Forum

Cramping Help

The Forum for Endurance Athletes

Cramping Help

Postby andygarner » Sun Apr 10, 2011 2:42 pm

Hi Steve,
I hope you're doing well. I had a 33 mile bike race yesterday and cramped about 10 miles from the finish, so I'm looking for some help. This is the third time this has happened to me since last season.

Here's some basic info about yesterday's race:

I'm a 39 year-old Cat IV racer. I weigh 156 lbs. and consume about 78 oz. of water daily (and have done so for more than 6 months)

Leading up to the race, I loaded with Race Day Boost for 4 days. I recover after every ride with Recoverite. I stretch my quads and calves every day according to a Carmichael Training Systems suggestion.

I warmed up during the hour before the race for 20 minutes with easy spinning, several short bursts, and about 5 minutes of "pace."

My race started at 10am. At 8am I ate an energy bar with 8 oz. of water. At 9am I ate a banana and began sipping on a bottle of HEED. At 9:50am I finished the HEED and consumed a Hammer Gel.

The race lasted 1.5 hours and the temperature was 88F with about 50% humidity. During the race, I consumed consumed 32 oz. of HEED and 6 scoops of Endurolytes powder mixed evenly in my bottles. I drank every 10 minutes or so. In other words, I mixed two 22 oz. bottles of HEED (2 scoops each bottle) and Endurolytes powder (3 scoops each bottle) and ended up consuming about 32 oz. total during the race.

I was in the lead group, stood to go with a break, cramped, and got dropped like hotcakes. I chased down the break, only to get dropped again when I stood to accelerate after we took a right turn, and I cramped again. Ten minutes later, the whole scenario repeated. After that, I had to spin easy all the way to the finish line.

One strange thing I have noticed is that if my legs are going to cramp, I typically get a cold chill throughout my body a little while before the cramps come.

I have another race this coming Saturday with almost the exact same conditions. Any feedback you could offer would be much appreciated.

Thanks!
Andy
andygarner
 
Posts: 20
Joined: Mon Nov 15, 2010 8:49 am
Location: Nashville, TN

Re: Cramping Help

Postby wayne » Tue Apr 26, 2011 1:55 pm

I am just an athlete and I hope someone from Hammer may give you some insight also. It sounds like just miserable conditions. It sounds as if you are doing too much electrolyte; both in the Heed and in the Endurolytes combined. I am not sure what can happen if you overdo electrolytes. It could be some type inbalance in the body. It sounds like you train well and eat fairly healthy and like I said try Hammer staff first and then you may want to ask the medical staff what else it could be. No one could be comfortable in 88 degrees and high humidity.
wayne
 
Posts: 23
Joined: Sun Apr 24, 2011 2:46 pm

Re: Cramping Help

Postby andygarner » Tue Apr 26, 2011 6:33 pm

Hi Wayne,
I hope so too. 88 and humid is just getting started for racing in TN. In the summer, we often have temps in the mid-90's with over 50% humidity. Sticky!
andygarner
 
Posts: 20
Joined: Mon Nov 15, 2010 8:49 am
Location: Nashville, TN

Re: Cramping Help

Postby ezclimb » Wed Apr 27, 2011 8:20 am

I'm not sure I have an answer but my experience while many years of Adventure racing (and that of my teammates) are a bit different than Wayne's. I've witnessed and know first hand that a larger intake of Endurolytes can "fix" a cramping situation. In one scenerio, I recall cramping and taking 8 E-lytes. Rested 10 minutes and never cramped again for the rest of the race (although I did stay on top of it for the rest of the event). So, I'm not sure why you're cramping but I don't think it's for taking too much Enduros.
-Ed
ezclimb
 
Posts: 9
Joined: Fri Oct 01, 2010 12:43 pm

Re: Cramping Help

Postby wayne » Wed Apr 27, 2011 11:49 am

I did not mean to say electrolytes may be a factor in the cramping and I know they will assist a great deal in preventing cramping. I like the comment that you take a certain amount throughout the event and that works best. I was just trying to say if you experience cramping at several times in different events the amount of electrolyte may not be the problem and you may have some other type inbalance going on in the body. I am so fortunate in California that we have some heat; but rarely humidity. I know we all try to practice and do an event on a certain day; but at times the weather may simply be too extreme and we may simply have to pick a different date. I know this is extremely tough in events; but I have found I simply cannot do well on hot days.
wayne
 
Posts: 23
Joined: Sun Apr 24, 2011 2:46 pm

Re: Cramping Help

Postby natellerandi » Sat May 21, 2011 7:22 am

Hi Andy:

It sounds like you're consuming way too many calories prior to the race, for starters. The race being 33 miles, guessing it will take you less than 90min to complete (not sure how hilly or flat this particular race was). Theoretically, you could do the race on water alone.

That being said, some caloric and electrolyte support given the heat and humidity is wise. You could have gotten by with a moderate meal 3+ hours before the race start (if feasible) and then 1 Hammer gel 10-15min prior to the race start. That's it for calories pre-race. In the race, sticking to the higher end of the liquid/hour range due to the heat and humidity (24-28oz/hr) would also be wise.

However, let's think of this in a different way. With a race this short, this is most likely NOT a calorie/liquid/electrolyte problem. I can guess with a high level of confidence that instead it is a case of your body not being able to cope with the high intensities and explosive nature of bike racing. I speak from personal experience here. As a former pro triathlete (ranked top american & 6th in the world on the ITU World Cup circuit in the 90s), I never cramped. I was racing hard -- very hard -- but the effort was pretty consistent with little fluctuation. When I started competing in bike racing, I was all of a sudden having cramping issues. The only real difference is the nature of the racing.

The explosiveness puts more and different stresses on the muscles and, IMHO, affects the way the muscles fire. The overload on the muscles leads to the cramping. Think of it this way -- if you sit in a char and curl your toes, your arch will cramp up, right? Is that due to lack of electrolytes? Clearly, no. So, think of bike racing in the same way. The intense contractions of the muscles exacerbate the cramping.

My guess is that you need at adjust your training to cope with the high intensities of bike racing. So, VO2max-specific intervals (2-3min at your fastest 5min effort, or watts if you track power with 2x the rest interval, as an example) or 30-60sec all out repeats with 2-3x rest interval. Another example would be 3x10min done as 15sec on/15sec off. The "on" is done at 150% of FTP (again, if you track power). Or put another way, do the "on" at 95% of max effort. The "off" is done moderately easy, not super easy. After 10min, pedal easy for 10min.

These types of workouts will help you cope with the intensive efforts and, I'm guessing, help keep the cramping at bay.

Good luck!
Nate
natellerandi
 
Posts: 33
Joined: Thu Apr 29, 2010 10:44 am

Re: Cramping Help

Postby andygarner » Tue Jun 07, 2011 10:19 pm

UPDATE: For every race/event since my last post, I've begun using a minimum of 6 Endurolytes per hour and this has solved my cramping issues so far. I was in a race on Saturday and used 6 the first hour and 8 the second hour. No problems!
andygarner
 
Posts: 20
Joined: Mon Nov 15, 2010 8:49 am
Location: Nashville, TN

Re: Cramping Help

Postby ezclimb » Tue Jun 21, 2011 4:55 am

Sounds great! Congrats.
ezclimb
 
Posts: 9
Joined: Fri Oct 01, 2010 12:43 pm


Return to Endurance Forum

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests