Space heaters, running, and muscle inflammation

I get extremely cold in the winter, and despite having central heat, I’ll often turn on an electric space heater as well. They’re often keeping my lower legs and feet warm.

I run. Last night, I got on the treadmill and had plans to increase my speed from my last run, but I could not get my legs to loosen up. They felt stiff and tight even after 45 minutes of a combination of walking, jogging, and stretching.

I’ve never had this happen before and am searching for possible reasons. Can something like a space heater lead to muscle stiffness or soreness? Is there another obvious explanation? Help!

First thing to look at are the last few days. Did you do a harder than usual workout, standing more during the day, after working out, did you change your post workout routine?

It might be just a one time thing.

I was about to say no, there were no changes, but there was a big one. Last week, I woke up three times with a charley horse in my calf. Twice in one leg and once in the other. I usually run three times a week, but last week I didn’t run at all.

But then I ran on Sunday and everything was perfectly fine and felt good.

The tightness was focused above and below my knee. Usually, I hop on the treadmill and just walk for a bit, then start doing intervals until I’m really warmed up, but when I started the intervals it felt like I was pulling something. Even when I slowed the intervals down way past the point I usually run them, I couldn’t run smoothly. It felt unstable. I can’t think of a better word for it.

Have your eating habits recently changed? Could you be low on potassium?

Most likely, you did strain something. Try walking for the next week and see if it feels better.

I don’t think anything has changed in my eating habits, but it’s possible they have and/or that I’m low on potassium anyway.

I tend to be a person who’s prone to muscle cramps/spasms, so I didn’t think anything of it.

Runner Pat, I’ll switch to walking for the nonce. Thanks for the advice!

Any chance the dry winter air is dehydrating you?

Highly unlikely your diet is causing the problems otherwise you’d have seen it long before now.

What happened most likely, is you damanged your muscle and ignored it. Or it didn’t hurt enough for you to pay it much mind.

I have hurt my arm picking up a ten pound weight. And I can curl over 100 pounds with one hand.

If you’re legs feel stiff and tight there’s a reason for it and it’s probably you hurt yourself. You can have small tears. So my adivce is stop it, NOW.

Start stretching your legs. Go to the library and get some books on healing and stretching and yoga postures. They really help you. Do this first before running, actually you need to lay off the running for a bit. You can do things like swim, which would be the first choice or use the stationary bike.

Cold is used for healing but warm actually makes you feel better, but cold is better for any type injury. So what you may want to do is switch off cold compress, followed by a heating pad or hot water bottle.

Whatever you do, listen to your body. If it hurts something’s wrong so you need to stop what you’re doing an re-evalutate your workout routine.

Sometimes you DO need a break, take a week off. Or just do weights. But if you can get to a pool do that. Swimming is great, so long as you SWIM and don’t just float around :slight_smile:

I am an idiot.

I gave blood on Sunday, AFTER I ran.

I could easily still be feeling the aftereffects of that. It never even occurred to me.

Like I said: Idiot!
Markxxx, that’s good advice. I can’t use a stationary bike because it causes my arthritic hip to flare for some reason while running doesn’t, but I’ll keep what you’re saying in mind.

Thanks all.
I can’t believe I didn’t think of the blood thing. Gah.

Don’t beat yourself up - it could be any one of a number of factors. Every few weeks, I get a day where everything feels tight when I run for the whole run.
And those are the days I turn in a slightly better time than usual.

Go figure.