Friday, June 1, 2007

Cramping 101

A week or so ago before the 8Hr (last weekend) I was on a long training ride in the park by myself, when at about the 4.5 hr mark I was hit by wicked cramps. Wicked cramps! Had to get off the bike and stretch them out. In a race, that costs you time and could be the difference in a DNF and completing an event. I've always been prone to them, but just shrugged them off thinking that everyone gets them, especially doing long rides.

Got home from that ride, sitting in a hot bath (bad idea, ice bath is the way to go for recovery) and both legs go into full cramps on the inside part of my quads. Ouch. Man it hurt. Took a long time for them to stop and after I was sore and knotted up. I usually get cramps in the evening after rides. But why? I decided then that there must be something that I can do about this. Sick of cramps!

Jumped on the internet and started doing some research, asking questions on forums, etc. Don't ask me why I didn't do this earlier (say a couple of years ago) . . . . part of me hoped that they would just go away if I left them alone. Yep, smart am I.

Turns out my diet was low on magnesium and calcium. So, bought a bottle of mag, calcium and vit. D tablets and started taking them about a week before the 8 Hr. I also started adding about 1/8th of a teaspoon of table salt to my water bottles - mixed with E-load or Heed. I sweat a lot and loose a lot of electrolytes when I ride - my helmet and jersey are usually caked with salt.

So, how did it work out? Never had a twitch, twinge or jump in my muscles in any training ride leading up to the race or even in the evening after a ride. I was sure that I'd cramp during a 8 Hr race, especially so riding a single speed - the demands on the legs are so great, mashing the pedals for that long up some grueling climbs. BUT, not one cramp! AND, I didn't have one cramp that evening or during the night when I slept. It appears that I've found the solution to my cramping issues.


Anonymous said...

Don't forget the Sodium (Na), too. I usually eat corn chips during long trail runs & I'm good to go.

matt said...

That salt will get ya. An awesome recovery food is saltine crackers and a bottle of water.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the info. Glad you don't have this problem anymore.

I don't know if others find this too but I find your text is hard to see. Can you change the background colour to something lighter?


Craig said...

Your wish is my command.
How's white?

Anonymous said...

Much easier to read. Thanks.