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Cramp when swimming - help!

I need some advice please.

I keep getting cramp in my feet when I am swimming. It is really painful and even though I try to ignore it I have to stop and stand on my feet.
This is fine in the pool but I am really worried that when I start open water swimming I won't be able to put my feet on the bottom to get rid of it. I have only been swim training for triathon for a couple of months and was hoping it would go away but it doesn't seem to be getting any less frequent.
Someone told me it might be because I come from a running background but I wasn't sure how accurate this is?

Any ideas or tips would be gratefully accepted!!


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    aoneill69aoneill69 Posts: 206
    So i have only been swim training since January...so sure some of the more experienced folks may help...but i suffered a lot from this when i started....definatley inflexibility in ankles after running and biking until you learn to relax (takes a few months)
    >Firstly avoid kicking off the wall - i found this brought cramp on almost immediately on each turn...for a couple of weeks swim off the wall just using arms..
    >Hydration - i found if i biked to the pool and swam first thing in the morning without brekkie or drinking then cramp always happened...so i make sure i drink lots the night before, and either water/tea 1st thing in the morning with small snack...
    >Then not sure if this is scientific but i am now always stretching my ankles when sitting at desk etc...same as those exercises they get you to do on the plane!...
    hope some of this helps...
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    cammykcammyk Posts: 36
    First thing is that you need to relax a bit more...breathe slow and swim stroke slower and tell yourself you are doing it to relax. Focus on every single stroke being perfect. Not speed of turnover.

    Secondly and just as importantly don't kick hard off the wall, you don't get to do that in a race anyway so don't do it in the pool.

    Try some pre swim calf/foot massage with oil to warm up.

    I get the same sometimes and its usually when tired and I've been kicking off the wall hard.

    I've had calf cramp in an OW swim and you can just swim through it but you need to mentally relax and it works.
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    Whenever I feel cramp coming on in the pool I do a couple of things -

    First I find stretching my foot up towards my shins seems to help. This is a bit difficult when swimming so at every turn when pushing off I also use the wall to gently push my toes towards my shins.

    Second (and I think more important) I really focus on my breathing. I'm sure it has no benefit other than as a relaxation tool/placebo but as I breath in I try to visualise pushing the air as far down into my lungs as possible, and then really think about sending as much oxygen down to the cramped area as possible.

    No idea if either of these actually has any benefit but they seem to help me... I rarely get any discomfort that I cant swim through for a few lengths before I'm back to normal.
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    danny_sdanny_s Posts: 235
    How much do you kick? When I'm dragging my legs for a while or giving a really soft 2 beat kick, after a while my calves cramp up. Picking it up to a 6 beat kick for a few minutes sorts that out.

    Scarier in OW since you can't stretch and just need to kick through the pain but it worked for me last weekend at the ~1500m mark my right leg was having no more of this swimming malarky but forcing the blood flow and oxygen down there got me sorted out. Probably lost 15 seconds for having to slow down my arms but got that back sprinting past people up the hill to T1.
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    BootooBootoo Posts: 29
    Thanks for the tips guys.

    I think it is triggered by pushing off from the side so will try to stop that. I will also give ankle exercises a go.
    I don't think I could swim through it in open water though it's too painful and I am a wimp!

    I am have to see how I go with the exercises before I venture into OW swimming.
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