Legs Cramping During Long Run


Alice

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I'm on day 7 of my first Whole30, and currently training for my second half marathon. I've been running consistently for 2 years.

My long run this morning was 13km. At kilometre 5 my leg muscles started cramping. Not just pain, but visible spasm of the muscles, particularly my calf muscles. I stopped and massaged them out, but continued in this fashion until the end of my run. Which disappointingly turned into more of a run/walk, not ideal at this stage of my training.

Has anyone else experienced something like this? I really hope it is a one off thing and a "phase" of my whole30 experience. Is there anything I should definitely be eating/drinking before hand to help prevent this? I think I was pretty well hydrated. I ate chicken with avocado before I left the house this morning.

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http://forum.whole9life.com/topic/6783-severe-leg-pains-after-long-run/

A lot already posted on this topic:

Make sure you are well fueled the day before a long run by eating sweet potato,squash etc with meals and are recovered properly..... Once the tank is empty, no way to fill it back up during a run

Also, like many others, I needed to really take my training back a few notches when first starting W30.... It's a lot for your body to get used to.... By week 3-4 you should be really reaping the benefits

Good luck

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I have been having cramping in my legs and feet--what fun! and I was reading on here and on other paleo/primal sites that those of us that eschew processed foods may not get enough sodium in our diets, so we need to make sure we salt our foods. I was also reading about drinking brine from real pickles and sauerkraut--just a few T, not a glassful! Can be helpful as well.

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I only just found out about the sodium issue, too. It's not just because of the lower sodium intake without the processed crap. Apparently the body also wastes a lot of sodium via the kidneys when on a low carbohydrate diet.

Not sure if sodium has anything to do with the cramping, but it's good to be aware of that issue anyway.

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Contrary to popular belief.... When we exercise and sweat the volume of sodium in our systems actually increases by volume, by a relativly large margine. We lose water magnitudes faster than we do sodium, through increased resperation and sweat..... There are times when increasing sodium intake is helpful but that's another story.

While cramping/ pain/ soreness while on W30 happens my suggestion is to up your starchy carbs during the recovery phase of each and every workout..... And there are many phases to recovery,not just 20-30 min after but up until a time equal to your run/ etc. so if you did a four hour running, you need to be fueling at a set schedule until at least four hours post run to fully recover.... And carb => than expenditure.... somsweet potato 20 min after,sweet potato first meal post, sweet potato second meal post.....You can not make this up during your next run...

An even bigger issue is getting enough alkaline foods to balance out the increase of protein while on Paleo type diets. Meats are vey very acid on the PH scale and you need to eat a whole lot of leafy greens and some fruit to balance out your Ph.... If you don't your body will ALWAYS leach what it needs from bone/ muscle/organ and balance your Ph..... I know this to be the absolute truth in my case and led to horrible pain/cramping/hitting the wall/ out of gas..... ( lots of web info on Ph of various foods) Well that's the extreamly short,unscientific version.......

So however many veggies you are eating..... Double them! In my case I need to consume at least 6-8 cups of asst veg per day

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I totally agree with Fenderbender's comment and suggestion here.

But I will also add some additional thoughts.

1) wrt sodium/electrolyte intake - Fenderbender is spot on about losing more water when we sweat. And so the "relative" sodium will increase because you lose more water than sodium, and so your body becomes "saltier". So the most important thing to do after a workout is to HYDRATE!!! But... you do lose electrolytes like sodium, magnesium, calcium, etc during exercise. And so it's not a bad idea to replace those during and after a workout... but again, that can come from your food. Green leafy vegs being a great source.

2) What b1121 mentions about sodium and low carbohydrate diet -- as I understand it this is more related to what Fenderbender talks about relative to Acidity/Alkalinity of food. Protein is more acidic (as are breads and cheeses) and these acidic foods will "leach" electrolytes from your system. Sodium is one of those, but calcium, magnesium, and others are also leached. You need to replace all of these in your diet. I posted about the foods that help the most on this thread: http://forum.whole9life.com/topic/6783-severe-leg-pains-after-long-run/page__view__findpost__p__66472

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http://forum.whole9l...after-long-run/

A lot already posted on this topic:

Make sure you are well fueled the day before a long run by eating sweet potato,squash etc with meals and are recovered properly..... Once the tank is empty, no way to fill it back up during a run

Also, like many others, I needed to really take my training back a few notches when first starting W30.... It's a lot for your body to get used to.... By week 3-4 you should be really reaping the benefits

Good luck

Thankyou! I had read that other thread, but wasn't sure if it was a different problem due to the cramps happening while I ran. Have been doing all I can to up the amount of veggies I have, so will hopefully reap the rewards of that on this weekend's run!

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What b1121 mentions about sodium and low carbohydrate diet -- as I understand it this is more related to what Fenderbender talks about relative to Acidity/Alkalinity of food. Protein is more acidic (as are breads and cheeses) and these acidic foods will "leach" electrolytes from your system. Sodium is one of those, but calcium, magnesium, and others are also leached. You need to replace all of these in your diet.

My understanding is that apart from sodium the main concerns are calcium, magnesium and potassium.

The thing is, potassium is easy to replace. Fruit and vegetables are terrific sources anyway.

Calcium and magnesium? Easy, eat your leafy greens.

But sodium is an easy one to be low in.

It caught up with me in my third week of whole30, manifesting as fatigue and a slight dehydration headache. And I sure was drinking enough! I was incredibly thirsty during the first weeks (which should have been a clue already).

I doubt this would manifest in cramping. Also, I agree that if we balance the protein intake with enough vegetables it should not become a problem in the first place.

But transition is always a difficult time.

And if someone has an electrolyte issue already then it may be a good idea to keep sodium in the back of the head as well.

(A couple of glasses of saltwater were an instant fix for me and I have not had problems since. The thirst of the first few weeks has also disappeared.)

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Same thing just happened to me. I am on day 6 and am also training for my 2nd 1/2 marathon and completely hit a wall today. Pre whole 30 I would workout on an empty stomach almost 100% of the time and be fine. Today I had eaten a good breakfast and lunch and felt like I was having a lactic acid overload!! Let me know if you find anything that helps or if time is all I need

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Thankyou! I had read that other thread, but wasn't sure if it was a different problem due to the cramps happening while I ran. Have been doing all I can to up the amount of veggies I have, so will hopefully reap the rewards of that on this weekend's run!

And, Alice, what you're experiencing appears to be different than what I've had issues with. Mine is not cramping. Example: I did 22 miles last Sunday at just under 8 min pace and ran a substantial negative split for the second 11 miles. I felt strong mentally and physically (zero leg issues) the entire time. As soon as I finished, and within about 5 minutes, I had the issues I experienced after other long runs. Not as bad, but uncomfortable enough. Still searching for the answers... Good luck in your journey.

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