POTO: Swiss-Image provided by Jungfrau-Marathon
Cramps can make life as a runner quite difficult. Unexpectedly they occur and literally paralyze a muscle or muscle group. In some marathons you can see athletes stretching their calves in the middle of the course with a pain distorted face or even asking their fellow human beings to help them overstretch the affected area. Muscle cramps are annoying and sometimes quite painful, but fortunately harmless. It is true that one cannot fully arm oneself against cramps. But there are a number of measures that marathon participants can take against uncontrolled muscle contractions.
Months before the competition: serious training
If you don't want to experience any surprises on marathon distances, you have to prepare yourself or your muscles for the specific requirements of the target competition (altitude difference up and down, different surfaces from asphalt to root trail) in a targeted and long-term way. This means: Study the course profile carefully and adapt the training accordingly!
Days before the competition: liquid and electrolytes
Fluid and energy deficits as well as electrolyte deficiency (sodium, magnesium) are probably the main reasons why a muscle no longer runs smoothly. For this reason, it is advisable to ensure an adequate supply of minerals before a competition. Mineral salt mixtures before the competition help to fill the depots. Even salty food is not out of place during this time. Get up early enough on the morning of the competition and take about 1-1.5 litres of liquid before or during breakfast, ideally you are already drinking a sports drink. The electrolytes contained in sports drinks serve to transport fluids. SPONSER® recommends the drinks Carbo Loader and the low-calorie drink tabs Electrolytes in the days before the marathon starts.
During the competition: eat and drink
The top priority in competition is to regularly drink sports drinks and bouillon and take advantage of every opportunity to eat, even if you are not yet thirsty. If you are competing for more than two hours, it is a good idea to eat a few bites on a regular basis - provided your stomach tolerates solid foods such as a piece of banana, bar, bread, pretzel or similar. Athletes who suffer from stomach problems in competition fill the energy deficit with stomach-friendly sports drinks such as "Competition", "Long Energy" or "Ultra Competition" as well as sweet and salty "Liquid Energy Gels". In order not to experience any surprises in the competition, one downloads the catering plan of the target competition in advance and tests the offered products in training under load.
Secret weapon: Muscle Relax
The secret weapon against muscle cramps from Sponser is called "Muscle Relax", an acid-bitter drinking solution which has a neuromuscular effect due to sensory stimuli and can relax the muscle. Muscle Relax is based on a formula of acetic acid, cucumber juice, quinine and magnesium and comes in a small bottle of 30 ml, which can be used as a lifeline in the hip pocket or running pants. In order for the sensory stimuli to fully unfold, the mouth must be rinsed with Muscle Relax for 10-15 seconds before swallowing the shot.
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