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Calf Cramps (Read 570 times)

runrockclimb


    I have been training for a half marathon for the last 7 weeks or so, and its meant my mileage has been bumped up to about 28-35 miles a week, plus climbing a couple days a week. Before I started training I probably ran 20 or 25 at most with climbing a couple days a week. The first few weeks I had no problems, but recently I am having the worst time with cramps in my calves. I've never had this issue before.

     

    Usually they happen at night. If I am laying in bed and stretch out it triggers one. I have trouble at least once a week, sometimes a few times a week.  My calves also feel tight and on the verge of a cramp frequently at night. Its to the point where I am afraid to stretch, even though it feels so nice. The cramps hurt, interrupt my sleep, and leave me sore for days afterwards. What can I do to help prevent them? I've tried eating more bananas, it helps some I think, but I'm still having an issue.

      Are you drinking enough water? Sometimes I have this problem when I'm dehydrated. The other thing that seems to trigger it for me is not getting enough sleep. Maybe also try foam rolling?


      Needs more cowbell!

        Are you getting enough magnesium and calcium?  Low potassium (re: bananas) can be a factor, but so can magnesium and calcium.

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          Usually they happen at night. If I am laying in bed and stretch out it triggers one. I have trouble at least once a week, sometimes a few times a week.  My calves also feel tight and on the verge of a cramp frequently at night. Its to the point where I am afraid to stretch, even though it feels so nice. The cramps hurt, interrupt my sleep, and leave me sore for days afterwards. What can I do to help prevent them? I've tried eating more bananas, it helps some I think, but I'm still having an issue.

           

          I get these night cramps, and it's almost always when I have done "too much", i.e. inadequately recovered from the last few days. I might do something stupid like race, then "easy" 6-8 the next day (which I probably run too hard), then do a long run with MP miles. Then that night, the calves want to stretch, they do, and BAM. No amount of bananas, milk or magnesium would have prevented it.

           

          If I had to guess, you're doing more miles AND more intensity simultaneously, and your calves are telling you to do the easier stuff easier.

          Come all you no-hopers, you jokers and rogues
          We're on the road to nowhere, let's find out where it goes
          wayne fausett


            Most experts consider cramp to result from neurological fatigue.  The electrolyte imbalance theory is now thought to be less of a cause.  If that is the case, then your calves might be overworking.  Might pay to check your running technique.  Are you over striding, which means your big hip extensor muscles (your butt!), won't be doing enough of the work? Could be calf weakness issue.  If so, strengthen them up using a simple calf raise.  Dont be afraid to stretch them out.  Try a good calf stretch for 60 seconds, 5 times a day.  I used to battle calf injuries for years, and those 3 things helped cure me. 

              I have had a similar problem, usually when I'm coming back from a long layoff or an injury.  It passes with conditioning.

               

              I agree with Kevin and Wayne above that recent research suggests its more of an overwork issue than nutrition/diet.  Not much you can do other than back off the effort or try to adjust your training and/or technique.  Maybe occasional tylenol for the pain and to improve sleep.  More rest is probably also a good idea until they pass.  I think the good news is that they probably will as your legs adjust to your training.

               

              From your name, do you do a lot of climbing?  Are your calves highly developed / ever have a problem with cramping?

              runrockclimb


                 From your name, do you do a lot of climbing?  Are your calves highly developed / ever have a problem with cramping?

                 

                I do a fair bit of climbing most weeks, an hour or so two or three days a week on average. Once in a great while I will have trouble, usually if I try to climb the same day as a run, but I don't usually have trouble with cramps on the wall... seems to only be at night.

                  I've had good luck with a small glass of tonic water for nighttime foot cramps, hope you find something that helps, ouch!

                  2014 - heal the sinuses and move to Germany!

                  2015 - Paris Marathon 12 April

                    My climbing shoes sometimes, if I've been running a lot, make my arches and calves cramp up ferociously.  Same thing happens at times if I have on other shoes that are too tight (my NB Minimus Zeros squeeze my arch if they're tight).

                     

                    I'm assuming you're a better climber than I am (since I am horrible), so you might be wearing aggressive climbing shoes.  If I slip on my old, stretched out, "beginner" shoes, the problem goes away.  They're worse for technical climbing, sure, but apparently much easier on the feet.  Keeping them loose (for climbing shoes, anyway) helps.

                     

                    Your mileage may vary, of course, but I thought I'd give my $0.02.  Hope you find a solution.  Once your mileage/climbing "stabilizes," it might resolve on its own, too.

                    "When a person trains once, nothing happens. When a person forces himself to do a thing a hundred or a thousand times, then he certainly has developed in more ways than physical. Is it raining? That doesn't matter. Am I tired? That doesn't matter, either. Then willpower will be no problem." 
                    Emil Zatopek

                    TheDroppingDead


                      From what I hear, it is a low intake of Potassium. Bananas help. I used to get these cramps all the time, but I started inducing my potassium percentage, and they went away.
                      zonykel


                        Have you tried the the stick or the foam roller? I prefer that to stretching. As others mentioned, this may be related to some nutritional deficiency, so be sure you're eating a healthy diet. The mileage you indicate is significant for those of us in the beginner stages (I put myself in that category). You can also try reducing mileage and / or intensity of your workouts as well. Let your body develop adaptations to training by getting enough rest (including sleep).