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Cramp

TheEnglishmanTheEnglishman Posts: 587
edited October 2012 in Road beginners
I've just done a 100 mile ride, including 6000 feet of climbing. About half way around my calves and hamstrings started cramping, especially in my left leg. I thought that would be it for the rest of the ride, but after a stop, a bit of food and a stretch I managed to finish in comfort - including a final big climb at 80 miles.

I'm assuming it got better 'cos I had an electrolyte gel - I can't think of anything else I did differently - I had energy bars and bananas regularly and drang enough water (pee stops at 20, 50 and 80)

Is there a way to avoid cramping happening on long rides or should I have just taken it a bit easier and eaten more things with salts in them?

Posts

  • FlâneurFlâneur Posts: 3,027
    Quick stretch before you head out and during any significant stops. You said you drank during which is great, but were you hydrated and salted (may not exist as a phrase but you get it I hope) before you departed?

    From any sports when ever I stop I tend to give the muscle in question a quick light stretch. On the bike it may just be at the lights and which ever leg is unclipped gets the extra workout.
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  • wilo13wilo13 Posts: 243
    I've just done a 100 mile ride, including 6000 feet of climbing.quote]


    And your posting in road beginners?
    Carrot cake or Flapjack?
  • I have not had a cramp since I started using High5 Zero electrolyte tablets.

    Well done on the ride BTW :)
    "You really think you can burn off sugar with exercise?" downhill paul
  • ShutUpLegsShutUpLegs Posts: 3,522
    wilo13 wrote:
    I've just done a 100 mile ride, including 6000 feet of climbing.quote]


    And your posting in road beginners?

    Only averaged 18.7 mph
  • I used to suffer with cramps in the evening after rides but ever since ive used Zero tablets on every ride or turbo session ive not had a single one. They are magic. I dont ever train without them now.
  • wilo13 wrote:
    I've just done a 100 mile ride, including 6000 feet of climbing.quote]


    And your posting in road beginners?

    It was my first and I only averaged 15mph. I got beaten by a guy on a Brompton. I'm a beginner at this.

    And thanks for the tips. Perhaps I need to take more salt/electrolyte before and during? I had a big bowl of porridge but didn't put any salt in it. And I usually just drink water - perhaps I should put a bit of salt in?
  • wilo13 wrote:
    And I usually just drink water - perhaps I should put a bit of salt in?

    From memory table salt is Sodium Chloride. Electrolyte tablets also contain Magnesium and Potassium.
    "You really think you can burn off sugar with exercise?" downhill paul
  • Here is High5's take on it..... http://highfive.co.uk/high5-faster-and-further/cramp
    But there are other opinions :D
    "You really think you can burn off sugar with exercise?" downhill paul
  • wilo13 wrote:
    I've just done a 100 mile ride, including 6000 feet of climbing.quote]


    And your posting in road beginners?

    It was my first and I only averaged 15mph. I got beaten by a guy on a Brompton. I'm a beginner at this.

    And thanks for the tips. Perhaps I need to take more salt/electrolyte before and during? I had a big bowl of porridge but didn't put any salt in it. And I usually just drink water - perhaps I should put a bit of salt in?

    As others have mentioned, electrolyte drinks and rehydration drinks often have more than just salt in them. When I started doing longer rides (MTB at that time), I only used water and had impressive cramp after about 4 hours. Switching to rehydration drinks definitely helped.

    I now use High 5 Energy Source (with electrolyte) on 100 mile sportives, and find them very effective. I still often get cramp - but nothing serious. I always ride through it rather than stopping - I find stopping makes it worse! When it occurs, I up my cadence and spin it out - works every time.

    On energy drinks and rehydration/electrolyte drinks - it's definitely worth using something other than plain water when taking part in endurance sport, but you don't have to go mad or spend a fortune. The this article http://www.bmj.com/content/345/bmj.e4737 makes for interesting reading and listening, in its discussion of the relationship with research and sports drink company funding, and the potential obsession amateur sportspeople end up with regarding 'hydration'. While I tend to use High 5 out of convenience, I've also had great success with ordinary squash (no added sugar) and a pinch of salt in it. There are plenty of 'do it yourself' recipes for sport drinks on the web!

    Just my 2p worth.
  • TakeTurnsTakeTurns Posts: 1,075
    Stretch before rides and make sure to cooldown properly after. A good pre-ride stretch should last 10mins. Also increase potassium intake. Works for me.
  • I did a good warm up before and warm down after - and ate a few bananas on the ride - they're full of potassium I think.

    But will definitely try switching from plain water to something a 'bit better'

    I couldn't spin out the cramp as it happened going up hill - I just carefully rode through it and had a stretch/mini massage at the next stop.
  • t.m.h.n.e.tt.m.h.n.e.t Posts: 2,265
    TakeTurns wrote:
    Stretch before rides and make sure to cooldown properly after. A good pre-ride stretch should last 10mins. Also increase potassium intake. Works for me.
    Stretching cold muscle is actually not that good. Stretch warm as part of cooldown
  • HerbsmanHerbsman Posts: 2,029
    Stretching cold muscle can actually cause injury or exacerbate existing injuries.
    CAPTAIN BUCKFAST'S CYCLING TIPS - GUARANTEED TO WORK! 1 OUT OF 10 RACING CYCLISTS AGREE!
  • I do a proper warm up - no stretching 'cold' muscle here....

    The bmj article and the TV program that was remarkably similar are interesting. Although I'm going for trial and error, which seems to be the same approach as the big companies....
  • g00seg00se Posts: 2,220
    I know there's a big question mark about electrolytes and the sports nutrition industry. But years ago I was on the Atkins diet and suffering lots of calf cramps (not during exercise - any time of day). I started taking potassium additives and the cramps stopped. I then stopped taking them and the cramps came back. Maybe just a banana before you head out will help (lots of potassium). Whenever I've cramped on the bike, it's been hot days with just water. When I've used Zero tabs I've never cramped.
  • g00se wrote:
    I know there's a big question mark about electrolytes and the sports nutrition industry. But years ago I was on the Atkins diet and suffering lots of calf cramps (not during exercise - any time of day). I started taking potassium additives and the cramps stopped. I then stopped taking them and the cramps came back. Maybe just a banana before you head out will help (lots of potassium). Whenever I've cramped on the bike, it's been hot days with just water. When I've used Zero tabs I've never cramped.


    +1

    Zero tabs are great in my opinion. Ive tried all sorts of shakes and bars over the years and a lot of the time its hard to know if anything is truly working. But with Zeros its different, you can feel the difference, ie: no cramps.

    I know there are question marks over a lot of sports nutrition but things like Zeros i dont think fall into that category, you only have to see the size of the tablet to know that what it does is basic replacement of minerals but what it does it does well. It doesnt claim to improve ability or beef you up but does claim to 'replace' which it does superbly.
  • If you exhaust all other solutions (as I did when I had problems with calf cramp for ages), diet, minerals, hydration, stretching, warm-up etc etc. . .

    . . .move your cleats back a few mm in your shoes. I did this (by 5mm) and all my problems with calf cramp disappeared, never to return.
  • wilo13wilo13 Posts: 243
    I used the High 5 zero tablets for a while now. However during a hot 100 mile plus ride I find Dioralyte is more effective (has a much higher electrolyte content than the zero tablets). My friend who has a masters in Sports science from Loughborough recommeneded it and I have never got cramp on a 100mile ride using dioralyte. Boots also do their own cheaper version which is just as good.
    Carrot cake or Flapjack?
  • PeeDeePeeDee Posts: 88
    Hallf a spoonful of "Low sodium" salt from Tesco before a ride works nearly as well as Zero tabs and is way cheaper. Contains a 50-50 potasium-sodium chloride mix, which are the main constiuents of Zero tabs. You have spare potassium in your cells which wil leach out into your blood as the ride goes on, so this is less critical than sodium which needs to be constantly replaced in food/drink as you sweat during the ride.
  • wilo13wilo13 Posts: 243
    PeeDee wrote:
    Hallf a spoonful of "Low sodium" salt from Tesco before a ride works nearly as well as Zero tabs and is way cheaper. Contains a 50-50 potasium-sodium chloride mix, which are the main constiuents of Zero tabs. You have spare potassium in your cells which wil leach out into your blood as the ride goes on, so this is less critical than sodium which needs to be constantly replaced in food/drink as you sweat during the ride.

    Why didnt I think of this, I think some squash and low sodium salt will be on my my shopping list.
    Carrot cake or Flapjack?
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