What causes cramps?
Today’s topic is about cramping and electrolytes, specifically salt.
Typically you take electrolytes to prevent muscle cramping and while this does seem to work in some people it doesn’t necessarily mean that electrolyte loss through sweat causes muscle cramping.
I’ve never experienced cramps caused by electrolyte loss, I don’t really experience cramps while racing or running, BUT I just found a really cool study that touches touch base on this and the title of the study was a comparison of characteristics of those with and without cramping during a 161-kilometer ultra marathon.
So this was a low-intensity event but what’s really cool is that, and I quote, “that 100-mile ultramarathon runners with muscle cramping had higher post race plasma creatine kinaseconcentrations than those without cramping and this provides evidence that those developing cramping are placing greater demands on their muscles relative to their current state of training” so like I’ve said in the past the best way to prevent cramps during the race is proper training before the race and proper pacing during the race!
Now there’s a reason that cramps most likely occur in the calves and hamstrings during the last third of most events and it’s because up to that point you’re farther in training than you habitually gone very often in the past and if you’re not you’re running harder at that distance then you probably ever have outside of other races, so you’re you’re asking your body to do things that it has very rarely done depending on your training level, your miles per week, your pacing for the first third half of the event, that will all dictate if you get cramps or not.
Remember, cramps are a protective mechanism of the muscle to prevent further damage and this study shows just that people most likely to experience cramps during this ultra-marathon had the most muscle damage!
Here is a FREE way to prevent cramps during #running races →