Super stiff muscles
“I used to be very flexible but since I started running more I sometimes feel stiff. Am I doing anything wrong?”

When you run your muscles get stronger. The stronger your muscles become, the more volume they get and the shorter they become. When your muscles become shorter you will feel tighter and this can sometimes cause pain in your joints. Stretching the muscles which feel tight will increase their length again and prevent stiffness. Hold your stretches for at least 30 seconds to improve your flexibility.

Blister free feet
“I’m planning a three-day ultra race. What type of foot care do I need to do before and during the event?”

Ensure that your shoes still give you sufficient support and cushioning. Before the event you should focus on getting rid of hard skin and calluses as blisters are prone to develop underneath them. Wearing the correct socks which will wick away moisture and prevent hot spots is also important. During the event it is crucial to keep your feet dry; when your socks become wet your feet will be more prone to develop hot spots which can lead to blisters. Put talcum powder in your socks to help keep your feet dry. If you feel a hot spot developing stop and treat it or place a blister plaster on it. Wearing a clean pair of socks every day will keep your feet dry and blister free.

Throbbing knees on impact
“My knee sometimes aches after a run but never during. It normally goes away within a day or two. Should I be concerned about it?”

This should not cause any problems as long as the pain goes away within 24 to 48 hours. The terrain, speed and distance of each run impacts on your joints and can cause an aching feeling afterwards. Putting ice packs on your knees can help if there is inflammation inside. As you adapt to the speed, distance and terrain the ache in your knees should subside. If it gets worse as the weeks progress, get it checked out by your health care practitioner. Doing additional strengthening exercises for your thighs – such as squats – will also help to reduce the ache (the stronger your muscles are the more power they’ll be able to generate which will make it easier for your body to cope with the running intensity).

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