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Do You Cramp?
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Do you cramp in longer races, or any races?

Here's an interesting read for you:

http://sweatscience.com/...ion-or-electrolytes/

OK I have done my bit and I am backing away from the computer and will let the flames fly.


Steve Fleck @stevefleck | Blog
Last edited by: Fleck: Feb 3, 11 6:41
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Re: Do You Cramp? [Fleck] [ In reply to ]
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No argument here - plenty of data out there (a bunch from South Africa for some odd reason) substantiating this. I've said this for YEARS. But, the electrolyte replenishment industry, placebo effect, and crusty white salt on our clothes/face after a race are powerful detractors :-)

____________________________________
Fatigue is biochemical, not biomechanical.
- Andrew Coggan, PhD
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Re: Do You Cramp? [rroof] [ In reply to ]
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My calves and feet cramp and knot up relentlessly in the pool when training. I've tried many things and sometimes it's better and sometimes it's worse. It's rare for me to be able to go 5000 scy without bad leg and foot cramps.

A good swim for me is when I stop because I've gone far enough and not because my legs and/or feet have seized up.

I've never cramped in a race. I've never cramped biking or running either. I don't cramp in open water. I once started to almost cramp in open water but that was at the end of 5000m. Had I gone 6000m I bet they would have started.

Jay

45 AG triathlete and terrible BMX racer, Tampa FL
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Re: Do You Cramp? [Fleck] [ In reply to ]
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No argument here either. These are the findings one would expect. The fact is, unless there is some underlying renal disorder, the kidneys compensate well for electrolyte losses. I've always thought the large amount of electrolyte supplements used were overkill but fortunately, the kidneys compensate for that as well.
I'm not trying to say that athletes shouldn't use replacement and certainly, if you find you race better taking them, do so by all means. There's nothing wrong with taking full advantage of placebo effect. It may be the edge that puts you over the top.
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Re: Do You Cramp? [Fleck] [ In reply to ]
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i never had a cramp in my entire life. longest race was around 7h (mtb), longest training 7h30 (ride)

i usually do olys, and am completely exhausted at the finish line and done for the rest of the day, so i think i can suffer wuite a bit, nevertheless, no cramping

----------------------------
2012: Norseman. I'm done.
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Re: Do You Cramp? [roubaixman] [ In reply to ]
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All I know is that I always cramped during the run of Oly and HIM distances, started using Gatorlytes in my bike bottles and haven't cramped since.
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Re: Do You Cramp? [daltri1] [ In reply to ]
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Didn't read the article so maybe it's in there, but pickle juice is great for cramps. Doesn't work as a preventative measure, but at the onset of cramps, drink a little bit of pickle juice and cramps will disappear within 30 seconds - believed to have something to do with aiding in the the electrical firing of the muscle. Any old pickle juice will do, but I love the Vlassic Dills!


"It's not the will to win that matters - everyone has that. It's the will to prepare to win that matters." - Paul "Bear" Bryant
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Re: Do You Cramp? [Fleck] [ In reply to ]
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Only when it's my time of the month.

Fleck wrote:
Do you cramp in longer races, or any races?

Here's an interesting read for you:

http://sweatscience.com/...ion-or-electrolytes/

OK I have done my bit and I am backing away from the computer and will let the flames fly.

“I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.” -Jesus

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Re: Do You Cramp? [Fleck] [ In reply to ]
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I've never really cramped during any distance triathlon. However last year I had ran 2, 100 mile ultra runs where I experienced some of the most intense leg cramps in my life. I'm talking watery eyed, unable to move pain. Turns out it was just bad nutritional planning on my own part because after a slice of pizza, some soup, peanut butter and jelly sandwich, and baked potato dipped in salt I was good to go. (Yes, the aid stations at this particular ultra were great).

@ the user suggesting pickle juice - the reason why it works at replenishing electrolytes is because of the salt content, not really a special characteristic to pickles.


< Quitting Isn't An Option >

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Re: Do You Cramp? [nickwhite] [ In reply to ]
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nickwhite wrote:
Only when it's my time of the month.

[

Funny, but the horrible truth is that I've been known to take Midol before going to the pool.

It's also an excellent medication for a hangover.

Jay

45 AG triathlete and terrible BMX racer, Tampa FL
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Re: Do You Cramp? [CJS25] [ In reply to ]
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study I heard about discredited the salt argument as those subjects whose cramps were not alleviated by the salt were aided by the pickle juice - I've never tried it, just a suggestion I heard of that I thought worthy of passing on.


"It's not the will to win that matters - everyone has that. It's the will to prepare to win that matters." - Paul "Bear" Bryant
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Re: Do You Cramp? [dsimo] [ In reply to ]
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Absolutely dsimo I agree that it's worthy of passing on, and I wasn't discrediting you at all...as a pickle lover, I occasionally drink pickle juice after a very long run or ride (or just eat a bunch of pickles :) Again, I'm 99.9% certain that it helps because of the salt content again and nothing else.


< Quitting Isn't An Option >

Last edited by: CJS25: Feb 3, 11 8:21
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Re: Do You Cramp? [Fleck] [ In reply to ]
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 crampers sodium levels dropped 0.1% (+/- 1.9%), while the non-crampers increased 0.4% (+/- 2.6%).

Doesn't this bit from the study at least suggest that sodium loss could be a factor???
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Re: Do You Cramp? [monty] [ In reply to ]
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to answer your question, you can read the 75+ other studies with similar findings ...

____________________________________
Fatigue is biochemical, not biomechanical.
- Andrew Coggan, PhD
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Re: Do You Cramp? [Fleck] [ In reply to ]
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Stop the presses!

"that cramping is just one of the many unavoidable risks associated with getting as close as possible to your limits"

----------------------------------
"i disagree with your analysis [or judgment], nevertheless you have the responsibility of moderating this board so i honor your authority to make the moderating decisions."
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Re: Do You Cramp? [rroof] [ In reply to ]
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to answer your question, you can read the 75+ other studies with similar findings ...


So they all find that crampers have lower sodium levels, seems like sodium replacement would then be indicated.
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Re: Do You Cramp? [monty] [ In reply to ]
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monty wrote:
to answer your question, you can read the 75+ other studies with similar findings ...


So they all find that crampers have lower sodium levels, seems like sodium replacement would then be indicated.

No, that electrolyte replacement (for example, they look at other electrolytes like calcium, mag, etc. not just sodium) had NO effect on cramping. Na/K levels have been studied ad nauseum in medicine and they can most certainly be low/high in many disease states, show up in labs (and 0.4 to 1.4% is within normal lab reporting/error and not significant), and can be quite serious (like cardiac issues/renal failure). There are many more issues than "cramping" when so - and of course, it won't be just the muscles used (i.e. ever wonder why a cyclists/runners calf/quads cramp and not the arms if an electrolyte issue?)

____________________________________
Fatigue is biochemical, not biomechanical.
- Andrew Coggan, PhD
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Re: Do You Cramp? [monty] [ In reply to ]
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Do you think there is a real difference between 0.1 and 0.4 when the standard dev (or standard error) is 10x to 20x larger than the change
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Re: Do You Cramp? [npage148] [ In reply to ]
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Do you think there is a real difference between 0.1 and 0.4 when the standard dev (or standard error) is 10x to 20x larger than the change

To be fair to the numbers, you left out some +/- there. It was -.1 and +.4, or about for a 40% bigger difference than you quoted.. And I'm puzzled at the standard deviation and why they are different for the two groups? Of course it is within the margins, but does it not at least suggest something might be there??

I understand that people that extend themselves tend to cramp more, I'm one of those people. But when I extend myself, I lose more sodium than if I don't. I get tested quite often, and if my sodium levels test low, I'm more prone to cramping. When I supplement it, I almost always am cramp free. Could it be that for many it is a formula like this; going very/too hard=lower sodium levels=cramping?
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Re: Do You Cramp? [monty] [ In reply to ]
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I did miss that the crampers were negative and non-crampers went positive. But it really doesn't change the fact that +/- 1SD of sodium change is -2% --1.8% change for the crampers and -2.2% to 3% for the nons. In addition, the difference between the 2 groups is not significantly different statistically even with a pretty big sample size
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Re: Do You Cramp? [monty] [ In reply to ]
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Doesn't this bit from the study at least suggest that sodium loss could be a factor???

Mark,

I am not an expert, but my guess is that there are possibly those who are more pre-disposed in some way to cramping due to some form of electrolyte imbalance let's say. I know that from your posts here and your past experiences you may be one of those folks. But many in the business, many coaches and many athletes think it's an across-the-board thing: If you are getting cramps, take salt! Consequently, just about everything you read now advocates for triathletes to supplement with sodium. The nutritional business has obliged by putting salt in all kinds of stuff that you can eat/drink while racing or training. This in my estimation is way over-kill and is spreading false information.

My experience: 20+ years of running and triathlon racing at a modest level never any issues of cramping. The only time I ever cramped was in my return to road racing a few years ago. In way over my head with a completely different kind of riding with guys way fitter than me, on a cool day and for a race lasting only about 90 min, legs absolutely trashed by the time we get to the field sprint at the end, I rise to begin my sprint and my calves completely lock up on me in cramp. Dehydrated? Sodium depleted? Neither is my guess. Going way too hard for given fitness or not specific enough training - yes.

My pet theory of why so many triathletes are getting so many cramps: With all due respect, too many triathletes, racing too long, too soon without an adequate base of training and training specificity behind them!



Steve Fleck @stevefleck | Blog
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Re: Do You Cramp? [Fleck] [ In reply to ]
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But many in the business, many coaches and many athletes think it's an across-the-board thing: If you are getting cramps, take salt!\\

Well that is the exact feeling I've been getting from the many threads on this very topic, but from the other side. I have never said anything is across the board, in fact I make sure to tell my expirences along with those that are the polar opposites. Paula, Erin, Dave, and a lot of top athletes over the years do very well with none or little supplementation. They are the model that this other group would have you believe we are all like. But then there is Welchy, Molina, Rapp, and just as many as the other group, that supplement heavy, and do quite well also. Now you have your personal example of cramping, but I ask again, couldn't it have been excessive exercise=sodium loss=cramping?? You have the 1st and last parts of the equation, but how do you know the middle variable is not present too? Do you think all those great athletes I mentioned as salt supplementers were also undwertrained and not prepared for their events?

What i see here is too much religion on both sides of the issue, but more so on no supplement side. Most of the people that defend salt are like me, telling their stories and offering that advice to those that are crampers that ask the question, as one possible solution. The other side just tells them that it is a placebo affect, HTFU, you are cramping because you are out of shape, or cannot pace well. Which are all valid reasons, just not the only ones..
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Re: Do You Cramp? [Fleck] [ In reply to ]
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ive had only very minor and temporary cramps and it has always followed some sort of extreme effort I was not prepared for.



Kat Hunter reports on the San Dimas Stage Race from inside the GC winning team
Aeroweenie.com -Compendium of Aero Data and Knowledge
Freelance sports & outdoors writer Kathryn Hunter
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Re: Do You Cramp? [monty] [ In reply to ]
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Your feeling is precisely why these studies were done. The entire aim of a well designed *scientific* is for reproducibility and answers.

Accupuncture has been around for a thousand years, so must do something, right? But to date, *science* can't reproduce any findings. Doesn't necessarily mean it doesn't "work".

____________________________________
Fatigue is biochemical, not biomechanical.
- Andrew Coggan, PhD
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Re: Do You Cramp? [monty] [ In reply to ]
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What i see here is too much religion on both sides of the issue, but more so on no supplement side. Most of the people that defend salt are like me, telling their stories and offering that advice to those that are crampers that ask the question, as one possible solution. The other side just tells them that it is a placebo affect, HTFU, you are cramping because you are out of shape, or cannot pace well. Which are all valid reasons, just not the only ones.

Mark,

I agree with. I know enough about the science and from my personal experience that I suspect that, there is going to be a range here, and that there will be individuality regarding this. However, I will stick with my thought in the last paragraph of my previous post that amongst many age-group and rec triathletes, the cramping is coming from doing too much, for too long, too soon. Would so many, be having so many problems, if there was a more gradual and rational build-up in training and racing?




Steve Fleck @stevefleck | Blog
Last edited by: Fleck: Feb 3, 11 9:58
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