Couch to 5K
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Cramping legs

Can anyone help I've never been a runner but am relatively fit do a couple of hiit sessions and 3 weight lifting sessions- which is what inspired me to do this as anytime running was included I couldn't keep up. Anyway just completed week 5 run 2 and when running it's not the breathing that slows me down but the unbelievable cramping in my calfs I struggled through today but am in agony now? Any advice?

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Sorry, can't advise, but I had the same thing at week 5 run 2 and 3, it was agony, have to say in my case it went though. I would suggest to research into stretching techniques after running if you haven't done so already. I skimped on these and ended up paying .

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Have you tried magnesium supplements? Muscles don't switch on and off properly when magnesium runs low, and as it's used every time a muscle goes from a contracting state to a relaxed state, anything repetitive uses it up quite quickly.

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Are you drinking enough water? dehydration can cause cramp, but don't drink large amounts before excercise, some medications can also cause cramp..

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The suggestions put forward thus far, are all incredibly well informed and seeking to supplement, stretch and sufficiently hydrate should help to provide relief from cramping calves.

However, as running increments increase week on week, consider that the cramping could simply be attributed to the increased load placed upon the calves, as they repeatedly contract and relax with each foot step, whilst also adapting to continually processing oxygen throughout, as stamina is developed.

Something else to consider is pace. By attempting to turn the legs over quicker than current conditioning may allow, not only will oxygen demands of working muscles increase, a faster pace will result in fatigue much sooner. Consider how tired you may feel after HIIT sessions.

As such, run at a pace that feels comfortable throughout, allowing aerobic capacity to improve at a measured rate, with the ultimate aim of being able to run continuously for 30 minutes. Following graduation, having developed a sound running base, you can start to think about introducing speed.

Lastly, if you don't already do so, begin to incorporate strengthening exercises, such as calf raises/presses (preferably in the gym), since they'll increase density of the fibres of your gastroc and soleus, ultimately improving their resistance to fatigue, while also reducing susceptibility to injury.

As much as you run to get fit, you also get fit to run, by conditioning the muscles of the legs so that they're more adept at handling the forces placed through them with each foot-fall.

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Pickle juice. The liquid from a jar of pickled gherkins. decant some nto a small bottle and take a sip when the cramps hit. They will be allevated in seconds.

I know it sounds bonkers but t works brilliantly. there is some sciencey explanation about how it tricks the brain but just take my word for it and try it. I used to get terrible calf cramps on really long races, then tried this trick and it worked perfectly. So much so that when i did an ultr distance Obstacle race I admiistered my miracle cure to every crampstricken runner O came across and gained the nickname "Dr Pickle".

Which is better than many of the nicknames I have had.

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Not sure how I feel about this 😂 But anything is worth a try

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Ha ha Rig ! :D

I take Magnesium tablets and they seem to do the trick . I have also heard of taking a teaspoon of yellow mustard when the cramps hit . Can't vouch for that though, I haven't tried that one :-) xxx

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Thanks so much for all the replies. I use magnesium oil and have a foam roller. My current pace is not great- I'm pretty confident I walk quicker than I run but will persevere and see how run 3 goes

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