Hi everyone I'm in need of advice,
I have experienced muscle cramps in my quads and calves during the swim portion of the last 3 Ironmans I've raced in. The first was at 2007 IM CDA, which I attributed to the extreme cold and rough conditions. However, after a day of gastric distress I came to realize that, although convenient, gatorade is not the drink for me. So I spent the following off-season researching different drink mixes and pre-race meals followed by 5km swim-- I thought I had it figured out for my next race. Unfortunately, in spring 2008 at IM AZ cramps in my claves occurred about 2/3 of the way through. After getting some electrolyte drink in T1 the cramps disappeared and I went on to set a PR (9:34) with no gastric issues all day. I now thought that maybe I was sighting poorly, swimming with too much tension in my body, or needed work on my kick. So I focused on these issues leading to IM Hawaii. Nevertheless, I was concerned about cramping again during the swim so I loaded up on electrolyte tablets the days prior to the race and race morning. About 3/4 of the way through my swim, which to that point had been relaxed, smooth and fast, both quads locked solid. Again some electrolyte drink in T1 took away the cramps and I went on to have a good day.
I’ve been tinkering with various products early this season yet still had some cramps removing my wetsuit in T1 this last weekend at the SC Half ironman. Followed by electrolytes, cramps go away, and set a PR (4:16). Now I have 4 weeks until the Beach 2 Battleship ironman and I’m scratching my head. I’ve checked the electrolyte mix in the products I’ve been using (PowerBar Endurance and Thermolyte Tablets) I see that they are incomplete compared to EFS drink mix and Liquid Shot. I’ve just started using Liquid Shot and I’m very impressed. Now I’m considering testing out the EFS drink mix and Bar for my pre-race calories. Any thoughts on what I should be doing to eliminate these swim cramps? After reviewing several of the posts on this website I realized that there are a lot of talented racers willing to share their insight. My fingers are crossed. Thanks!