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Outta gas with severe cramping on Metic Century


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Hey All,

I'm on day 30, of my whole 30.   Yesterday I road an organized metric century.  Stats for last years and this years are below:



Dist: 66.8 miles

Total Time: 5:00 hrs

MovingTime: 4:04

Avg Spd: 13.4

Avg Moving Spd: 16.4



Dist: 61.9 miles

Total Time: 4:17 hrs

MovingTime: 3:28

Avg Spd: 14.3

Avg Moving Spd: 17.8


After about 45 miles I really had no energy and by mile 50 I was starting to have some mild camping which got worse the longer I rode.  At two points btw 58 and 66 miles I actually had to get off the bike and wak to try and stop the cramping.  I don't think it was a lack of water, as there were three rest stops and I was drinking consistantly.


The first 40 I was moving btw 18 and 20 pretty consistantly.  After that point I slowed down to about 13 to 15.   My time was noticably slower this year.  The ride started at about 8:00 so I didn't have a lot of time to eat.  I had a banana prior to the start of the ride.  At each of the three rest stops I had a 1.5 bananas, 1/2 orange, and one of either a LaraBar or an RX bar.  I also had two packets of sweet potato baby food throughout the ride.  Finally my water had Elete electrolytes in them.  Temps ranged from about 70 at start to maybe 80 at finish.


While I was tired, the cramping was much more detrimental as every time I tried to speed up, the cramping started to get worse and I had to slow more.  If I'm going to try and keep this up past day 30 (i.e. following the whole 30/paleo model), I need to be able to do long rides and not cramp  (I have never experienced the level of cramping.  I have two 100 mile rides coming up in the next 2 to 4 weeks and those rides will be 7 to 9 hours in duration.  Any suggestions would be really appreciated.





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Sorry, I guess we missed this one.


The thing that sticks out for me is the fructose. Did you test out this fueling strategy during training? or was this your first time trying these foods during an event? The body is designed to "turn off" digestion during strenuous exercise, so fueling during a long distance ride can be quite challenging. You started the day off under-fueled, and only provided your body with carbohydrate for energy during the ride. While unfortunate, it does not surprise me that your stomach rebelled.


Personally, I think the ideal fueling scenario would be to take in protein and fat prior to your ride, and to avoid eating much at all during (eat larger meals with plenty of starchy carbs like sweet potato the night before, and the meals afterwards). Small bites of something like a date with almond butter or a few bites of banana could work for a hit of energy during the ride, but wouldn't be expected to provide all of the energy you need. This strategy would require that you have already transitioned into being flexible in which fuels you use for energy (a so-called "fat burner")--ie. post-whole30. It takes time to train the body this way, but I know there are some ultra athletes out there who do very well. 


also, search this forum--there have been tons of conversations about fueling this sort of exercise. I don't agree with all of the advice given be users, but if you read through them you will find some common threads. once you hit on an idea you think will work for your context, give it a try during training before race day. good luck!

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So sorry, I didn't see this one either!

Check out Stupid Easy Paleo's Stephanie Gaudreau. She is a friend of Whole30 and is very well versed in "performance paleo" which is actually what her newest book is called. She has a couple books out that are geared to athletes. I think that not every single thing is Whole30 approved but all are easily adaptable.

What were the length of your training rides prior to the century? Had you noticed anything similar in the longer ones, maybe just less pronounced because the duration wasn't the same?

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A couple other things for consideration.

You say you are on Day 30 of your Whole30 so that means that you reasonably should be fat adapted. However, if you'd regularly been hitting up fruits and carbier nuts in between meals, it's possible that the fat adaptation hasn't taken place. It would be helpful if you would post what is a typical day's consumption including portion size and timing as well as fluids and training.

Second, are you salting your food? Although you say you had the Elete electrolyte beverage while riding, it's possible that your body was so depleted that it simply wasn't enough once you got going. Do you supplement with magnesium? That's another thing that most people don't get enough of and which can contribute to cramping.

As far as the Elete goes, how much non-compliant ingredients was in it (if any)? It's possible that if it was your first time using this and it had aspartame or sucralose or some other chemical sweetener that your body was no longer used to, that energy was sent towards dealing with that instead of the ride.

You can try PM'ing our moderator ultrarunnergirl as well for some tips, she is an endurance athlete and might have more insight on the issue.

Finally, as I understand it (and I could be misunderstanding it) while fruit is a sugar hit for energy, it actually replaces your liver glycogen preferentially....meaning you need a carb for energy that replenishes your muscle glycogen. Sweet potatoes are a perfect option here. May or may not explain the cramping but could explain having dead legs?

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Thanks for the replies.


I'm sorry, I should have been more specific.  I had no issues at all with my stomach.  The cramps were very serious leg cramps (which I never have on rides due to the fact that I'm usually taking sports legs during rides, but these are off limits for Whole 30 so I didn't take them)....after about mile 45 I started to have leg cramping in the left leg.  This slowed me down to around 15 -16 MPH.  After the last rest stop at about mile 55, the cramping moved to my right leg and grew worse.  Everytime I tried to put out any power, the leg started to cramp worse...this is when I actually had to ge off the bike and walk for a bit to try and work the cramping out.  I ended up limping along for the last 10 miles or so, going pushing right up to the point where the leg started to cramp and then backing off a bit.  I did not want to SAG out, so I just slowed down. 


Normally at this point in the season I would have done a full centry by now (100 miles), but due to the Whole 30 my training was somewhat slowed.

Week 1 was very poor with 12 - 18 mile rides taking al lot out of me and my legs feeling very heave (expected from what I had read here on the forums)

Week 2 was better with rides up to 35/40 miles on teh weekend and harder weekday rides of 18 miles.

Week 3 was better still cumultating in a weekend ride of about 52 miles with no cramping or advers issues.  This ride was not has hard or fast as the first 40 miles of last weekends ride.

Week 4 training was better, I felt like I was doing my normal 18 miles rides with no issue.


As for the Whole 30 the time to cook was actually more of a challenge than keeping on track with the program.  I usually have two Avacodos, breakfast and dinner or lunch and dinner, usually one bananna at breakfast.  All meals have a core of protien of some type, eggs, chicken, beef, W30 Chillie, W30 Italian sauce and spegetti squash.  I aslo usually have an apple and some cashew butter with lunch and dinner.  Cashew butter is usually two heaping tablespoons full.


I have read URG's blog several times and got the idea of the Sweet Potato baby food from her blog.  I also read that she felt she should have been having more fruit...that's why i'm hitting the Apples twice a day.


I was wondering if maybe I was low in salt.  Again, I've read here that you need more salt that normal amount of salt since we are not eating processed foods, so  I have been trying to eat more than usual.  I have also been taking a magnesium / calcium / Vitaman D pill nightly before I go to sleep.


I read about the Elete here and I belive that it is compliant.


Thanks again.



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Thanks for the added information. This is a totally different situation. On the race performance issue, if not taking sports legs is really the main difference then to now, I would start there: take a look at the active ingredients in this supplement, and supplement with those. Vitamin D, Calcium, Magnesium and Lactate are all available in stand-alone form. I haven't hunted for Lactate, so I'm not sure if there is a brand out there without sugar or cornstarch, etc. but it seems likely. You might also decide (post-whole30), that you want to be close to the plan but include this specific supplement despite the cornstarch and sucrose.


Based on your reported meals I do have a few suggestions for overall nutrition. The best formula for eating this way is to be found in the meal template: http://whole30.com/downloads/whole30-meal-planning.pdf  eating multiple apples with cashew butter (at meals or as snacks) each day, is really skewing the balance away from the template toward fructose as fuel. Eating more starchy veggies will mean more direct replenishment of muscle glycogen (fructose preferentially restores liver glycogen, glucose goes to the muscles). In general try to get 2-3 cups of vegetables in at each meal, with a fist-size portion of starchy options at least once or twice per day.

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I second missmary's suggestion to compare your preWhole30 and your current Whole30 electrolyte and supplements to see what the difference is.

The Sport Legs and Elete Electrolytes values are available for comparison.


I'm not familiar with the Elete products, only what I just read about online. There's not that much in the way of electrolytes in that product. And looking at the ingredients, you're paying for a somewhat expensive salt. I buy sea salt and potassium chloride at the grocery and mix my own product. The product I use in training has 400 mg sodium and 290 mg potassium while the Elete has 125 and 130 respectively. So maybe you're coming up lower than you think with Elete and need more? 


As for fruit, I eat a low-fructose diet and consume limited fruits. So for that I focus on berries with the occasional banana. 


Hope this helps!

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