Reader’s mind is willing, but his body has other ideas!

Hey, everybody! Reader here, and the “Learn to Run” clinics are well underway, as we continue to gear up for the Health Foundation Charity Road Race.

For the most part, I’ve been doing pretty well. But, last Thursday, I ran into a bit of a bump in the road…

During last Thursday’s run clinic, we were to walk for 10 minutes, then throw in five sets of run 1 minute/walk 1 munite, before cooling down with a five-minute run.

Well, halfway through the first one-minute run, all of a sudden my left calf cramped up. Ouch.

I just took it easy, and figured if I took it easy, it’d work itself out. So I completed my circuit, jogging lightly, then stretched out afterward, and figured I’d be fine.

I was wrong. for the next three days, my calf felt like it had a giant knot in it, that just wouldn’t loosen up.

I was limping around all weekend, including at the Golden Sheaf Awards!

Luckily, by late Monday, my leg was feeling back to normal.

But it was a reminder that the older I get, the more I need to take care of myself.

Whether it’s running, playing slow-pitch, or doing anything halfway physical, I try to make sure I stretch out and warm up.

Recovery afterward at 46 is different than at 26, or even 16. In my mind, I’m in peak condition. In reality, it’s a bit different.

With that in mind, I thought I’d compile some tips for avoiding injuries while exercising, especially when it comes to muscle cramps.

Here’s a few:

1️⃣ **Stay Hydrated**: Sip on some water before, during, and after your run. Keeping hydrated is key to keeping cramps at bay. (I always make sure I have a big water bottle full of ice-cold H2O when I hit the track.)

2️⃣ **Warm-Up Gently**: Ease into your run with some gentle stretches. Think leg swings, lunges, and high knees to get your muscles ready and relaxed. (I tend to do more calf, hamstring and groin stretches. Maybe I need to diversify my stratch portfolio!)

3️⃣ **Electrolytes Matter**: Make sure you’re getting enough electrolytes. Snack on bananas and oranges, or sip a sports drink to keep your mineral balance in check. (I love oranges and bananas – I just don’t eat as many as I should. I try not to chug too many sports drinks, as I have to be mindful of my blood sugar. I guess in moderation, it’d be all right.”

4️⃣ **Listen to Your Body**: If you feel a cramp coming on, slow down or take a short break. There’s no need to push through the pain. It’s okay to take it easy. (This is where I should’ve taken a break last week. Maybe I’d have avoided that painful lingering calf cramp!)

5️⃣ **Regular Massage**: Treat yourself to a regular massage or use a foam roller at home. It can work wonders in keeping your muscles relaxed and cramp-free. (Well, I can’t afford regular massages, but I should invest in a foam roller to help work out the kinks!)

With these simple tips, you’ll be able to enjoy your runs without any unwanted interruptions.

Keep it smooth and steady!

And remember, if you’d like to join the Yorkton Pacers Running Club, and take part in the “Learn to Run” Clinics, everyone is welcome – the more the merrier!

Don’t forget – the Road Race is coming up in Sunday, August 18th. I’l be there – I hope to see you there!

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