/ Cramps during intense excercise

This topic has been archived, and won't accept reply postings.
Dave Kerr - on 01 Oct 2013
My participation (and times) in both the Tour de Ben Nevis and Three Peaks CX were marred by really intense cramps in my inner thigh and quads.

The trigger appeared to be the transition between carrying the bike and riding.

I'm aware that the most common cause is electrolyte deficiency but this is unlikely here as they began about 2 hrs into the rides and I had been using electrolyte drinks in both.

After the TdBN experience I made sure I warmed up thoroughly prior to the 3 peaks but if anything the cramps were worse.

Any suggestions?
steelbru - on 01 Oct 2013
In reply to Dave Kerr:
Most people think cramps is caused by electrolyte loss, but there have been a lot of studies done recently which show that electrolytes do not actually play much if any part in it, but it is purely down to untrained muscles.

I've read this on a number of sites, but afraid I can't provide links to any of the studies.

Do you do any long training rides with both cycling and carrying ?
Dave Kerr - on 01 Oct 2013
In reply to steelbru:
> (In reply to Dave Kerr)
> > Do you do any long training rides with both cycling and carrying ?

Yes, I prepared thoroughly for the event. I did 'go deep' in both events and that was my first thought, that I'd just over cooked it.

JLS on 01 Oct 2013
In reply to Dave Kerr:

Have you been getting the cramps during training?

If not then it would suggest that there is a mismatch between the level you are training at and the level you are trying to race at.

Are you using a heart rate monitor to pace yourself? This would highlight any difference between training and race efforts. Ie if you are riding for 3hr at 150bpm in training then trying to race for 4hr at 160bpm it wouldn't be a surprise if you run into problems.
MischaHY - on 01 Oct 2013
In reply to Dave Kerr: Regular training to the intensity that you intend to compete is key to avoiding cramp. However, I've personally found salt deficiency in particular can be a major cause.
Dave Kerr - on 01 Oct 2013
In reply to JLS:
> (In reply to Dave Kerr)
>
>
> If not then it would suggest that there is a mismatch between the level you are training at and the level you are trying to race at.
>

I'm starting to think that this is the case.
TimB - on 02 Oct 2013
In reply to Dave Kerr:

A friend and I both had similar experiences (me with mountain biking, him with trail running), where our training had included long workouts, and intense workouts, but then on race day the combination of length AND intensity was too much and we both had bad cramps.

Reading up on cramps later on lead me to some of the stuff that IainRUK on here referenced about ultra-distance running, like this: http://www.irunfar.com/2012/07/waterlogged-a-dogma-shattering-book.html and this http://www.pikeathletics.com/blog/exploring-causes-of-exercise-associated-muscle-cramps-part-iii (and others..)

It seems that cramps are a neurological effect, only indirectly related to blood chemistry. It's your brain telling over-used muscles to shut down.

However, lots of people still say that salt tablets or salty food relieves cramp - this is backed up by a study in which people drank pickle juice (urrrr). The interesting thing here is that salt tablets or salty juice relieve cramp in 30 to 90 seconds. This is held to be too fast for blood chemistry changes and reinforces the idea that it's neurological: the TASTE of salt makes the brain stop cramping up the muscles.

So current advice seems to be to increase intensity in training, carry salt tablets just in case and don't drink too much. All things that I will bear in mind if I ever do another race.
SteveRi - on 02 Oct 2013
The 3PCX is a very crampy course - I've suffered each time (from full-on locked-up having to pummel muscles to get them to relax, to lots of twinges, just on the edge where you can barely turn the pedals. I've gone from thinking it was electrolytes to plain old 'not fit enough'. It's hard to really replicate that load in training when you're just grabbing the odd hour here and there.
steelbru - on 02 Oct 2013
In reply to Dave Kerr:
That irunfar article has lots of very thought provoking content - maybe I'm wasting my money buying Nuun tabs.............
ads.ukclimbing.com
Dave Kerr - on 02 Oct 2013
In reply to SteveRi:
> The 3PCX is a very crampy course -

I was not alone. There were many fellow sufferers strewn by the trailside. It seems to be the transition between walking and riding that is the problem.

This topic has been archived, and won't accept reply postings.