Well I went for a 13 miler the other day and I ran it to my fastest ability, up hill and down dale: http://www.mapmyrun.com/routes/view/84742669
Didn't stretch too much before hand, tried to keep upright as much as poss but I can't do this up steeper hills, only drank water, I had a light breakfast and ate some spoonfulls of peanut butter and honey before run (sounds strrange I know).
Kept up a good pace and completed around 2hr mark, this I thought was ok as there's some really killer hills on this route (for my ability over this distance).
Rained half way and I found that weirdly I could virtually drink the sweat off my arms, which was full of salt, anyway.. no cramp! So if I get it on Sunday at the Stratford Half I think I shall give up. Only option will be to streych as soon as I feel it coming on, if I lose 10 seconds or so in process then so be it, rather that than be crippled with it and ruin the entire race.
My mum had a phase of getting bad cramp, and the doctor prescribed her salt tablets. Since my mum has always eaten crazy quantities of salt, adding it to her food by the spoonful, I'm quite certain lack of salt is NOT the cause of cramp!
I've also heard quinine is good for cramp - the stuff you get in tonic water. But as my mum has always been partial to gin and tonic, I have my doubts about that too!
Sorry, I'm afraid I can only tell you about what doesn't work, but I don't know what does...
Again thanks, I'm not going to try salt tablets.. I don't see that I lose any more sweat in an event than a normal run anyway.
Dusty - it may well just be that you need more training under your belt. You sounds like a fairly new runner and the body does change significantly in the first few years of sustained training. I wouldn't put too much effort into pre-run stretching - the scientific literature suggests that this is more risky than no stretching at all.
For a muscle to perform well, it needs a certain amount of tension within it - dynamic stretching as part of a warm up (things like doing lunges) is prefered to static stretching of cold muscles) and you may find this also helps to minimise cramping during runs.
Yes I definitely need more training, not so much a new runner as I've been building for about five years now, I'll look into lunges as well and maybe not so much pre race stretches, funnily enpough I don't do masses of stretches before anormal run, but I do stretch more on the day of an event.
Well, it seems like you have a plan...what I will say though is the best way out of this would be to be a bit more aware of how things change within your own body. I totally understand your desire to run with others and when I have run/exercised in a group it is much easier but it can mean your missing out on some very subtle changes and pain signals which eventually get worse and cause pain.
I would go as far as to say though it could be your posture is affected by your sleep rather then it being solely a fatigue issue. Its very easy to hold yourself in a different way as your fighting back tierdness and this could easily have a knock on effect, I know it does for me as I've already mentioned, but if you always get nerves before a race your going to find it hard to ever find this out! Maybe look at things like Pilataes and Alexander Technique which all teach good posture and how to make sure your holding yourself right. (things like shoulders wide, spine as though a peice of string is running up your spine out through your neck and head...etc). Once you have understood any instructions to keep in mind, you can sort of self-check yourself as you go along and hopefully correct anything which slips up.
Thanks, I tried this a little on my 20k run yesterday, didn't get a fast time but no cramp, although I was running alone.
Hmmm.. posture sounds interesting, I probably could do with improving my running posture as I always seem to have my shoulders and head down/forward. I could see a connection between sleeping habit as well, I rarely sleep well before a half marathon with bit of nerves etc. So coul dbe tring myself out before the run.
I'm going to try and run a half marathon this week again and test my time, try and push myself to the limit, see what happens. I tend to run faster when amongst others and running alone isn't race conditions so I tend to slow up a bit in places where I'd normally be full throttle.