Avoiding cramp

Been zwifting since December doing free rides and longer distances and never had cramp.

Started doing races now my calf muscles are cramping about half way through each race.

I have a couple of questions:

  1. Do you power through it? Will you injure yourself if you don’t stop to stretch your legs? Last night I stopped, got off the bike, stretched and got back on.
  2. Are there any common reasons? I stretch before my ride, so wondering if position of seat etc would make any difference? I’m certainly pushing to the max in a race which I don’t do on a free ride so it explains why it’s happening but looking for methods to prevent it from happening?

Dehydration is a common (though not the only) reason for cramp.

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Here is a pretty good article about muscle cramps at livestrong.com

Here is an even more specific article from cycling weekly.

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Some good suggestions in there and it’s made me think about some recent changes.

My routine has always been down a pint of water before a ride but since my recent 100 mile ride, one of the things that got me through is a carb energy shake called Fuel.

I down one of those instead of the water - I may go back to the water.

Also, I haven’t started drinking my electrolyte replacement until mid-ride because I thought it would be pointless replacing until I was low.

The article suggests taking the supplement drink before the ride/race.

Lots of stuff to try, thanks :+1:

Easy way for me is to use salt in my diet and drink enough. For longer ride and races sponsor plug - https://www.hammernutrition.com/products/electrolytes.

And whatever you do, do NOT power through a calf cramp. Done it twice in my life ( you’d think I’d have learnt from the first time, but it was long ago). Both times running. Both times felt ok after the run. Hardly able to walk the following morning. And not able to run for more than a month.

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I haven’t started drinking my electrolyte replacement until mid-ride because I thought it would be pointless replacing until I was low.

Hi Ewan. The conventional wisdom for all kinds of intake-related things is that once you are actively aware that you need to eat, drink, intake electrolytes, etc, you’re already at deficit. You’ll get to know yourself over time (i.e. how much water do I need to drink daily to be generally well-hydrated… how long a ride/workout can I do without eating… how hard can I go for X amount of time in X amount of heat without using electrolytes… etc), and perhaps this is just one of those “getting to know yourself” moments—i.e. now, possibly, you know that you need to have electrolytes in your drink from the start of these races (?).

Pickle juice helps. I also like UCAN powder for every before riding.

I definitely think you should look at the fore/aft position of your cleats. Slightly more rearward might make all the difference. And I know people talk about potassium a lot for cramps, but you might actually want to check into magnesium, as a deficiency of this could be a cause for cramps.