‘The cramps hit so hard I looked like the girl at the start of Jaws’

So we’ve passed the mid-point of this year’s race season, and it’s throwing up some interesting questions for 220 readers on our forum….


5 foods… that may prevent or ease cramp


Like what causes rust on race medals? How to speed up recovery between heavy training sessions? And what can be done about double calf cramps in the swim that make you look like an early casualty in a shark film?

First though, here’s Andrew Humphreys with a more natural approach to race nutrition which he picked up from the punishing sands of the Sahara:

“I have come to triathlon from a ultra marathon background and whilst doing long run training found that energy gels would often give me a quick lift and then I would get a rebound low.  This set me on a mission to find alternatives to the energy gel/ manufactured approach to race nutrition, I decided to take a leaf out of the Moroccans’ book and try dates, dried fruit and nuts; a lot of the Moroccan runners eat these to sustain themselves over the course of the Marathon De Sables.

“Since trying this approach I never seem to get the highs and lows associated with manufactured products and can sustain myself for extended periods with limited intake; on a fasted six hour bike ride I will normally take in 2 bananas, 4/ 5 dates and a small handful of nuts.”

(Image: Rxmxbx)

Forum moderator ris has a clever idea for newbies getting nervous about their first triathlon:

“You could set yourself a ‘gold/silver/bronze’ time for each discipline, if you think there are some bits you can challenge. For a first bash at each distance the target can only be to finish and with a big smile on your face!”

On the subject of medals, Angiemac has some thoughts on the rust a fellow forum poster has spotted on their race awards:

“Greeny/yellow is probably the result of the salts from your sweat reacting with copper in your medal. Clean it off, give the medal a rinse, dry carefully and gloat in private. PS it shouldn’t be “catching” unless next to a medal of the same material or sweaty conditions continue.”

clareil is struggling with muscle recovery, and wants some advice:

“I’m currently training for my first sprint tri. I was reasonably fit coming into it and would run/gym it regularly.  Since starting out on my tri journey however I am really struggling with muscle recovery….a tough bike or run session leaves me stiff and sore for 2-3 days. I don’t want to take that much time off after each training sessions so some of my runs/bikes are complete torture with heavy legs. Any advice? I eat a good balanced diet, try to up carbs on training days but any advice for muscle recovery would be greatly appreciated! If i’m on fresh legs my training is amazing but not realistic unforunately to leave a break inbetween.”

(Image: iStockPhoto)

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And finally, rob chalmers wants to know how to stop cramp making him look like an early victim in a shark film:

“Recently I suffered an amazing double calf cramp while attmepting (ne: failing) to do a  crawl-backstroke-crawl buoy turn. Honesty the cramps hit each calf so hard I must have looked like the girl at the start of Jaws! (but less naked and I was sober). Problem is it’s now 40hrs on and my right calf still feels solid and I can’t stand on tiptoes. Is this normal? anyone else had it?” 

(Main image: iStockPhoto)


Head over to our Forum for lots more tri chat and advice

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