Ten Ways A Runner Can Feel The Burn

by fin2000 - Date: 2010-06-01 - Word Count: 391 Share This!


You're parched, your mouth is full of cotton balls, and your heart races. Plain and simple: You've lost too much fluid. Drink. Water is best to quench the thirst, but drink what you crave.

Hitting the Red Zone

Your muscles burn - and basically everything's on fire. Many call this 'going anaerobic,' but there's little evidence that the pain arises from too little oxygen (or too much lactic acid). Rather, your brain recognizes that you're too close to your physiological limit and forces you to slow down. Ease up soon - or it's game over.

Leg Cramps

Your muscles are seizing up big time. Electrical impulses in the muscles have gone haywire, causing rapid contractions. Stop and stretch. Scientists are unsure of exactly what causes cramps, but it's not as simple as electrolyte imbalances or dehydration.


Your shins are beyond sore. Pain is likely due to overtraining, wearing worn shoes, or running on uneven surfaces. Walk it out. Avoid relapses with stretching and strengthening exercises.

Hitting the Wall

You're out of energy. You've depleted your liver's supply of glycogen, and it can't maintain blood glucose. Begin long runs with full glycogen stores and down carbs when runs top 75 minutes. Aim for 30 to 60 grams per hour.


Your brain's in a fog, and you may feel light-headed and dizzy. You are hypoglycemic; your liver has run low on glycogen and can't maintain blood glucose levels. Take in a steady flow of carbs. Bonus: It will help blunt pain perception, too.

Side Stitch

A stabbing pain pierces your side. Theories abound. The most popular: It's a cramp in your diaphragm muscle. Focus on breathing with your diaphragm by pushing your stomach in as you exhale and out as you inhale.


It feels like a burning wound. Friction between skin and skin (or skin and clothing) rubs you raw. Avoid clothing with stitching in chafe-prone areas and apply lube to potential hot spots.

Leg Lock

Your muscles feel like they're filled with cement. You've run in the red zone too long and damaged some muscle fibers. Your brain is slowing down your muscles to protect you from permanent damage. The damage is done - just slow down.


Your feet sting and burn. Friction between your foot and your shoe or sock rubs skin raw. Moisture makes it worse. Try preventive taping, or lube problem areas and keep feet dry. Wear socks made of moisture-wicking material, or thin, double-layer socks.

Related Tags: pain, water, drink, exercises, dehydration, fluid, contractions

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