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Training or nutrition recommendations to help with cramps?

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Training or nutrition recommendations to help with cramps?

Old 07-25-22, 09:56 AM
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chiggy
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Training or nutrition recommendations to help with cramps?

I have done 6 road races and I have cramped in 4 of them! The races are mostly around the 100k distance. Early on I chalked it up to being undertrained for cycling (coming from running) since it would happen after really pushing my limit, but this last weekend I cramped while still feeling pretty good and the race had been well within my ability. About 2hrs in I threw in a couple small consecutive attacks and my hamstring cramped. I dropped 40-50s behind. Once it stopped i was able to TT my way back. But every time i'd start to attack after that i'd feel it twinge and back off. 5min from the finish i tried one more attack and my other hamstring went.
I had 2 bottles of water, one bottle of skratch superfuel, and a few gels.
Recently been riding about 7 to 10 hrs / wk (max I have time for), structured workout 1-2x / wk, and a 2.5 to 3.5hr long ride that is sometimes a pretty good tempo.

Here are my guesses on the possible reason(s). I'd welcome any suggestions on things to do before my next race.
1) I do most of my hard efforts on the trainer sitting upright on the hoods, and in the race i am putting out power in a much more aggressive position. Which maybe stressed my hamstrings more than usual? I ride in the drops comfortably and stay there for most of my long rides outside, but they are at a steady effort.
2) I do very little work above 400w aside from an occasional zwift race (been focusing on ftp since it lags behind my 1min to 5min power). So maybe just accumulated some muscle damage from doing the repeated accelerations? Maybe this combined with the position?
3) I'm not used to doing hard efforts at the end of a longer ride.
4) Maybe i need more sodium or something? The races have mostly been pretty warm, with start temps at 80 deg. I've never known myself to be a particularly heavy or salty sweater and I never had any issues with running and never drank anything.
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Old 07-27-22, 01:51 PM
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GGDaddy
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I can't talk to the training questions, because I'm not that smart.

But I will share: I used to get terrible cramps. While riding, after riding, and at night keeping me awake. Particularly fun was my right leg had a habit of cramping both the calf and the muscle above where your foot meets your leg that flexes your foot. So the calf would cramp, I'd flex my foot, cramping that muscle on top, so I'd point my foot, cramping my calf, repeat for an hour. At night. Fun times.

Finally starting taking Hammer Essential Mg. And the stuff really, really worked. My cramps are largely gone. No affiliation with Hammer, but I really love their stuff. Hope it helps.
https://hammernutrition.com/blogs/ba...t-essential-mg
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Old 07-27-22, 02:00 PM
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Taking magnesium supplements has helped me. Also pickle juice.
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Old 07-28-22, 09:11 PM
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Radish_legs
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So you never cramp in training? But you cramp in most of your races?
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Old 08-01-22, 04:40 AM
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Originally Posted by Radish_legs View Post
So you never cramp in training? But you cramp in most of your races?
Not once in training. And i used to be a collegiate runner and never cramped during a run or race over many years.

Also, i came back and did the 20k TT the next day, no cramps. So its not simply a fatigue issue if i can bury myself in a TT with no problem. There's definitely something about either the duration or the repeated mini sprints of a long road race that get me.

My long rides have been about the same duration as the road races, 2.5 to 3.5 hrs. With similar avg power, same nutrition, and same hot weather. So I'm kindof talking myself into the mini sprints being the culprit. In fact even after i started cramping in the race i could still ride steady at FTP or even a little over. Its only covering attacks that would set it off.

Last edited by chiggy; 08-01-22 at 05:07 AM.
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Old 08-01-22, 02:48 PM
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Originally Posted by chiggy View Post
Not once in training. And i used to be a collegiate runner and never cramped during a run or race over many years.

Also, i came back and did the 20k TT the next day, no cramps. So its not simply a fatigue issue if i can bury myself in a TT with no problem. There's definitely something about either the duration or the repeated mini sprints of a long road race that get me.

My long rides have been about the same duration as the road races, 2.5 to 3.5 hrs. With similar avg power, same nutrition, and same hot weather. So I'm kindof talking myself into the mini sprints being the culprit. In fact even after i started cramping in the race i could still ride steady at FTP or even a little over. Its only covering attacks that would set it off.
Do you not have a group ride in your area that an simulate a road race? We have 3 or 4 in the Dallas area that would qualify. Then you could experiment. Does it happen? What can I do to prevent it? Probably your hydration status is insufficient. If you don't have such a group ride, add intervals in your long ride that would mimic what happens in races and see if you can replicate it. If that doesn't sound doable, then just really focus on getting the right kind and amount of hydration in your next race.
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Old 08-01-22, 03:11 PM
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Originally Posted by Radish_legs View Post
Do you not have a group ride in your area that an simulate a road race? We have 3 or 4 in the Dallas area that would qualify. Then you could experiment. Does it happen? What can I do to prevent it? Probably your hydration status is insufficient. If you don't have such a group ride, add intervals in your long ride that would mimic what happens in races and see if you can replicate it. If that doesn't sound doable, then just really focus on getting the right kind and amount of hydration in your next race.
Unfortunately I am a 2 hr drive from any good group rides. Drawback of a small town. I'll definitely try adding intervals in the long ride to see if i can recreate it.
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Old 08-11-22, 02:26 PM
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Originally Posted by chiggy View Post
Not once in training. And i used to be a collegiate runner and never cramped during a run or race over many years.

Also, i came back and did the 20k TT the next day, no cramps. So its not simply a fatigue issue if i can bury myself in a TT with no problem. There's definitely something about either the duration or the repeated mini sprints of a long road race that get me.

My long rides have been about the same duration as the road races, 2.5 to 3.5 hrs. With similar avg power, same nutrition, and same hot weather. So I'm kindof talking myself into the mini sprints being the culprit. In fact even after i started cramping in the race i could still ride steady at FTP or even a little over. Its only covering attacks that would set it off.
Some of it is absolutely could be just pure fitness. Keep doing intervals and long rides. You might even do a longer ride and stick the intervals at the very end of it. A fast group ride as suggested above is another way to get used to big attacks for extended periods of time.

Also try adding more carbs in the 2-3 days leading up to the race. You'll add some extra water weight with it, but coming in a bit "waterlogged" with extra glycogen and water always helped me a lot.
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