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Muscle cramping (Read 1000 times)

    At the end of at what was supposed to be an 9 mile run today, I developed a painful muscle cramp in the muscle that runs up and down your abdomen (rectus abdominis). It was a hot and humid day.  I was drinking lots of water and had one glucose gel. Could that be due to electrolyte depletion?  The reason I ask is a search here brought up lots of ideas of what to do about cramping and lots of leg, calf cramping but not abdomen. What ticks me off is I did buy an electrolyte powder at the running store yesterday but didn't bring it with me....  Roll eyes

    Suffering Benefiting from mature onset exercise addiction and low aerobic endorphin release threshold. Hoping there is no cure.

    Scout7


    CPT Curmudgeon

      What made the cramp go away?  Stretching, eating something/drinking something other than water, just slowing down and toughing it out?  How long did the cramp last?

        Cramp didn't go away with running. Stopped, breathed deeply, stretched my arms over my head, bent over and relaxed my breathing. Started up again and it hurt worse. Walked 1/2 km home, had a sports drink, cooled down and it went away.

        Suffering Benefiting from mature onset exercise addiction and low aerobic endorphin release threshold. Hoping there is no cure.

          Sounds like a stitch.  Sometimes this can be triggered by drinking a lot fluids possibly because of having the liquids sloshing around in your belly.

          Runners run.

          xor


            1. Side stitch sounds right.  What mikey says, especially keying on the phrase "I was drinking lots of water".

             

            2. You didn't deplete electrolytes on a 9 mile run

             

            3. Gels aren't really glucose, unless you mean something special (like a glucose chew).  This isn't really important to the discussion, but as you get into distance running, it helps to know what you are eating.  Not just that it isn't glucose, but there's other stuff in gels... such as a small amount of electrolytes.

             

            4. You mention drinking "lots of water". A gel. And you bought electrolyte powder.  Then after the run, you drank sportsdrink.  You are making this kind of complicated. There's nothing wrong with that, if you really want to fine tune things, but it is possible that this many factors to twiddle with will make it overly challenging.  Have you tried just drinking sportsdrink while you run?  Sportsdrink already has water and electrolytes... and in most cases, calories.  You wouldn't need to fiddle with individual components.

             

            Anyway, everybody's different on stuff like this.  But what you experienced sounds like a side stitch.

             

              1. I had a stitch before and it was much closer to the diaphragm than this one. 

               

              2. Really? huh. It was a really hot day and I was sweating a lot. Does that count? I worry (probably needlessly) about hyponatremia.

               

              3. Wikipedia says..." Maltodextrin consists of <small>D</small>-glucose units connected in chains of variable length. The glucose units are primarily linked with α(1→4) glycosidic bonds. Maltodextrin is typically composed of a mixture of chains that vary from three to nineteen glucose units long.[3]"

              I think of it as glucose b/c its a carbohydrate and to use it my body breaks it down into glucose regardless of its original state. I may be wrong though and I am totally willing to be corrected.  I just looked at the pack and there is 90mg of Na and 55 mg K+ in the gel.

               

              4. I over-think everything. My dad used to say "why make things difficult for yourself. With a little more effort you can make them impossible". 

               

              Take-aways:

              1. No, muscles in the abdomen are not the ones that cramp up in runners.  

              2. Drink sports drink while running on hot humid days if I'm worried about electrolytes. 

               

              Thanks!

              Suffering Benefiting from mature onset exercise addiction and low aerobic endorphin release threshold. Hoping there is no cure.

              xor


                If you are worried about hyponatremia (which you shouldn't be on a 9 mile run) then "drinking lots of water" is the exact opposite of what you should be doing. Drinking a ton of water is not good.  HOWEVER, it really isn't an issue in a 9 mile run even for a heavy sweater.  You need to be out there for hours (as in, 4 or 5 or more).

                 

                As for how gels break down into glucose, yes, but the same could be said of lots of things.

                 

                   

                  4. I over-think everything. My dad used to say "why make things difficult for yourself. With a little more effort you can make them impossible". 

                   

                  hahaha...that is awesome.  Smile

                   

                  -  I've had stitches both up high and down lower.  Up high, near diaphragm is more common for me...but it's not the only place I've gotten them.  As I ran more and worked on eating more while running, the incidence has basically dropped to never.

                   

                  - You are not going to become hyponatremic in 9 miles, regardless of how hot it is or how much you sweat, if you don't take in fluids.  It's just not possible due to the electrolyte content of sweat vs blood. You'll become hypernatremic.  On the other hand, if you take in just water, the possibility exists, but it is so utterly remote, it's almost non-existent... you'd have drink a LOT of water (gallons?) and take hours to cover the distance.  I wouldn't worry about it. 

                   

                  BTW, here's an alternate theory on cramping that makes more sense, scientifically, than the current "electrolyte depletion causes muscle cramps" theory.

                   

                  http://www.sportsscientists.com/2007/11/muscle-cramps-part-1-theories-and.html