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Long distance swim - cramps

Hi all,
I hope you can help me. I have enrolled for a 10k swim in June, and I am gradually increasing my distance towards that goal. My last 3 sessions I have had cramps. The first time, I climbed out of the pool after 4.5k and had an almighty cramp in my left calf. Next week I took a drinking bottle (Isotonic). I did 5k and had a few twinges but nothing serious. Last night I did 5.5k, and I could feel the cramp coming in the arches of me feet, and my calf again. I stretched my muscles while swimming, and that seemed to help (my drink was not Isotonic). I am conscious that as my distance extends, this will get worse unless I can find a solution.
I run to my swim session - 2 miles, and I drink only water and herbal tea (no coffee or normal tea) in the day.
Will I find that next week if I have an Isotonic drink it goes, or do I need to do something else?
Thanks in advance


  • gavinpgavinp Posts: 168
    Looks like you are building well enough week on week (nice and slowly ). What you haven't said is how much you are drinking through the day and also how often you are drinking while swimming(?)

    Normally muscle cramps are symptoms of improper hydration or electrolyte Imbalance. Are you including electrolytes in your hydration? you can either do this with a product (such as nuun), or add a pinch of salt to a mix of water and juice.

    Ideally you need have drunk half a litre of water at least one to two hours before your swim and to be drinking a quarter of a litre of water every twenty minutes while swimming.

    However, having said that. I would say that you have fatigue cramps. So less related to your electrolyte balance and more related to your muscles working hard and being set in one position - i.e. the muscles in the foot or calf contracting in one positon for too long. As you have said, stretching out the legs while swimming alleviates this so just be aware of giving them a stretch every time you stop to hydrate, but also to relax and flex your feet/legs while swimming.

    You could also help yourself by having a good stretching routine that you do away from the pool to maintain suppleness.

    Hope this helps a little.

    Have fun with your 10k race!
  • Tom180Tom180 Posts: 1
    Prep and maintenance.
    The old 2 ltr a day rule is true ( more for hard training)
    Although the origin of this is suspect it really is a minimum. For the type of event/training you're doing you should be adding electrolyte to your daily 'water' intake (def on the long days) and also to your isotonic drink which should be e.g. A Gatorade cut in half w water. Pre and post, full strength is ok.

    During the swim are you a lazy kicker ? I am and get cramp from the muscles being in the same inactive position.
    Or, is your kick too aggressive for the distance ? A six beat is ok for 1500 m but to jump to long distance may be a jump too far for this.

    I would recommend 2 or 3 coached sessions with a relevant coach to look at long distance stroke efficiency.

    Good luck...
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