How to avoid lower leg cramps?

Discussion in 'Road Cycling' started by Ed Alban, Sep 15, 2003.

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  1. Ed Alban

    Ed Alban Guest

    Well, I'm just starting to workout on the bike (I usually swim and run). Am riding about 3 times a
    week these days, hoping to do more in the next few weeks. Yesterday, I went on a long solo ride.
    Well, "long" for me was about 28 miles, and it took me about 2.5 hours. Lots of steep little hills
    on the route and one long 15-min climb on the way home. I was enjoying myself until the last 45
    minutes when pains of hunger overcame me. I only carried a water bottle. At the top of the long
    climb, I was stopped at a light. As is my habit, I stood up on the pedals when I got the green light
    and my left calf just gave out under me. I had to turn around to the curb and slump on the ground
    clutching my left lower leg. My left foot was pointed straight down and it took a few minutes for
    the pain to ease and for the ankle to loosen up. Was the lack of food related to my cramps? And, how
    can I avoid them in the future?
     
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  2. Rod

    Rod Guest

    Usually cramps are caused by failing to drink enough fluids during exercise so you can try drinking
    more water or Gatorade. Also, try to drink BEFORE you get thirsty to give the fluid time to get into
    the muscle tissue. You can buy the larger water bottles (22oz)and put 2 bottle brackets on your bike
    or use the camelback. Hope this helps.

    Rod H.

    [email protected] (Ed Alban) wrote in message
    news:<[email protected]>...
    > Well, I'm just starting to workout on the bike (I usually swim and run). Am riding about 3 times a
    > week these days, hoping to do more in the next few weeks. Yesterday, I went on a long solo ride.
    > Well, "long" for me was about 28 miles, and it took me about 2.5 hours. Lots of steep little hills
    > on the route and one long 15-min climb on the way home. I was enjoying myself until the last 45
    > minutes when pains of hunger overcame me. I only carried a water bottle. At the top of the long
    > climb, I was stopped at a light. As is my habit, I stood up on the pedals when I got the green
    > light and my left calf just gave out under me. I had to turn around to the curb and slump on the
    > ground clutching my left lower leg. My left foot was pointed straight down and it took a few
    > minutes for the pain to ease and for the ankle to loosen up. Was the lack of food related to my
    > cramps? And, how can I avoid them in the future?
     
  3. Andrew Price

    Andrew Price Guest

    "Rod" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    > Usually cramps are caused by failing to drink enough fluids during exercise so you can try
    > drinking more

    ... and if that fails see if you are not slightly magnesium deficient - we tend to get lots of
    sodium (salt etc) in our diet but if you are doing some serious regular sweating could be your down
    on magnesium, which does tend to cause cramps - a top up worked for me.

    simple blood test should answer the question - best Andrew
     
  4. Peter Cole

    Peter Cole Guest

    "Ed Alban" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > Well, I'm just starting to workout on the bike (I usually swim and run). Am riding about 3 times a
    > week these days, hoping to do more in the next few weeks. Yesterday, I went on a long solo ride.
    > Well, "long" for me was about 28 miles, and it took me about 2.5 hours. Lots of steep little hills
    > on the route and one long 15-min climb on the way home. I was enjoying myself until the last 45
    > minutes when pains of hunger overcame me. I only carried a water bottle. At the top of the long
    > climb, I was stopped at a light. As is my habit, I stood up on the pedals when I got the green
    > light and my left calf just gave out under me. I had to turn around to the curb and slump on the
    > ground clutching my left lower leg. My left foot was pointed straight down and it took a few
    > minutes for the pain to ease and for the ankle to loosen up. Was the lack of food related to my
    > cramps? And, how can I avoid them in the future?

    Forget all the talk of dehydration & electrolytes, you just had muscular fatigue. Increase your
    mileage gradually and you shouldn't have a problem with cramps. Muscular fatigue is more likely to
    cause cramping if you contract them very strongly, so for endurance, it works better to use a lower
    gear when climbing hills to try to avoid the "burn" of fatigue. Also, ankle cramps may be a sign of
    flexing the foot too much during the pedal stroke. This may be a result of having the saddle too
    high, such that you have to "reach" for the pedal at the bottom of the stroke, or it may be from a
    deliberate affectation of pedaling style "ankling" - a bad idea. Most likely it's just fatigue.
    Often, when the main pedaling muscles get tired, particularly on hills, people unconsciously shift
    the load to smaller muscles (like the calf), this can explain why you can get cramps in unlikely
    spots sometimes.
     
  5. Trg

    Trg Guest

    I had calf cramps for years. I finally started taking magnesium supplements and they've gone away. I
    chew a fair bit of Tums (calcium summplment/anti-acid) and too much (or too little) calcium can
    reduce the amount of magnesium available. Watch out for that. could take a couple of weeks to undo
    the imbalance.

    "Andrew Price" <[email protected]> a √©crit dans le message news:
    [email protected]
    >
    > "Rod" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    > > Usually cramps are caused by failing to drink enough fluids during exercise so you can try
    > > drinking more
    >
    > ... and if that fails see if you are not slightly magnesium deficient - we tend to get lots of
    > sodium (salt etc) in our diet but if you are doing
    some
    > serious regular sweating could be your down on magnesium, which does tend
    to
    > cause cramps - a top up worked for me.
    >
    > simple blood test should answer the question - best Andrew
     
  6. Roadylou

    Roadylou New Member

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    [Was the lack of food related to my cramps? And, how
    can I avoid them in the future?]
    I think that you already know what to do to avoid these.
    Try taking alone gels and pnce you start taking them. Keep taking one every 10 miles at this point.
    Food can be only one thing to cause cramps. Most of the time it's WATER that cause or not eough.
    Riding and training for bigs ride ..like the one you do took when they came. Should be taking with steps.
    I most say that if your doing three days of riding and one day of spinning. Your legs should be able to ride out for some miles.
    If it sounds like to talk to much. Am a team riding out here in San Francisco andI know all about hills.
    And we ride for hours durring the week and on the weekend we ride for about 80 to 120 miles. But if it's cross session like now we hot the trails for about 40 miles or less on the mountain bikes. Just remember before any big even if the miles are not like the teams . You should bring gels with you. They work to avoid that nasty road cramps. Good luck out there reply I look forward to hearing from you [[[ [email protected]]]] Later
     
  7. Tom Keats

    Tom Keats Guest

    In article <[email protected]>,

    ...

    > Food can be only one thing to cause cramps. Most of the time it's WATER that cause or not eough.

    In my own empirical experience, it's lack of sufficient sleep that brings on calf cramps. I opine
    that sleep is necessary for cellular regeneration -- if the muscles don't get a fair chance to
    repair themselves during sleep, cramps result, no matter how many bananas one eats or how much
    slightly saline water one drinks. I've verified this conjecture on my part to some extent, after
    enduring some working all-nighters.

    cheers, Tom

    --
    -- Powered by FreeBSD Above address is just a spam midden. I'm really at: tkeats [curlicue] vcn
    [point] bc [point] ca
     
  8. Roadylou

    Roadylou New Member

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    OK Tom

    In reg to cramps..Anything that one can due to avoid them. Is nothing short of being Great. We are all right.
    Hey buddy , What I want to hear about is. What extent did you go to ?
    I can say this that in all the years of riding , I have found that on the day. Of the ride my body did not have eough WATER. I have gotten cramps, But, REST & WATER are very importment for cycling 28 miles or 89 miles rides...Lets just all becareful and have lots of fun doing this. ...Later roadylou

    ...

    > Food can be only one thing to cause cramps. Most of the time it's WATER that cause or not eough.

    In my own empirical experience, it's lack of sufficient sleep that brings on calf cramps. I opine
    that sleep is necessary for cellular regeneration -- if the muscles don't get a fair chance to
    repair themselves during sleep, cramps result, no matter how many bananas one eats or how much
    slightly saline water one drinks. I've verified this conjecture on my part to some extent, after
    enduring some working all-nighters.

    cheers, Tom

    --
    -- Powered by FreeBSD Above address is just a spam midden. I'm really at: tkeats [curlicue] vcn
    [point] bc [point] ca [/B][/QUOTE] :cool: :cool: :cool:
     
  9. Tom Keats

    Tom Keats Guest

    In article <[email protected]>, Roadylou <[email protected]> writes:
    > OK Tom
    >
    > In reg to cramps..Anything that one can due to avoid them. Is nothing short of being Great. We are
    > all right. Hey buddy , What I want to hear about is. What extent did you go to ? I can say this
    > that in all the years of riding , I have found that on the day. Of the ride my body did not have
    > eough WATER. I have gotten cramps,

    All I'm saying is: no matter now much you hydrate and natrate, if you don't get enough *real* sleep,
    leg cramps can still happen.

    > But, REST & WATER are very importment for cycling 28 miles or 89 miles rides...

    Exactly. Especially rest. Especially in this sleep-deprived, work-work-work society. Calvinism is
    antithetical to cycling <g>

    Ppl talk about hydration and sodium and potassium in re: cramps. Nobody ever mentions
    sufficient sleep.

    > Lets just all be careful and have lots of fun doing this

    Sounds good to me.

    I'm almost ready to declare: "screw work ethic". I almost wish I could. But something holds me back.

    cheers, Tom

    --
    -- Powered by FreeBSD Above address is just a spam midden. I'm really at: tkeats [curlicue] vcn
    [point] bc [point] ca
     
  10. David Kerber

    David Kerber Guest

    In article <[email protected]>, [email protected] says...
    > In article <[email protected]>, Roadylou <[email protected]> writes:
    > > OK Tom
    > >
    > > In reg to cramps..Anything that one can due to avoid them. Is nothing short of being Great. We
    > > are all right. Hey buddy , What I want to hear about is. What extent did you go to ? I can say
    > > this that in all the years of riding , I have found that on the day. Of the ride my body did not
    > > have eough WATER. I have gotten cramps,
    >
    > All I'm saying is: no matter now much you hydrate and natrate, if you don't get enough *real*
    > sleep, leg cramps can still happen.

    Do you think it's actually the *sleep*, or just letting off your feet and giving your
    muscles a rest?

    --
    Dave Kerber Fight spam: remove the ns_ from the return address before replying!

    REAL programmers write self-modifying code.
     
  11. Zoot Katz

    Zoot Katz Guest

    Sat, 25 Oct 2003 20:10:47 -0400, <[email protected]>, David Kerber
    <[email protected]_ids.net> wrote:

    >> All I'm saying is: no matter now much you hydrate and natrate, if you don't get enough *real*
    >> sleep, leg cramps can still happen.
    >
    >Do you think it's actually the *sleep*, or just letting off your feet and giving your
    >muscles a rest?

    That's when I usually get cramps. Rarely do they occur on the bike or walking. Most often I'm able
    to consciously relax them gone.

    Right now I'm experimenting with a restricted dairy regime.

    I noticed when I was hitting milk and ice cream heavily this summer, I was getting cramps in my
    lower leg and foot almost every day. It didn't seem to matter much about sleep (I was aware of
    Tom's theory).

    Then during a grape feast, I realised I hadn't had any cramps. After I'd added everything back to my
    diet, except milk products, still had no cramps and some periods of little sleep, regular riding,
    increased work and trying soy beverages.

    A friend came over for coffee.I know they like cream in their coffee so I went to the corner store
    and they were all out of small cartons so I bought a liter and ended up consuming the rest of it
    over the next two days. The second and third day, I had foot cramps.

    Now, I've had a few slices of pizza or one coffee with cream or a latte, or a cheese sandwich or a
    small yogurt in one day and not had any cramps yet. So, I'll increase the dairy and see at what
    point they reoccur.

    I drink at least 1.5 liter of water every day, regardless of temperature or milage.

    I'm not saying milk causes muscle cramps though it might be a factor with some individuals.
    --
    zk
     
  12. >I'm not saying milk causes muscle cramps though it might be a factor with some individuals.

    I'm lactose intolerant but my cramps are definitely hydration related.

    I can eat cheese and take other dairy products in a limited way but milk or real ice cream means a
    trip to the john shortly after.

    Heh, ain't life wonderful.

    --

    _______________________ALL AMIGA IN MY MIND_______________________ ------------------"Buddy Holly,
    the Texas Elvis"------------------
    __________306.350.357.38>>[email protected]__________
     
  13. Tom Keats

    Tom Keats Guest

    In article <[email protected]>, David Kerber <[email protected]_ids.net> writes:

    >> All I'm saying is: no matter now much you hydrate and natrate, if you don't get enough *real*
    >> sleep, leg cramps can still happen.
    >
    > Do you think it's actually the *sleep*, or just letting off your feet and giving your
    > muscles a rest?

    As we all know, a lot of physiological maintenance work gets done during deep, relaxed,
    whatchamacallit (beta?)-wave sleep.

    I figure if we interrupt that, our physical systems revolt in protest of the abuse we dish out to
    them, as we heap today's wear-&-tear and depletions onto yesterday's. So our nerves make hostages of
    our muscles, and become crampogenic until we meet their demands and give 'em a break.

    Meanwhile, without the cellular regeneration that goes on during sleep, the muscles aren't in such
    good shape, themselves. Maybe sleep is necessary to assimilate and conserve a base level of
    natration -- enough to keep the nerves happy.

    cheers, Tom

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    -- Powered by FreeBSD Above address is just a spam midden. I'm really at: tkeats [curlicue] vcn
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  14. Tom Keats

    Tom Keats Guest

    In article <3F[email protected]>, "Eric S. Sande" <[email protected]> writes:

    > I can eat cheese and take other dairy products in a limited way but milk or real ice cream means a
    > trip to the john shortly after.
    >
    > Heh, ain't life wonderful.

    This morning, during my usual ablutions and bathroom routine, I thought I was dying. Internal
    bleeding. "Aw sh*t, what have I got now? Ulcer? Colon cancer?"

    Just as I was about to make my peace with my Maker, I remembered pigging-out a little last night, on
    my sister-in-law's scrumptuous pickled beets.

    cheers, Tom

    --
    -- Powered by FreeBSD Above address is just a spam midden. I'm really at: tkeats [curlicue] vcn
    [point] bc [point] ca
     
  15. Roadylou

    Roadylou New Member

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    Hi Tom Buddy
    It's Roadylou
    Lets talk some about things MY address is [email protected]..
    Later Lou
     
  16. Roadylou

    Roadylou New Member

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    Hi Tom
    Lets talk about something that happen this weekend here.
    It's been a long time that WE [the team ] was riding in the bay area in this heat. We had a weekend training ride of 24 riders and four new comers to the team. We went out for a 86 mile ride to Point Reyes Station in Marin Country. From San Francisco .The temps were about 96F outside of the city and would you not guess that someone on the ride got cramps. This guys is very long time rider in cycling and did not have a shortness of water and or rest on his part. So I was thinking about this subject and I had to ask him if you could give me a reason for these cramps.
    He could only say that " I would have to say that they may had come from just pushing to hard on his training program"
    This was something that I believe in and I was thinking that.
    Someday if you want to I could send you copys or have you join in one of our team open groups.
    We just talk about things like cramps and or training program. If this is something you would like to join in on ..Let me Know
     
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