A customer recently emailed me with a question about cramping and endurance racing. Here is the story:
Hi Em, just watched your webinar on the Speight’s site, great info thanx. Understand the carbs vs weight from Ironman last year but am concerned re cramp – I experienced this after about 11 hours (30 odd k in run at IM) expecting a 15 hour day on my 1st C2C have been supplementing with magnesium this year to counter, do your Cookies offer any support in this area?
With cramping the best prevention is hydration with fluids that have enough sodium: aim for 400mg/L concentration. Horley’s Replace is the best sports drink, and nuun is a fantastic electrolyte replacement to add to water when you don’t want/need the carbs (it contains nil carb).
In C2C, anytime you’re drinking I highly recommend using a good sports drink or nuun rather than plain water. During the race, the mtn run will pose the biggest risk because you’ll just drink from the rivers (plain water) so make sure whatever gels you use have a decent amount of sodium – around 100mg per serving. My Cookies and Bars have added salt and baking soda so there’s about 185-200mg per serving. This is a good amount to take with 200-300 mL plain water, but I don’t put magnesium in.
Generally with magnesium there is some research to say it can help w/cramping. But I think this refers more to your baseline magnesium that you have in your system going into the event. You don’t lose magnesium through sweat-losses in the amounts like sodium. So I’d focus on the sodium as per my recommendations.
Here are the 4 things to prevent cramping:
1. Adequate hydration: 200-300mL per 15-20 mins
2. Adequate sodium – whatever you’re eating/drinking make sure you’re close to about 400mg sodium per L
3. Train for the event – sometimes cramping is simply a consequence of fatigue from pushing hard in a race you’re not used to
4. Stay warm – I find being cold can exacerbate the onset of cramping
Hope this helps you!