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Monday, April 21, 2008

The Limit - Cramping

Every endurance event teaches me something.

At the half marathon, I kept a faster pace than I was used to over the distance, and the new intensity drained my energy. I bonked, was very close to the wall.

Lesson: fuel up, keep the gels and energy drinks going!

During Paris to Ancaster, I had major cramping, to the point that my quad was absolutely locked and wouldn't release. I've had this once before, when I came back and did a 65K ride after being injured for 2 months and not training... so I already pretty much know the answer to this one!

Causes of Cramps (source: here and

1. Undertraining

The most common cause is under-training. I haven't had much time on the bike this spring, it was colder later and it was tough to get out, plus I was battling a knee injury. So the 3-4 times I got out just weren't enough. This was probably the reason for my case.

2. Hydration

This might have played a role. I didn't bring that much water - two big water bottles, and one little one that I almost finished before the race even started. I managed to grab a bottled water along the way, too, but only about half of it made it into my mouth.

3. Electrolytes

I read a few theories here, but most point to salt, potassium, calcium, or magnesium. Sports drinks cover salt and potassium, but I might just carry Rolaids next time for calcium and magnesium.

Endurolytes sounds like a way to go - everything in a pill.

So I'll start carrying some of this stuff as back-up, but I'm pretty confident the issue was just a training thing. I've done harder rides without problems, but not usually so early in the season.

1 comment:

Darren said...

Looks like you got all the bases covered as far as cramps go.
The race sounds like a blast, had no idea it was so big.