Cramps. Why do they happen and how to prevent them?

3 watchers
Jul 2012
11:17am, 19 Jul 2012
755 posts
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Fat Lazy Elephant
Thanks everyone.

Wiener dog -that sounds awful, glad you're feeling better now.

Dvorak I read the articles in the links, it makes a lot of sense now. My only question was how do they define fatigue, is it from energy point of view i.e glycogen depletion,or is it just the sheer amount of repetetive movement. I definitely did not feel low on energy, in fact I oftew get faster towards the end.
And then I was still curious why I only get them in swimming not running I then googled "muscle cramps in swimming" and there was something about

1. tension in the calf caused by concious/voluntary pointing of toes (which I don't do. I mean I do point my toes but in a relaxed way as a result of "flexible ankles", not conciously using my calf muslces) and
2. just after pushing off the wall, when after explosive movement the calf muscles "freeze" into plantar flexion, which causes tension, which causes cramps.

I think point 2 is exactly what happens with me, but it does occur no earlier than after 2 hours. The answer to this apparently is regular streching...

Dvorak I think there is no need for judgemental comments regarding my training volume, I'd say its the opposite, I've been struggling with consitency since December, haven't come close to my targets even once, and often only managed 9 session per month! :-O ANd even if I did achieve my targets (100K minumum) it would still be just a fraction of what some people do. People have different goals and you couldn't possibly tell Channel swimmers do decrease their volume to prevent cramps!!!

Jul 2012
11:21am, 19 Jul 2012
9909 posts
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Jock Itch
couple of drops of Rescue Remedy Crab Apple in a glass of water. sorted. No one knows how it works but it does.
Jul 2012
11:23am, 19 Jul 2012
756 posts
  • 0
Fat Lazy Elephant
Sounds good to me ;)
Jul 2012
11:48am, 19 Jul 2012
1127 posts
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On electrolytes - I think these are actually easier to mess up than people think. Times when I've been ill and been sick a lot - sometimes even from a heavy night out drinking! - I've had deep cramps in my thighs, feels almost like sciatica, an awful dull ache. Not quite the same as the sudden sharp calf cramp you get when swimming, but it was definitely electrolyte related. A few doses of Dioralyte and it goes away.
Jul 2012
12:44pm, 19 Jul 2012
805 posts
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wiener dog
Who knows? will deffo try the rescue remedy thing tho Jock thanks :-) I was chewing electrolyte tabs all w/kend and even downed a bottle of tonic water (yick tastes gross), then there was the water downing and banana eating ( amazing what the desperate will do lol). Thing is I always put salt on my food (yes I know it's supposed to give me high BP, although mines lowish!)

So the mystery still remains - main thing is it seems to have bogged off now :-) 8.6 miles run today with no issues :-)
Aug 2012
10:08pm, 17 Aug 2012
62 posts
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The runners world book 'The runners body" suggest that the hydration / sodium stuff is based on little real scientific evidence and mainly based on research by sports drinks companies who may have an agenda . They reckon its a complex process, not fully understood and possibly a genetic response to fatigue when you're hitting your limits. It normally happens around the same period of time into a session (which is true in my case), and is best avoided by a) slowing down as you approach the fatigue period, and b) doing strength work on the affected muscle.

I've condensed 25 pages into 4 lines, so take this with a pinch of salt (see what I've done there), and I'll try the Rescue Remedy Crab Apple myself (is that to stop it happening, or cure it when it does happen?), All I know for sure is its agony.
Aug 2012
10:33pm, 17 Aug 2012
12523 posts
  • 0
Apparently, chugging back the liquid gherkins are pickled in can help, according to a back issue of Runner's World that I've recently been rereading on the bog.
Aug 2019
5:57pm, 16 Aug 2019
2217 posts
  • 0
According to the rugby side of my family some players get given pickle juice to resolve cramp issues quickly so that stacks up with Deegee's comment. I got cramps so bad after intense indoor footy last night that I starting getting all clammy etc and before I could warn the other players I was opening my eyes looking up at a load of concerned players who got all admirably first aidy on me. I will start adjusting how I eat and drink in the 2 days before footy henceforth (90 minutes of indoor madness - I can't help it). I may also switch to walking footy.

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Maintained by fetcheveryone
Apologies if this has been covered, I had a quick look and couldn't find anything relevant.


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