Asked 8 years, 2 months ago

How do I beat the cramps?

I am a 54-year-old male runner and triathlete. Despite what I believe has been adequate training, hydration and sodium intake I still get severe cramping during my races. I rarely get the cramps during training. Yesterday I did a half-Ironman race in Cambridge, MD. The weather was perfect. It was overcast and not very warm. I stayed with my race plan to keep my cadence on the bike at 90 to 105, with my heart rate at 70 to 80 percent of maximum. I was comfortable until mile 38, and then suddenly my medial vastas and adductors started to cramp. This slowed my pace.

When I got off the bike as I dismounted I got severe cramps in both hamstring and adductors. I walked the best that I could and after two miles I was able to run the rest of the race. I did walk through the water stops for 10 to 20 seconds. My medial quads were painful through the whole run. This is a typical experience that I have. I have been doing all distances of triathlon as well as marathons for 17 years. It seems that during the longer races I have the most trouble. I am not sure if my training is incorrect, my salt intake too low or my calories insufficient. I am just not sure where to go from here. I have been reluctant to use salt tablets during these events. I have had my bike fitted. I have calculated out my calorie requirement and my hydration needs. Please help.

Ed Dzielak, DO
Scranton, PA


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