Cramp when racing

Dave_P1 Posts: 565
edited March 2012 in Health, fitness & training
I've completed a couple of XC races this year now and usually on the second lap I always seem to suffer with a bit of cramp. It's hard to explain, but it's not the full on cramp where you have to stop and stretch, but it does get close to that point. I'm always drinking loads of water whilst racing which I assume helps to keep it away. Has anyone got any ideas on how to prevent this happening in the future?



  • Is it just water you are drinking?

    Maybe try and take something with electrolytes and the right combo of sugars.

    Also may be worth taking a banana, as potassium is supposed to help fend off cramp.
  • Dave_P1
    Dave_P1 Posts: 565
    Yes, just water.

    Thanks for the advice about a banana, as I didn't know they will help.

    I'll have a hunt around for a decent energy drink then me thinks.


  • unixnerd
    unixnerd Posts: 2,864
    I'm getting exactly the same thing on my road bike, never had it before but I'm fitter than ever this year and I think I'm just pushing a lot harder. - Quality Binoculars at a Sensible Price.
    Specialized Roubaix SL3 Expert 2012, Cannondale CAAD5,
    Marin Mount Vision (1997), Edinburgh Country tourer, 3 cats!
  • njee20
    njee20 Posts: 9,613
    I always used to cramp when racing (but never when just out riding), and have tried everything over the years to combat it. Brief summary of my experiences:

    -Carb-based energy drinks (High 5, SIS, Torq etc) make no difference, even 'high electrolyte' Isotonic ones like Go.

    -Nuun/Zym/Zero electrolyte tablets do help, but I personally find I run out of energy and have to use gels to top up energy - depends on your race length I guess, if you're only doing 2 laps and using water you may be ok, but I found on 2hr races I just couldn't keep the pace and would blow up.

    -Elete water added to carb drink: seems to work very well indeed, my current favoured solution, and I've had very few problems with cramp.

    Ensure you're well hydrated before the race, for you it may just be that you're running out of energy, as I say it'll depend on how long your races are, for me it's something about racing. I can do a 4 hour ride no problems, but a 2 hour race and I'll get cramp if I'm not careful with what I drink.

    Holland & Barrett also do Calcium, Zinc & Magnesium tablets which are meant to help - I used to take them in the run up to a race, but since using Elete water haven't bothered, and haven't noticed any detrimental effects.
  • Dave_P1
    Dave_P1 Posts: 565
    Just to update this thread with some findings.............

    I tried the Zipvit energy drink as I use some of there other products and it didn't go down too well. I've used this stuff before when I had a free trial and under normal riding conditions it was fine, but when racing my stomach felt awful. This drink did solve the cramp issue (just) which was a good thing.

    Next race and I tried the Nuun Active Hydration Tablets. At the moment I'm looking to solve the cramp issue and these were perfect. I dropped a couple of these into the Camelback I use for racing and not only did they taste good (Lemon & Lime), there was no dodgy stomach this time and not a single sign of cramp which I was pleased about.

    If anything changes then I'll come back and update this thread again.

  • John C.
    John C. Posts: 2,113
    I used to cramp up after about 50-60 miles , It was a knife point pain in the front of my thigh when I upped the power too much, once there in a ride it was always there waiting to pounce. We finally realised my diet was lacking in salt, I don't eat processed foods and don't have additional salt on my food . So, I would have a few packets of full salt crisps in the days leading up to the event. Seams to work for me.

    Fail to prepare, prepare to fail
    Hills are just a matter of pace
  • jwmlee
    jwmlee Posts: 9
    I used to suffer from lots of cramping.

    As suggested above, eat bananas before you ride - lots of potassium and a good source of energy too.

    Try electrolite drinks. I drink 250mls (half a Zero tablet) just before going out.

    Stretch afterwards. Lack of stretching causes muscle shortening and cramps. Also helps build muscle.