Cramps during swimming!!

Cramps during swimming!!

Post by Kraftwerke » Fri, 04 Jul 2003 03:53:23


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.

 
 
 

Cramps during swimming!!

Post by James Goddar » Fri, 04 Jul 2003 03:58:43


Quote:
> 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

 
 
 

Cramps during swimming!!

Post by Bill Walla » Fri, 04 Jul 2003 09:00:35

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

> 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.


 
 
 

Cramps during swimming!!

Post by Steve Freide » Fri, 04 Jul 2003 09:34:35

Quote:

> 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

 
 
 

Cramps during swimming!!

Post by John Hard » Fri, 04 Jul 2003 11:01:11


Quote:
> 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

 
 
 

Cramps during swimming!!

Post by James Goddar » Fri, 04 Jul 2003 21:03:43


Quote:
> 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.
 
 
 

Cramps during swimming!!

Post by Cam Wilso » Fri, 04 Jul 2003 21:59:03



Quote:

> > 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.

 
 
 

Cramps during swimming!!

Post by Steve Freide » Sun, 06 Jul 2003 02:17:17

Quote:



> > 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 *** stroke after
having bicycled earlier in the day - same thing, I guess.

-S-

 
 
 

Cramps during swimming!!

Post by Cam Wilso » Sun, 06 Jul 2003 02:45:07



Quote:



> > > 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 *** stroke after
> having bicycled earlier in the day - same thing, I guess.

> -S-

unfortunately, although I enjoy the *** 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.

 
 
 

Cramps during swimming!!

Post by leve » Thu, 10 Jul 2003 00:22:50

Quote:
> 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

Quote:
> 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

 
 
 

Cramps during swimming!!

Post by Cam Wilso » Thu, 10 Jul 2003 08:58:13


Quote:

> > 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.