At the starting line, one can always see the determined faces of runners. Even before they take a single step, they already fix their eyes on the finish line. And in their overwhelming desire to win the race, they sometimes show signs of tension and stress. But if you’re a highly competitive athlete, the tension is just part of the job.

That is why it is already axiomatic for endurance runners and other athletes to have physical strength and endurance, will power, and discipline. It is also part and parcel of their job to encounter a number of physical and health concerns that come as a result of strenuous physical activity.

Long-distance runners, for example, are very prone to fatigue and muscle cramps. Most marathons involve a long-distance run of about 42 kilometers or about 26 miles. These runs can be either on-road or off-road.

The marathon event is actually a centuries-old sporting event that traces its roots to Greek legend about Pheidippides, a soldier who was sent from the town of Marathon to Athens for the purpose of bringing the news about the defeat of the Persians in the “Battle of Marathon.” It is said that the Greek solider ran all the way from the battlefield to Athens so that he could announce the news of Greek victory as soon as possible. The marathon race was revived during the first modern Olympics in 1896.

It can be said that the marathon run of ancient Greece and the modern-day races share the same thing: both runs take a toll on the runner. The training alone is enough to cause physical stress on any runner. Recreational runners usually target a training run of about 32 kilometers while elite marathon runners can have a weekly mileage of at least 160 kilometers.

One can just imagine the sheer pressure put on a runner’s knees and leg muscles. Muscle cramps, which are experienced by most if not all runners and other endurance athletes, is an exercise-induced muscle pain that results from fluid loss and electrolyte imbalance. Overexertion, structural disorders, prolonged sitting, and inappropriate leg or sitting positions can also cause muscle pains. The most commonly affected muscle groups include the back of the leg and calf (gastrocnemius); the back of the thigh (hamstrings); and the front of the thighs (quadriceps). Cramps can be as tolerable as a slight tic or it can be painfully agonizing. Usually lasting only a few seconds to as long as 15 minutes, muscle cramps can become recurring difficulties even for the most well-trained athletes.

Muscle cramps or muscle pain does not only affect runners or athletes. Even people who do not engage in sports may get muscle spasms. In fact, muscle pain is the second most common reason for doctor visits in the United States. But for endurance runners and other athletes who engage in long periods of physical activity, the problem of muscle pain is not only a distinct possibility during training or in an actual event. It can also afflict them at night long after a running event.

To address this problem, most endurance and marathon runners have a doctor or sports therapist as a member of the running team. The medical professional or health care specialist helps monitor the physical condition of the runner. If necessary, the sports therapist may even ask the runner to take a muscle relaxant after a marathon event or during breaks in a long-distance, multi-day running event. The muscle relaxant helps the athlete to regain physical shape by removing muscle tension and pain associated with overexertion. A muscle relaxant like Carisoprodol is often administered to relieve pain and discomfort that comes with muscle sprains, strains, and spasms.

Over the counter muscle relaxants are available although many doctors prefer to give athletes prescription drugs like Carisoprodol. The efficacy of the muscle relaxant is not only important in terms of relieving the pain but also in helping ensure that the runner or athlete is able to complete an event with little or no discomfort. Indeed, the use of a muscle relaxant drug has become a necessity for many athletes who compete to win. It is no longer enough to train and have the right equipment. The availability of medications that will help them conquer pain during a competition or after an event is important to their sports career. Knowing the limitations of the human body, even the most hardy and experienced athletes need to relax their muscles naturally and through appropriately administered medications. Winning a race does not only take strength. Sometimes, a runner must make sure that his muscles are in a relaxed state so that he can push his “engine” to work all the way to the finish line.

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