27 December 2009

A Banana A Day Keeps the Swim Cramps Away

I had a fifty minute spin workout today followed immediately by a swim workout in the pool that was suppose to be 2900 yards. I do this every Sunday. The yardage varies between 2500-3500 yards. I went hard on the bike and felt great, but when I got to the swim, I started noticing a little bit of fatigue pushing off of the wall. That fatigue  turned into a severe muscle cramp in the middle of my right hamstring that left it frozen stiff and unable to bend. The warning signs were there each time I pushed off the wall. It is amazing how much I learn every workout I have. What I learned this time around was to make sure I get some calories and fluids in my body before starting my workouts. For breakfast—the most important meal of the day—I had a small bowl of Grape Nuts and a cup of coffee. Yikes!  I should really know better, but for some reason I think that I should be able to skimp on my nutrition and get out there and perform well. A friend of mine, a super-duper athlete who wins a lot of regional sprint and olympic distance triathlons asked me if I had a banana this morning. I said no. She said, "You see, just have your banana next time and you'll be fine." Sure, I get it, potassium. I've done an exhausted amount of reading on the relationship between potassium and muscle endurance. There is some evidence to suggest that the relationship is beneficial. However, the amount of potassium you get from one banana does not come close to one serving of orange juice, or a potassium supplement. Then of course, there is GU, Hammer Gels, etc. that have some potassium in them. My only guess is that I did not have enough fuel in the engine again and was not properly hydrated. It is always embarrassing to have to bag a workout midway through, but I do it sometimes because it is just not there. Look, I know what I said last post about finishing. If it were Kona, I would swim with one leg, but it wasn't. So, I will start eating bananas before my workouts again. There was a time when I was eating quite a bit of them. I never had cramps. Coincidence? Perhaps, or is yet another Time Life Mystery of the Unknown? In any event, I did a good amount of swimming (6000 yards) and running (30 miles) this week. Starting to ramp up and the knees feel good. I am looking to prevent any cramping due to dehydration this week.

Oh, and I am looking at purchasing a bike trainer, new or used. Any suggestions? 


Kelly said...

I would say definitely a nutrition problem...did you eat anything between the bike and the swim?

We got our trainer last year used on Craigslist. It was barely used and we got a great deal.

Mark said...

Kelly, thanks. Of course I did not eat anything between workouts. I only had 15 minutes and it would not be macho. Kidding. Lesson learned. I sweat an awful lot on the bike too from moving so hard. I am sure I was dehydrated. Did I mention the pool doubled as the hot tub for the day as well?