Ultra Runners

1

cramps (Read 43 times)

    Worth the read from irunfar.

    jjameson


      I haven't read "waterlogged" by Noakes but I've definitely gotten away from the idea I need to drink a certain amount every 15 minutes or whatever.  I've started just drinking by thirst.  Not sure how that translates to REALLY HOT conditions (say over 85 degrees).  When it is really hot is it OK to wait until I'm thirsty, or is it too late at that time if I'm on a 30+mile run?  Not sure what the answer is.

       

      Some antecdotal information.  I sometimes get what I call "spasms" of the calf muscles -- usually the little muscles in the side of the calf (not the big muscle in the back -- the gastro/soleus.  This happens after about 30 miles of running and my entire lower leg might lock-up with excruciating pain.  I don't know the cause but it is not dehydration.  I've had this happen a number of times and I can honestly say that taking salt tablets (2 or 3) definitely help.  If I don't take the salt the spasms keep occuring but if I do they will abate for about 10 miles where they might occur again but again salt will make it go away.

       

      OK trial of one.  Not sure it will translate to other runners, just what I've experienced.

       

      Not sure if these "spasms" are the same as cramps.

       

       

        I get full on cramps when racing too hard.  Last year at DWD 50K, I literally fell over in place because I could no longer stand on my leg because my calf was cramping so bad.  I find if I take salt in the last 1/3rd of the race it helps.  I now take salt whether I feel cramps or not around the final 1/3rd mark.  Maybe it is unnecessary, but I would rather err on the side of caution.

         

        Interestingly enough, salt caps don't have any taste.  No immediate brain response should happen.  Part of the article was mentioned state of mind may have some effect.  Maybe I just relax because I believe the salt will help me?  Maybe I have become more comfortable with longer distances so there is no longer a mental block about blowing up?  Maybe I'm just not pushing myself as hard out of caution?

        HoosierDaddy


          I think Noakes is missing something.  Not sure what.  But I think waterlogged has messed up many people.  There is something to electrolytes (salt) that matters to some ppl.

            I think Noakes is missing something.  Not sure what.  But I think waterlogged has messed up many people.  There is something to electrolytes (salt) that matters to some ppl.

             

            Based on the article in irunfar, it seems like Noakes is at least acknowledging salt works for some people, but why it works is not why we thought it was.

             

            But yeah, I agree too many people have just read the book and made drastic changes to their hydration/salt intake strategy even when they didn't have issues in the past.

             

            I do think it has helped me not overthink my hydration though.  For my first 50 miler and even marathons previous to 2012 I focused on getting in so many ounces of water every hour.  Now, I don't worry about it unless it is really hot out and usually drink to thirst.  It's nice to be able to run for two hours and not carry water.


            I'm back!

              Nice article, Joe generally has interesting stuff to say. But in this case it looks to me like he's mostly just regurgitating Noakes. It's slightly disturbing to me that this is how ideas get out there with authority behind them -- you hear the same thing from many different reputable sources, but ultimately you can trace it back to one guy's opinions. Mostly he does make it clear he's getting it from Noakes, but sometimes he just states things as flat-out facts, like this:

               

              We don’t know much about EAMC, but what we do know, definitively, is this: There is no association between blood (or sweat, or urine) sodium concentrations – or hydration status – and muscle cramps.

               

              Well, I don't necessarily disagree with this, but I know there are plenty of researchers who still do. (And there are plausible models behind their positions.) If you believe Noakes, that's because they're in the pocket of Big Sports Drink. But who really knows? Anyway I think this is somewhat disingenuous.

               

              Interestingly enough, salt caps don't have any taste.  No immediate brain response should happen.  Part of the article was mentioned state of mind may have some effect. 

               

              Yep, I caught that too. Many top ultrarunners are saying yeah, we don't know why salt works, but it does, but generally they are taking salt caps, so this argument really doesn't work.

               

              I think Noakes is missing something.  Not sure what.  But I think waterlogged has messed up many people.  There is something to electrolytes (salt) that matters to some ppl.

               

              Maybe, but my feeling is he's helped more than he's hurt. In practice I think overhydration is a bigger problem in ultras than any effect that may or may not happen as result of limiting salt. That was me at Western States last year. I definitely drank too much, and finished somewhat hyponatremic (per post-race blood test).

               

              Personally, since reading Waterlogged last summer, and adopting Noakes' hydration and fueling advice, I've done many marathons (two PRs), three 50Ks (one PR), one 50M (PR), one 12-hour (PR), and one 100M, all with no salt and no cramps -- except that during the 50M I did cramp up pretty bad around M40, and I'm not completely sure why. I took some salt pills, walked a couple of miles, felt better, and ran it in decently. Was it the salt? Who knows? Probably, it was walking long enough to get carbs back into my system.

              HoosierDaddy


                 

                Based on the article in irunfar, it seems like Noakes is at least acknowledging salt works for some people, but why it works is not why we thought it was.

                 

                But yeah, I agree too many people have just read the book and made drastic changes to their hydration/salt intake strategy even when they didn't have issues in the past.

                 

                I do think it has helped me not overthink my hydration though.  For my first 50 miler and even marathons previous to 2012 I focused on getting in so many ounces of water every hour.  Now, I don't worry about it unless it is really hot out and usually drink to thirst.  It's nice to be able to run for two hours and not carry water.

                I dropped 10 pounds at WS, got very dehydrated,,, yet had a stomach full of fluid that finally came up near the top of Devils thumb (which I spent forever climbing d/t lethargy (90 mins v 30ish in training) and then an hour in the AS.  I drank a bunch of salty soup and was able to get fluid in and restart the run.  Just think I need the salt.  Interestingly, S! caps didn't seem to work so well but when it was in solution as Broth or GU brew, it helped.

                 

                I need to take a sweat test, probably, to see how much fluid and salt I am sweating out.  This has been my achilles heel for the past 12 months but the first time I realized it was a hydration issue - the doc was able to explain the symptoms and there were scales on course to back it up.