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Training & Nutrition Learn how to develop a training schedule that's good for you. What should you eat and drink on your ride? Learn everything you need to know about training and nutrition here.

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Old 04-03-07, 07:29 AM   #1
Coyote2
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How to fight cramping?

Hello All.

Recently, after a couple of hard interval workouts, I have gotten some pretty bad cramps in my quads -- usually after finishing the intervals and while riding back into town. Yesterday I was finishing up 38 miles, after doing 6x10 min intervals at RPE17 or so, and had consumed an energy gel (the kind with extra sodium) + water + Gatorade Endurance (has extra sodium); as I slow-pedalled into town, geez the quads cramped up and hurt like hell.

Any advice on avoiding this, or do I just have to train through it? Thanks in advance.
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Old 04-03-07, 08:03 AM   #2
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Usually it's lack of base. It's not sodium. Try taking a cal/mag pill right after the intervals: 500 mg calcium w/250mg magnesium. Put in plenty of zone 2 time and it shouldn't be a problem, but that's just me; YMMV.
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Old 04-03-07, 08:07 AM   #3
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Drink more water.
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Old 04-03-07, 08:55 AM   #4
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yeah. electrolytes should include potassium and magnesium. we get enough sodium in our diet to fuel intervals and such. try some electolyte pills. on long rides with plenty of climbing i've had friends chew on an endurloyte and spit out the shelling. i rather swallow them that eat 'em.
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Old 04-03-07, 05:51 PM   #5
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Taking magnesium and potassium will help. Magnesium is a muscle relaxer but avoid too much calcium as calcium counters the effect of magnesium.

Regards, Anthony
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Old 04-03-07, 05:56 PM   #6
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Bananas: cheap potasium.
Water: cheap hydration.
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Old 04-03-07, 07:25 PM   #7
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Sounds partly like lack of conditioning and partly hydration/electrolytes. To do 6x10min intervals, you should've done plenty of 10x1m or pyramids first to build up muscle-strength and efficiency. On the nutrition front, check out these previous threads:

Why do I cramp so much?
Combating CRAMPS; running out of ideas!! PLEASE HELP! (before & after report on the solution)

Sports-drinks are woefully inadequate at supplying the necessary electrolytes and glucose to replenish what you burn up on a ride. You probably don't need much glucose on a 38mile ride, but should have had 500-750ml of water. Could also be lack of electrolytes, so throw in some tablets, these have a balanced amount of sodium, potassium, magnesium, calcium, etc. to even out what you sweated away.
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Old 04-03-07, 09:02 PM   #8
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I've been fighting with cramping all winter for some reason. But I have been experimenting and have come to the conclusion that when I just drink a few cups of coffee during the day at work, I cramp. But if I knock back a litre of water in the afternoon, not only am I more awake than I am when I drink a cup of coffee, not only do I feel better in general than when I drink a lot of coffee, but there is a greatly reduced chance of cramping when I get on my trainer or the spin bikes and do a workout.

For short rides like what you did, it might not matter so much what you drink during the ride, but more what you've been drinking during the day.
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Old 04-04-07, 07:15 AM   #9
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Cramping sucks....I had some cramping too. One time they were so bad it felt like my quads were ripping off the bone. With that being said, I found that it was a combination of not enough base miles for the intesity, balancing out my gels, electolyte drinks, and water. Mostly, I think it was the base miles for me. So I slowed down and the cramping is gone. I hope this helps. Go get 'em!!!!!!
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Old 04-04-07, 08:05 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DannoXYZ
Sports-drinks are woefully inadequate at supplying the necessary electrolytes and glucose to replenish what you burn up on a ride.
well said. i believe they must be supplemented with powders, gels and tablets.
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Old 04-04-07, 01:19 PM   #11
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What about no-xplode? Is that good to use? I've been trying that out before I hop on the bike trainer as well as amino pills during the day before I train in the afternoon.
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Old 04-04-07, 01:28 PM   #12
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Try a self deep tissue massage. Its really easy with lotion or massage oil. Use your thumbs and press firmly. On the Vastus lateralis(the muscle on your outter thigh), vastus intermedius (middle of quad), and medialis intermedius(inner quad muscle). Using your thumbs start from the top of the muscle and slide your thumbs pressing firmly down to the knee working on one particular muscle,( not all at the same time) pressing firmly almost to the point where it hurts a little. You will notice after a few minutes your quads will loosen up quite a bit.

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Old 04-04-07, 04:20 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MHR224
... Using your thumbs start from the top of the muscle and slide your thumbs pressing firmly down to the knee working on one particular muscle...
I recommend to never work a muscle hard in a direction away from the heart, in this case meaning 'down'.
sounds almost as much fun as a good poke in the eye.
but, hey, its your meat, go at it
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Old 04-07-07, 10:28 PM   #14
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Quinine found in tonic water is one of the few things shown to reduce cramping.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quinine

Kind of interesting.
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