5 Well-Known Runners’ Problems: Avoid Them With these Tips

Young man running outdoor

Minor complaints while running or slight pain afterward – something every runner knows, from beginner to pro. “If your legs feel heavy, your knees ache, or your feet tingle, these are your body’s alarm bells,” explains running expert Sascha Wingenfeld. The problems aren’t always caused by serious injuries. Here are five typical running problems and tips on how to avoid them…

Group of young people running at dawn

1. Sore muscles

The classic complaint after a run is aching muscles. The pain starts a few hours or a day after the run, peaks about 24 hours later, and lasts several days. Running expert Sascha explains, “Muscle soreness is caused by micro-tears in the muscle tissue that occur after repeatedly straining muscles or a very tough workout.” If you don’t want to skip your training even though your muscles are sore, you should at least reduce the intensity of your run. You can also switch to other sports (swimming, cycling, inline skating).

Tips to prevent muscle soreness:

Support muscle regeneration with contrast bath therapy, a trip to the sauna or food rich in vitamin E. This vitamin is found in high grade vegetable oils like wheat germ oil or sunflower seed oil, in hazelnuts, and almonds.

2. Circulation problems

Many people suffer from sudden dizzy spell while running. Here are some reasons for this:

  • Did you start off slightly hungry or even on an empty stomach? And now you feel dizzy? Your energy stores have been depleted; your body is experiencing hypoglycaemia. Sascha’s tip: “Bring an energy bar, gel, or a piece of fruit on your run. Eat something as soon as you start to feel dizzy.” If the dizziness improves, you can train your body to switch between burning carbs and fat.
  • Dehydration can make you faint. The rule of thumb is that your body needs roughly 15 ml of fluids per lb or 30 ml per kg of body weight per day. Every hour that you are working out you should drink another 500 to 700 ml.
  • Another cause of dizziness while running could be if you are just getting sick or are getting over something (cold, flu, stomach virus). Give your body the time and rest it needs to recover. Only start training again when you feel 100% healthy.

Young woman after a run with her water bottle

3. Blisters on your feet

Blisters can be painful, but they are basically harmless. Running complaints are often due to the wrong shoes, a poor fit, shoes that are too small or too new. Sascha’s tip: “Don’t run in new shoes or socks right away.

This lacing technique prevents blisters on your heels:

4. Headache when running

Does your head hurt when you run? Possible reasons include:

  • In many cases dehydration or a loss of salt causes the pain. Electrolyte sports drinks can provide relief.
  • If the training is too intense, it could lead to an exhaustion headache.
  • Bright sunlight can also trigger a headache.
  • Poor posture while running frequently causes cramping in the neck muscles. Take a look at your running style: do your arms swing loosely by your sides? Or do you tense your neck and shoulders? Do you hold your head up as an extension of your spine when you run? Or does your head hang down or forward? You can often relieve a headache by altering your posture.

If the problems continue over a longer period of time, go see a doctor.

Women pausing during an exhausting run in the city

5. Aching legs at night

If your legs hurt while you are resting, it is usually because of sore muscles or slight overexertion. “Your training was probably too intense or the run was too long. In the future, try to increase your training more gradually to avoid the pain of overexertion.” Otherwise, this is a normal reaction of your body adapting to the training. When your running improves this post-run pain will decrease. If this doesn’t happen, see a doctor. There may be some circulatory problems, joint disease, or neurological issues.

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Sascha Wingenfeld Sascha, health trainer & active triathlete, has been coaching runners from beginners to professionals for over 10 years. "I love my job and I love running." View all posts by Sascha Wingenfeld »

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