Advice on Cramp

scottarm Posts: 119
edited June 2011 in Road beginners
my first post so go easy on me

I've had a road bike for few years now and have started entering fun runs, so far I have completed 2 100Ks and I am due to do a 150K in August

the problem I seem to have is my thighs cramp up about 85K, in my last run I tried for about 5k to ride it out and spin my legs but in the end I had to give in and stop and stretch once I did I was fine to carry on and finish the 100K

any advice how to avoid this, is it just fitness, am I not pacing myself or did I not take enough sugar / gels on the run



  • chrishd883
    chrishd883 Posts: 159
    There are various theories on cramp, but TBH nobody knows the exact cause / cure.
    But as your body becomes use to the loads you are putting on it things will improve.

    Food and drink strategies are important for long rides.
    You'll need to find out what works for you.

    Causes can - according to theories - be due to several factors: Body conditioning (i.e. you'll improve over time), dehydration, lack of salts / electrolytes and potassium.

    So keep riding - and on long rides drink! Try out some of the sports drinks if you want.
    Don't forget bananas for your potassium!

    But you've done two 100k rides and considering 150k? Well done & good luck.
  • after 85km i'd say you're not drinking enough and your muscles are going into spasm (cramp). It's an involuntary reflex of the muscle that can lock the muscle.

    You need to keep your fluid, and particularly salt at normal levels in your body. When you sweat you lose salts and the absence of these are one of the main factors behind it.

    How much are you drinking on these rides? You should really be aiming at about 500ml in the first 2 hours (at least) and then about 400-600ml per hour after that. This would be in normal cool conditions, obviously as the temperature goes up, the more you sweat and the more you need to replace.

    Pretty much the same as above has can help it by taking a couple of bananas with you when you are doing the big rides and much one while riding after each 40 miles or so. Also i use electrolyte tablets (1 in my 2nd water bottle and 1 in my back pocket just in case).

    One of the major problems people have is that by the time you get cramp it's usually too late to do anything about and you have to stop. Then you end up over-drinking and being bloated. Make sure you're properly hydrated before you start a ride and just keep yourself topped up. Little and often.....

    Good luck
  • Philby
    Philby Posts: 328
    Nuun tablets or similar are your friend. As above keep hydrated before and during rides. I also find the occasional sports massage helps loosen the tightness from the muscles.
  • Was talking to my physio this morning about cramp and tight muscles and she said that it's best to start really hydrating 2-3 days before a ride or event. That way you just need to top yourself up on the day and you're not bloated....

    common sense i suppose, but something i'd not considered before
  • scottarm
    scottarm Posts: 119
    cheers guys I don't think I drank enough on the first half so what you are saying rings true, for general training is lucozade sport ok or is there anything better, ive heard the store brand iso drinks are just as good

  • anything with a decent electrolyte content is good...

    High5 tablets are available (and i use them) and they disolve in water....
  • PeeDee
    PeeDee Posts: 88
    I used to get cramp after every long ride. Adding rehydration sachets to drinks sorted it for me.