The bottom of the feet have a number of tiny muscles. Although not serious, cramps have a tendency to occur in these muscles during excessive running. This might not cause a long-term disability, but it can stop you dead in your tracks and force you out of a competition or training session. To help prevent your muscles from seizing up and cramping, you can take several preventive measures.
Stay well hydrated. Drink plenty of water before, during and after your runs. This will help prevent dehydration, which is a major cause of cramps. Sip on a sports drink enriched with electrolytes for running sessions that are longer than 60 minutes. You also can use gels or bars. Use a sports drink or gel every 30 minutes of training after the hour mark.
Minimize your intake of diuretics. Beverages such as coffee, non-herbal tea, lattes and energy drinks are high in caffeine, which can promote dehydration. Avoid high amounts of alcohol.
Get massages from a sports massage therapist on a weekly basis to keep your muscles loose and to help prevent cramping.
Stretch your feet well before you run. Tight foot muscles have a better chance of cramping up than elongated ones. Place your feet in a staggered stance. With both legs straight, lift your back heel up and down eight to 10 times in a slow and controlled motion. Switch feet and repeat.
Include foods in your diet that contain magnesium, calcium and potassium. These minerals help reduce cramping in the body. Nuts, bananas, soybeans, apricots, orange juice, potatoes and dairy products are examples of foods that contain these minerals.
Buy the proper shoes for running.
Check with your health-care provider before beginning an exercise program for the first time or if you have been away from fitness programs for a while, or if you have any chronic health issues.