Cramps during swimming!!

Discussion in 'Triathlon' started by Kraftwerker, Jul 2, 2003.

  1. Kraftwerker

    Kraftwerker Guest

    Can someone give me advice on the following matter.

    In my last tri I got severe cramps in both of my legs after 500 m. of my swim. I swam on, but I
    couldn't use my legs anymore so it was very hard to endure knowing that I had to swim in open water
    for another 1000 m. It started in my calves but soon the cramps were all over my legs.

    During cycling and running I felt nothing.

    Can anybody explain to me what happened and more important how to avoid it in the future?

    The water was warm and it was without a wetsuit.

    Many thanks.
     
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  2. "Kraftwerker" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:D[email protected]...
    > Can someone give me advice on the following matter.
    >
    > In my last tri I got severe cramps in both of my legs after 500 m. of my swim. I swam on, but I
    > couldn't use my legs anymore so it was very hard to endure knowing that I had to swim in open
    > water for another 1000 m. It started in my calves but soon the cramps were all over my legs.
    >
    > During cycling and running I felt nothing.
    >
    > Can anybody explain to me what happened and more important how to avoid it in the future?
    >
    > The water was warm and it was without a wetsuit.

    1. Could just be the water temp. What you consider warm is probably quite a bit colder than body
    temp and water saps heat quite a bit more than air. Cold muscles are more likely to cramp. I
    always have trouble if I try to swim after a run.

    2. If you are swimming properly you should not be using your legs much at all. Kicks do very
    little as far a forward propulsion and are mostly there to give you good trim in the water. If
    you are kicking a lot it would probably be beneficial to find a swim coach (like at a masters
    swim) or take a look at the Total Immersion stuff. Personally I don't kick at all when I'm
    wearing a wetsuit.

    3. Could also just be you were not sufficiently trained for the distance.

    James
     
  3. Bill Wallace

    Bill Wallace Guest

    Didn't your mom tell you that you would get cramps if you swam to soon after you ate? Bad boy.

    "Kraftwerker" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:<[email protected]>...
    > Can someone give me advice on the following matter.
    >
    > In my last tri I got severe cramps in both of my legs after 500 m. of my swim. I swam on, but I
    > couldn't use my legs anymore so it was very hard to endure knowing that I had to swim in open
    > water for another 1000 m. It started in my calves but soon the cramps were all over my legs.
    >
    > During cycling and running I felt nothing.
    >
    > Can anybody explain to me what happened and more important how to avoid it in the future?
    >
    > The water was warm and it was without a wetsuit.
    >
    > Many thanks.
     
  4. Kraftwerker wrote:
    >
    > Can someone give me advice on the following matter.
    >
    > In my last tri I got severe cramps in both of my legs after 500 m. of my swim. I swam on, but I
    > couldn't use my legs anymore so it was very hard to endure knowing that I had to swim in open
    > water for another 1000 m. It started in my calves but soon the cramps were all over my legs.
    >
    > During cycling and running I felt nothing.
    >
    > Can anybody explain to me what happened and more important how to avoid it in the future?
    >
    > The water was warm and it was without a wetsuit.

    I know this might sound odd, but having had the same experience as you many times - calf cramps
    during a swim when I had no problem running or bicycling either before or after - I've found almost
    the only thing that works is making a conscious effort to relax my calf muscles while I swim. I
    don't know why but this works for me. I have yet to figure out why I seem to carry some tension in
    those muscles but obviously I do. And, even weirder, although the cramps seem to occur in the back
    of the leg, it's relaxing the muscles in the front of the leg that helps keep the leg cramps away.

    The one strategy in the pool that sometimes helps me is kick work with long flippers. If you focus
    on keeping your ankles relaxed, the long flippers help magnify the motion of the water moving your
    ankle and that seems to help.

    -S- http://www.kbnj.com
     
  5. John Hardt

    John Hardt Guest

    On 07/02/03 8:34 PM, "Steve Freides" <[email protected]> wrote:

    > I know this might sound odd, but having had the same experience as you many times - calf cramps
    > during a swim when I had no problem running or bicycling either before or after - I've found
    > almost the only thing that works is making a conscious effort to relax my calf muscles while I
    > swim. I don't know why but this works for me. I have yet to figure out why I seem to carry some
    > tension in those muscles but obviously I do. And, even weirder, although the cramps seem to occur
    > in the back of the leg, it's relaxing the muscles in the front of the leg that helps keep the leg
    > cramps away.
    >
    > The one strategy in the pool that sometimes helps me is kick work with long flippers. If you focus
    > on keeping your ankles relaxed, the long flippers help magnify the motion of the water moving your
    > ankle and that seems to help.

    I've seen and experienced this before as well. It seems to be common in people that try "too hard"
    to point their toes while kicking. Just let the water flip your feet back in fourth loosly like
    flippers and it should ease the cramping.

    John
     
  6. "John Hardt" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:BB2906B8.151D%[email protected]...
    > I've seen and experienced this before as well. It seems to be common in people that try "too hard"
    > to point their toes while kicking.

    I suppose this could cause leg cramps, but it seems to cause arch cramps more, especially
    in runners.
     
  7. Cam Wilson

    Cam Wilson Guest

    In article <[email protected]>,
    Steve Freides <[email protected]> wrote:

    > Kraftwerker wrote:
    > >
    > > Can someone give me advice on the following matter.
    > >
    > > In my last tri I got severe cramps in both of my legs after 500 m. of my swim. I swam on, but I
    > > couldn't use my legs anymore so it was very hard to endure knowing that I had to swim in open
    > > water for another 1000 m. It started in my calves but soon the cramps were all over my legs.
    > >
    > > During cycling and running I felt nothing.
    > >
    > > Can anybody explain to me what happened and more important how to avoid it in the future?
    > >
    > > The water was warm and it was without a wetsuit.
    >
    > I know this might sound odd, but having had the same experience as you many times - calf cramps
    > during a swim when I had no problem running or bicycling either before or after - I've found
    > almost the only thing that works is making a conscious effort to relax my calf muscles while I
    > swim. I don't know why but this works for me. I have yet to figure out why I seem to carry some
    > tension in those muscles but obviously I do. And, even weirder, although the cramps seem to occur
    > in the back of the leg, it's relaxing the muscles in the front of the leg that helps keep the leg
    > cramps away.
    >
    > The one strategy in the pool that sometimes helps me is kick work with long flippers. If you focus
    > on keeping your ankles relaxed, the long flippers help magnify the motion of the water moving your
    > ankle and that seems to help.
    >
    > -S- http://www.kbnj.com

    I had a terrible cramp in one of my calves on Monday night. In retrospect, I suppose I had just
    pushed myself too much that day. Earlier in the day, I had done a brick workout... bike then run. I
    pushed hard, but felt good afterward. Then in the evening I went for an unscheduled swim. I did my
    longest continuous swim to date, which lasted about 45 minutes. I was pushing it rather hard then
    too. It was right near the end of that swim (duh!) that my left calf tightened right up and I had
    to immediately stop the swim. Luckily, I was in a shallow pool so that I could just stand on the
    bottom with the other leg and massage the cramp with my hands. It was BRUTAL! I also failed to
    bring a bottle of water with me and to keep hydrated during this workout. Yes, it was a bone-headed
    thing of me to do.

    I just wasn't very aware of what was going on that day. I'm usually very good about easing off on
    the pace when doing long swims, and take little breaks to have a drink. I had to sit on the deck
    massaging that leg for about 10 minutes before I could stand. All week, including today, I have felt
    some tightness and achiness in the calf - and even the other calf feels the same way. Mind you, I've
    been rolling and massaging both of them several times per day. The calves are feeling a bit better
    each day, but it's not a nice feeling. I'll see my rolfer as soon as he can fit me into his schedule
    and he ought to fix me up. Always does.

    And I'm putting off running until this is better. The run always tightens things up further.

    Cam

    --
    Not every race can be a perfect experience, but every race can be a learning experience.
     
  8. James Goddard wrote:
    >
    > "John Hardt" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    > news:BB2906B8.151D%[email protected]...
    > > I've seen and experienced this before as well. It seems to be common in people that try "too
    > > hard" to point their toes while kicking.
    >
    > I suppose this could cause leg cramps, but it seems to cause arch cramps more, especially in
    > runners.

    Yup, I often get foot/arch/toe cramps when swimming after having run earlier in the day. But
    relaxing has been the key solution for me for those as well. I've also had thigh cramps doing breast
    stroke after having bicycled earlier in the day - same thing, I guess.

    -S-
     
  9. Cam Wilson

    Cam Wilson Guest

    In article <[email protected]>,
    Steve Freides <[email protected]> wrote:

    > James Goddard wrote:
    > >
    > > "John Hardt" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    > > news:BB2906B8.151D%[email protected]...
    > > > I've seen and experienced this before as well. It seems to be common in people that try "too
    > > > hard" to point their toes while kicking.
    > >
    > > I suppose this could cause leg cramps, but it seems to cause arch cramps more, especially in
    > > runners.
    >
    > Yup, I often get foot/arch/toe cramps when swimming after having run earlier in the day. But
    > relaxing has been the key solution for me for those as well. I've also had thigh cramps doing
    > breast stroke after having bicycled earlier in the day - same thing, I guess.
    >
    > -S-

    unfortunately, although I enjoy the breast stroke, it can activate a latent calf cramp. just the
    movement of the legs in that stroke gets the sensitive calves tingling, and then i'm all
    nervous-like about having problems. so then i switch to front crawl. it'll take me a long time to
    improve at b-stroke at this rate.

    Cam

    --
    Not every race can be a perfect experience, but every race can be a learning experience.
     
  10. Levelx

    Levelx Guest

    > I had a terrible cramp in one of my calves on Monday night. In retrospect, I suppose I had just
    > pushed myself too much that day. Earlier in the day, I had done a brick workout...

    THis is exactly what happened to me a few weeks ago. Now I am finally running again full steam
    thanks to a successful (in my mind) calf-strengthening regime that I integrated into alternate-day
    weight-training: starting slowly about a week ago, I have been gradually increasing the amount of
    calf raises and squats (as far as I can go before feeling the "burn"), and paying more attention to
    my calves when I stretch - but careful not to OVERstretch (after recovering from a torn ACL some
    time ago I will always be oversensative about that area of my leg)

    lX

    bike then run. I
    > pushed hard, but felt good afterward. Then in the evening I went for an unscheduled swim. I did my
    > longest continuous swim to date, which lasted about 45 minutes. I was pushing it rather hard then
    > too. It was right near the end of that swim (duh!) that my left calf tightened right up and I had
    > to immediately stop the swim. Luckily, I was in a shallow pool so that I could just stand on the
    > bottom with the other leg and massage the cramp with my hands. It was BRUTAL! I also failed to
    > bring a bottle of water with me and to keep hydrated during this workout. Yes, it was a
    > bone-headed thing of me to do.
    >
    > I just wasn't very aware of what was going on that day. I'm usually very good about easing off on
    > the pace when doing long swims, and take little breaks to have a drink. I had to sit on the deck
    > massaging that leg for about 10 minutes before I could stand. All week, including today, I have
    > felt some tightness and achiness in the calf - and even the other calf feels the same way. Mind
    > you, I've been rolling and massaging both of them several times per day. The calves are feeling a
    > bit better each day, but it's not a nice feeling. I'll see my rolfer as soon as he can fit me into
    > his schedule and he ought to fix me up. Always does.
    >
    > And I'm putting off running until this is better. The run always tightens things up further.
    >
    > Cam
     
  11. Cam Wilson

    Cam Wilson Guest

    In article <[email protected]>, [email protected] (levelx) wrote:

    > > I had a terrible cramp in one of my calves on Monday night. In retrospect, I suppose I had just
    > > pushed myself too much that day. Earlier in the day, I had done a brick workout...
    >
    > THis is exactly what happened to me a few weeks ago. Now I am finally running again full steam
    > thanks to a successful (in my mind) calf-strengthening regime that I integrated into alternate-day
    > weight-training: starting slowly about a week ago, I have been gradually increasing the amount of
    > calf raises and squats (as far as I can go before feeling the "burn"), and paying more attention
    > to my calves when I stretch - but careful not to OVERstretch (after recovering from a torn ACL
    > some time ago I will always be oversensative about that area of my leg)
    >
    > lX

    aye, i've been oh so careful about overstretching since that incident. i am now aware that i did
    overstretch a bit, and that contributed to the lingering tightness, which is now nearly gone.... but
    now i'm dealing with a helluva hamstring problem. it's not bad now, but during yesterday's brick
    workout, halfway thru the 8K run, my right hamstring threatened to cramp up on me. not at all
    pleasant. i stopped several times to gently stretch it and massage it. i dropped the pace a bit and
    was able to run through it and finish the workout without the ham really going bonkers on me. i only
    ever felt that sensation once before... in the final miles of my marathon a coupla years ago.... and
    i sure didn't want to have to walk 4k with that discomfort to get home last night.

    now i'm rolling and massaging and stretching (carefully) the hamstring in question. will take a bath
    in epsom salts shortly, too, to relax the tight muscles.

    will have to pay attention to some strengthening exercises again... as you pointed out, these can
    help prevent the cramps.

    Cam

    --
    Not every race can be a perfect experience, but every race can be a learning experience.
     
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