Where Does It Hurt?
The Science: Plain and simple: you’ve lost too much fluid.
Cure: drink! Water is best to quench your thirst – but drink whatever you’re craving.
The Science: Many call this “going anaerobic” – but there’s little evidence that the pain arises from too little oxygen (or too much lactic acid). Rather, your brain recognises that you’re close to your physiological limit and forces you to slow down.
Cure: easy up soon – or it’s game over.
The Science: Electrical impulses in the muscles have gone haywire, causing rapid contractions.
Cure: stop and stretch. Scientist are unsure of what exactly causes cramps, but it’s not as simple as electrolyte imbalances or dehydration.
The Science: You’ve depleted your liver’s supply of glycogen and it can’t maintain blood glucose.
Cure: Begin long run with full glycogen stores and down carbs when runs top 75 minutes. Aim for 30 to 60 grams per hour.
The Science: You’ve run in the red zone for too long and damaged some muscle fibres. Your brain is slowing down the muscles to protect you from permanent damage.
Cure: the damage is done – just slow down.
The Science: Friction between your foot and your shoe or sock rubs skin raw. Moisture makes it worse.
Cure: try preventive taping, or lube problem areas and keep feet dry. Wear socks made of moisture-wicking material, or thinm double layer socks.
The Science: Pain is likely due to overtraining, wearing worn shoes, or running on uneven surfaces.
Cure: Walk it out. Avoid relapses with stretching and strengthening exercises.
The Science: Friction between skin and skin (or skin and clothing), rubs you raw.
Cure: Avoid clothing with stitching in chafe-prone areas and apply lube to potential hotspots.
The Science: Theories abound. The most popular: it’s a cramp in your diaphragm muscle.
Cure: Focus on breathing with your diaphragm by pushing your stomach in as you exhale and out as you inhale.
The Science: You are hypoglycaemic; your liver has run low on glycogen and can’t maintain blood glucose levels.
Cure: a steady flow of carbs. Bonus: it will help blunt your pain perception, too.