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Cramps in the Molo Solo

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14 years 9 months ago #3291 by rambo
Gee these cramps are increasingly effecting a lot of paddlers in the Molo Solo. I'm wondering if it's something other than the usual culprit - low electrolyte levels caused by over hydrating the days before and flushing them out - or something more sinister.

Against scientific advice, quite a few of the older coaches are recommending long paddle training with no or very little hydration. Maybe this needs to be part of the Elite Athletes and indeed any athletes preparation for the Molokai Crossing?

Generally i think this effects the larger body mass person, the smaller paddlers appear to be ok.

What do you guys think?

Cheers Rambo

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14 years 9 months ago #3292 by ACE
Replied by ACE on topic Re:Cramps in the Molo Solo
Incorrect hydration is an obvious cause of cramping - but as paddlers get older they should look at taking Quinine - it works wonders for preventing cramping - sie effects - you will tan slightly yellow and it does prevent some strains of malaria.

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14 years 9 months ago - 14 years 9 months ago #3293 by rambo
Replied by rambo on topic Re:Cramps in the Molo Solo
Wasn't Quinine in a soft drink years ago and they banned it? I think i can recall the other side effect was diarrhea.

I've seen paddlers lick their forearm every 20 mins for a salt hit, could it be something that simple??

Rambo
Last edit: 14 years 9 months ago by rambo.

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14 years 9 months ago #3294 by YBA/Jim Murray
Not a scientist, but I think muscle cramping and spasms in a trained athlete is a result of electrolite imbalance. Low potassium level might be the one in particular. It seems strange that an athlete like Clint Robinson should suffer them. You can be sure that he well knows about feeding and hydration. Also, he must be well adapted to the stress of long distance paddling.
It would be interesting to hear what a specialist in sport medicine would say.

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14 years 9 months ago #3297 by MrTomKerr
RE:long paddle training with little or no hydration...

I am not an expert in this space either, but I remember many years ago when I was in the Army, being told that the US Military had done extenive testing and determined that you can not train the body to require less water by depriving it of water.

You can acclimate a body to heat and train it to be more efficient however.

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14 years 9 months ago #3298 by YBA/Jim Murray

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14 years 9 months ago - 14 years 9 months ago #3301 by garykroukamp
Unlikely you could take in enough salt by licking your forearm. Best to pay adequate attention to correct hydration with fluids containing balanced electrolytes. Cramping doesn't often happen in paddling, far more common in running and cycling, perhaps because getting splashed while paddling tends to cool you down. If you're known to cramp, perhaps add a teaspoon of salt per litre of your juice.
Last edit: 14 years 9 months ago by garykroukamp.

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14 years 9 months ago - 14 years 9 months ago #3305 by nell
Replied by nell on topic Re:Cramps in the Molo Solo
My guess is that "cramping" is a wastebasket term used when an athlete gets too tired, bonks, can't hold the pace anymore, gets dehydrated, bum gets too sore, mentally cracks, etc.

Also, I wouldn't assume that even the top athletes know exactly what they are doing when it comes to hydration and electrolyte replacement during long races. Guys like Hank who have done lots and lots of long races have found out through trial and error what works for them, though they might not know exactly why it works for them. Others might not have enough experience with that high of a tempo in that kind of heat for that long a time period.

When searching for info on electrolyte replacement, there is a lot of conflicting information on the web, even from "scientific studies". This makes is quite confusing if one relies completely on what they read rather than on what they read, what makes sense, and from their own experience.

Usually, bonking occurs between 1 hr 45 and 2 hr 15, so anytime someone pulls up with cramping in that window, it's oftentimes because of their body's inability to continue at high tempo after liver and muscle glycogen have been depleted. This can be avoided.
Erik Borgnes
Last edit: 14 years 9 months ago by nell.

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14 years 8 months ago #3312 by westo
Replied by westo on topic Re:Cramps in the Molo Solo
nell wrote:

Usually, bonking occurs between 1 hr 45 and 2 hr 15, so anytime someone pulls up with cramping in that window, it's oftentimes because of their body's inability to continue at high tempo after liver and muscle glycogen have been depleted. This can be avoided.
Erik Borgnes


Erik, can you elaborate on how this can be avoided? I agree, everyone needs to test themselves, but what do you know about keeping glycogen in the liver? do you load up a week or a few days in advance? do you add this to your race drink? or both?

i also think technique (using the arms instead of the larger muscle groups) is part of the cause of cramps.

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14 years 8 months ago #3315 by nell
Replied by nell on topic Re:Cramps in the Molo Solo
The usual cause of bonking is running out of glycogen AND being an inefficient fat burner. Both have to happen. The key is becoming an efficient fat burner and starting the long races with low blood insulin levels. How do you do that?
1. Become a better fat burner - Do your LSD training sessions of 3+ hrs without ingesting any calories. Only drink water or salted water. This will induce or activate more enzymatic pathways that are involved with fatty acid (fats) degradation. In essence, you want to nearly bonk in training and then keep on paddling.
2. Start the race with low blood insulin levels - to do this, don't eat or drink anything other than water in the 3-4 hr window prior to a long (2+ hr) race. Quite counterintuitive.

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14 years 8 months ago #3328 by westo
Replied by westo on topic Re:Cramps in the Molo Solo
Erik, thank you. i'll try this tomorrow

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14 years 8 months ago #3330 by Martin
Replied by Martin on topic Re:Cramps in the Molo Solo
Regarding quinine - I heard that there are many Saffas that have taken quinine to counter cramping. Comments indicate it is very effective. I did a search on the use for quinine as a cramp suppressantand was shocked at the negative aspects of injesting quinine. If anyone has more information on this I personally would be very interested.

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14 years 8 months ago #3331 by mendne
Replied by mendne on topic Re:Cramps in the Molo Solo
Ive been told quinine is in tonic water and yes it helps against cramps.

Having done lots of "other" long distance races I have used carbohydrate powder with electrolytes. The balance depends on how much your stomach can absorb which is something you need to play with in training. I read you cant burn fat without carbs, so no carbs your gone.

Ive recently started to use a product called Perpetuem, (no im not sponsored), which is a protein and carbohydrate mix together with a little gatorade as I find the level of electrolytes isnt enough for me. This meets all my food requirements and apart from a couple of gels is all I took for a recent 4hr+ race where I had a great performance. I think the protein helps, well it seems to work for me anyway.

For longer races ill also take salt tablets that you can buy from the local pharmacy.

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14 years 8 months ago #3332 by tomb
Replied by tomb on topic Re:Cramps in the Molo Solo
For those thinking of using quinine make sure that you are not allergic, as I am, the side affects for some are very nasty.

Tom B

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14 years 8 months ago #3333 by Tony B
Replied by Tony B on topic Re:Cramps in the Molo Solo
Here in Oz Quinine was used for prevention and treatment of cramps for years and was available on prescription for that purpose. However in the last few years it was taken off prescription due to the incidence of significant side effects like thrombocytopenia (low platelets) which can occur from a single dose. It also has a reasonably high incidence of allergy as well. Magnesium is now used for cramps but it is no where near as effective as magnesium used to be.

The practice of training on an empty tank as discussed in a previous post to aid fat burning is a dangerous practice. Training hard when fasted or dehydrated is asking for trouble as it encourages fatigue and injury. Hydration and nutrition should always be adequate in training and in racing. At an endurance medical conference I attended starvation/dehydration training was raised as a method that should not be used.

The way to become a better "fat burner" is through "Base Training". Base training is lower intensity, high volume training which trains the body to burn fat more efficiently. This trains the body to use fat burning as the preferred source of energy as intensity increases making for better efficiency. Training should be like a pyramid with a big base of lower intensity and a small peak of high intensity work to avoid injury and burn out.

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