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training to avoid cramp

Posted: Mon Apr 11, 2011 5:26 pm
by Rouleur
hoping for some specific advice here.

I have suffered from cramp at the end of some pretty hard full on road races. I'm pretty happy with my diet and fuel consumption on the bike. I'm quite sure the reason for the cramps is lack of training at the race distance and intensity.

whats the best way to train to avoid this?

- should I train to mimick the race distance AND race intensity in one session. This would equate to 3hrs (AT) about 80% avg HR. Probably in a fartleck style, not all one smooth effort. This would obviously involve quite a lot of fatigue, and consequently rest, maybe would only allow one, or two sessions per week and would affect the other training sessions i could fit in.


- do 2 long rides per week, say race distance + 25%, at 60-65% avg HR. Then be able to continue with power and speed workouts throughout the week.

My concern is that the easier long rides just wont stress the muscles enough to train them not to cramp??

Re: training to avoid cramp

Posted: Mon Apr 11, 2011 9:08 pm
by philip
I don't think a lot is known about cramps scientifically (i.e. exactly what causes them or how to avoid them), but for some anecdotal evidence I have found that the more I train/race at the intensities that I used to get cramps at, the less I get them. E.g. when I first started doing very high intensity crits I would get some pretty bad cramps (so much so that my leg would be sore for a week afterwards) but the more I did them the less I got them and now I don't anymore. So I would suggest replicating the race efforts, which would be good training anyway.

Re: training to avoid cramp

Posted: Mon Apr 11, 2011 11:10 pm
by trailgumby
I used to suffer cramps when I first started racing. My recipe for cramp avoidance runs as follows:
1: When you train, match the training to the demands of the event. Length, type of activity (cimbing, etc), intensity, and so on.
2: Don't dig too deep during the race
3: Take up a properly designed stretching program with the assistance of a qualified person like a cycling-specific physio
4: Have your race nutrition and electrolytes worked out before the event and don't experiment on the day
5: Peroidic deep tissue massage can help
6: Magnesium orotate supplementation can also help

Rules 1 and 2 were the most impactful, followed closely by 3 and 4. Rule 1 avoids the need to transgress rule 2. Rule 5 is practiced by my physio to relieve knotted muscles at problem points. Item 6 is still being deliberated by the jury, but my physio recommends it.

Re: training to avoid cramp

Posted: Tue Apr 12, 2011 9:30 am
by JV911
are you cramping in the same muscle every time?

Re: training to avoid cramp

Posted: Tue Apr 12, 2011 11:00 am
by Rouleur
cheers guys. If I could do long hard road races every week I would but they're either hours away, or nothing on. So as a few of you mentioned the next best thing is to mimick the race effort in training - i dont think theres any getting away from it, thats what needs to be done.

A few people i've spoken to feel that one steady (60% avg HR) type long ride (race distance + 25%) per week is sufficient if combined with speed and power short sessions. I disagree. I think the only way is to do the long hard training rides.

Cramp is always in the VMO.

Re: training to avoid cramp

Posted: Tue Apr 12, 2011 9:43 pm
by Marty Moose
I've always sufferd from cramps both on and off the bike. Since taking a good magnesium powder bio ceuticals ultra muscleze I've not had a cramp, its also helped with my post race cough.