Sunday, May 11, 2008

cramping while swimming masters

I made it to my second Masters swim workout yesterday morning and wound up swimming my farthest distance yet (2100m), but still not as far as the rest of the folks in the program.

For the second week in a row, however, I was stymied due to awful cramping in both calves and eventually both feet. I can't say I've had cramps like this before, but wow are they painful. Maybe it's due to dehydration but that feels more than a little ironic given I only get cramps working out while swimming.

So what's up with the cramping?

While I'd have thought the cramps would affect my running, they haven't. I'm able to enjoy a five mile run after an initial half-mile of working through the calf pain, so it's gotta be the swimming.

Several folks at the Masters swim suggested it's because I'm incorporating new kicks into my swim routine (read: breast stroke) and my legs just aren't used to it. I found a discussion forum on the US Masters Swimming site where the issue of cramping is discussed, and user "gjy" speaks to the situation in a way that most makes sense to me:
I am going to further guess that if you continue to do swims in the same conditions you will have fewer and fewer cramps as both your body and muscle gets acclimated to the activity. The best prevention may be just getting used to it. But it doesn't always work that way. Unfortunately, you may have to get a few more cramps to find out either way.
So, I'm just going to have to muscle through this. In any case, I'm happy to see my distances increasing and enjoying the camaraderie of the folks in the slow lane with me :-)

What was this week's swim workout?

Warmup (500m)
  • 300m free
  • 100m non-free
  • 100m kick
Sesson 1 (600m)
  • 200m butterfly (free for me)
  • 2000m free
  • 2000m breast
Session 2 (1000m)
  • 8x25 (free, non-free alternate)
  • 6x50 (free, non-free alternate)
  • 4x75 (free, non-free alternate) <--cramping started here
  • 2x100 (free, non-free alternate)
And the rest of the group added another 1200 meters of session 3 and cool down, but I ended after session 2.

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