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