your rib cage.

Runner’s cramps are a relatively frequently occurring problem but the good news is that there are steps you can take to minimize them.

Let’s go over four steps that you should know that will help you stay cramp free. Use these and you can be sure that you are not side-lined with this annoying problem

Know Your Hydration Limits

The first thing you need to do is know your hydration limits. Don’t go drinking a few liters of water about 30 minutes prior to your run for instance or there’s no question that you’re going to cramp up.

Start hydrating properly about 5 or more hours prior to the run so that you can get enough water into your system (and out) before you prepare for that run.

If you are running and you can literally feel liquid in your stomach moving up and down, you will be without a doubt in discomfort for the remainder of that run

Try Energy Chews and Gel Shots

The second thing to consider is utilizing energy chews and gel shots. Energy chews and gels are a great way to help provide extra carbohydrates during the run without the liquid that would come from a sports drink.

These are also easy to transport along with you so they can be taken out when needed. Plus, as they provide a smaller dose of carbs per chew, it’s easier to tailor your intake to your needs.

Check out Healthy Beings huge range of Energy Chew's and Gel Shots in a wide array of flavors for a fast and highly effective way to keep your energy levels up. With the bare minimum of calories, they’ll give you that extra bit of energy you need.

As an added benefit, some contain caffeine as well, giving you that extra boost to get through those especially grueling sessions.

Time Your Pre-Run Meal Properly

You’ll also want to be sure that you time your pre-run meal properly as well. If you eat too close to your run, this can guarantee you’ll experience some cramping.

How soon you can eat before running will depend on your own body, what you are eating, and how much you are eating. Try a variety of different meal options to best select what and when you will eat.

Stick to foods that do tend to be lighter and faster to digest, keeping away from very high fiber food. While typically fiber is good, before a run, it can cause serious digestive upset.

Avoid Dietary Fats

Finally, be sure that you avoid dietary fats as well in the hour or two before you head out for a run.  Too much dietary fat can slow the digestion process down, making you feel sluggish and more likely to cramp up prior to the run.

Stick to meals that contain fewer than 5-6 grams of fat in the 2-3 hours prior to the run and this can help you side-step problems with cramping.

So there are some quick tips to know and remember. Before you head out for your next run, make sure to abide by these so that you don’t even up doubled over in pain.


...and remember, qualified nutritionists at Healthy Being are available to offer further general advice to help guide you in selecting the right products. So please, feel free to contact us at anytime!

Shannon Clark is a qualified nutritionist and a regular contributer to HB Insights. She specialises in weight control and management as well as optimal fitness performance. She's devoted to helping readers obtain their own personal best health and fitness and stays on top the latest trends in the industry.


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