Ever since I started training for triathlon, my time in the pool has been cursed. Aside from my incessant hunger when I get out of the water (unless, of course, I end up drinking too much water to have room for food), I get these debilitating calf cramps that literally make me stop in my tracks (or lane, I suppose). I can usually feel it coming on, after a few hundred yards (or even a few thousand), with the flip turn and the pointed toes, and it just lingers in the background. All of a sudden, BAM! It strikes. I can’t move my foot, and the cramp is so intense that my whole body freezes up. This usually occurs halfway of the length of the pool, so I look like I just give up on my set. I really want to keep going, I swear!
So I don’t really know what it is. Here are potential culprits:
Electrolyte imbalance: I know about hypotonic/osmolalic factors that attribute to water-getting-into-the-cells. The right amount of sodium (positively charged) and chloride (negatively charged) is what matters. There’s other aspects, too- like hypomagnesemia which interferes with the sensory nerves, and low calcium/potassium triggers. Without getting too into the nitty-gritty-sciency-ness that is proper nutritional balance (especially since I am not a nutrition expert), it’s important to keep electrolytes in check. This means not too much, but also not too little.