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  #1  
Old 07-28-2011
saadbox13 saadbox13 is offline
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Default Calf cramps in OW? What to do?

I just experienced my first calf cramp in the pool while pushing off the wall after I increased my pace towards the last 10mn of my hour practice. It just locked up and lasted about 2~3 minutes.
What if this happens during an OW event, what would you advise doing when this happens in the middle of the Ocean with no help in sight?
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  #2  
Old 07-28-2011
CoachBillL CoachBillL is offline
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Default Cramps

I think cramps are much less likely in open water; in the pool they are likely to be caused by the vigorous push-offs. They are also a sign of undertraining, in my experience, and possibly of over-kicking: work toward a two-beat kick if you don't have one already, and minimize your kick in any case. They are likelier in cold water, and you need to be conditioned for that. Finally, practice massaging out a cramp in deep water -- a handy skill, often taught in water-safety classes. In open water competition, there is always going to be a kayak or a boat close by, so a cramp is more of a nuisance than a danger.
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Old 07-28-2011
saadbox13 saadbox13 is offline
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thanks for the reply see below

Quote:
Originally Posted by CoachBillL View Post
I think cramps are much less likely in open water; in the pool they are likely to be caused by the vigorous push-offs. They are also a sign of undertraining, in my experience, and possibly of over-kicking: work toward a two-beat kick if you don't have one already, and minimize your kick in any case.
S> I am always doing 2BK no matter what, I have been swimming 1 hour daily for almost 2 years now. And it is the first time I experience a cramp, it must certainly have been caused by the push-off

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Originally Posted by CoachBillL View Post
They are likelier in cold water, and you need to be conditioned for that. Finally, practice massaging out a cramp in deep water -- a handy skill, often taught in water-safety classes. In open water competition, there is always going to be a kayak or a boat close by, so a cramp is more of a nuisance than a danger.
S> I will need to lean how to do that in deep water, I should probably join a club and get some coach training
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  #4  
Old 07-28-2011
MikeQue MikeQue is offline
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I have experienced calf cramps in open water. The first time it was at the beginning of the 2 mile race. I wasn't gonna give up for that, so I just did everything to relax that part of the body and kick with complete relaxation and slowly, focusing on relaxing, and not worrying about speed for the moment. The cramp went away and I completed the race. Since then, even in the pool, I don't stop for cramps any longer, working it out in the swim and then stretching at the next stopping point.
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Old 07-29-2011
JohnIsaksson JohnIsaksson is offline
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Default Calf Cramps why ?

My experinece is that you are more likely to get cramps if you have a lack of salt/minerals in your body. This applys for any athletic work. Eg eat salt ( Na and K ) Dont just drink water.
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Old 07-29-2011
saadbox13 saadbox13 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeQue View Post
I have experienced calf cramps in open water. The first time it was at the beginning of the 2 mile race. I wasn't gonna give up for that, so I just did everything to relax that part of the body and kick with complete relaxation and slowly, focusing on relaxing, and not worrying about speed for the moment. The cramp went away and I completed the race. Since then, even in the pool, I don't stop for cramps any longer, working it out in the swim and then stretching at the next stopping point.
Thanks Mike this is a good tip, since I am doing 2BK I should not be concerned about not moving the leg when a calf cramp occurs, I should just relax for a few minutes...
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  #7  
Old 08-09-2011
blaggard blaggard is offline
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I virtually always get a calf cramp in my right leg from any point from 1hr onwards in longer swims - especially if I'm pushing off during pool swims.
I don't stop when it cramps up I just stretch that calf while I continue to swim - ie push my heel back and pull my toes down and forward as much as possible.
I've often thought that it must look odd to anyone else as I swim along with one streamlined foot and one pointed forward, dragging like a an anchor. After a minute or two it eases up and my foot pivots back into normal position.

B
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Old 08-09-2011
saadbox13 saadbox13 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blaggard View Post
I virtually always get a calf cramp in my right leg from any point from 1hr onwards in longer swims - especially if I'm pushing off during pool swims.
I don't stop when it cramps up I just stretch that calf while I continue to swim - ie push my heel back and pull my toes down and forward as much as possible.
I've often thought that it must look odd to anyone else as I swim along with one streamlined foot and one pointed forward, dragging like a an anchor. After a minute or two it eases up and my foot pivots back into normal position.

B
Amazing! I need to learn how to keep swimming with a cramp, I guess the key is to stay calm, streamline and stretch
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  #9  
Old 08-10-2011
dshen dshen is offline
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when you swim OW, are you swimming with or without a wetsuit?

it has been shown with windsurfers who windsurf all day that they slowly develop hypothermia, which reduces blood flow to their muscles and then they get cramps. they have determined this is the cause and not training because these guys are super fit. but nothing can prevent the slow cooling down when you are wet and the wind is blowing at you, cooling you down even more and beyond the body's ability to keep warm.

it is possible you are cramping because you are not swimming with a wetsuit and you need to train in cold OW to adapt to swimming there, like a lot of people do at the Dolphin Club or South End Rowing Club who swim every morning in the frigid waters of SF Bay with just a speedo on.

if you have a wetsuit, then your lack of adaptation to cold OW has lesser effect since you're insulated somewhat. But, a problem can be that you are kicking so hard even with 2BK that it is wiping out your calves and you cramp. So here, i would try Terry's advice, which is to just flick the toe at the right timing of the spear to send the spear on its way. Don't overdo the kick; just find the minimal energy needed to send the spear on its way. It is also possible that you are kicking less with the quads kicking forward and you may be activating the calves by bringing the foot back when you kick. This may also be worth looking at.

in another thread, we determined that calf cramping was due to the person pushing off the wall with a lot of foot extension and energy, versus using the whole leg. in OW, the analog is to use the whole leg and not just the calves, inadvertently wiping out the calves while not engaging other bigger muscles of the leg to kick, or to push off each wall.
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