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Ask the Coach : Cramping During The Bike

Jojo Macalintal
  • Coach Jojo “Jomac” Macalintal is the Head Coach of TriMac Coaching and has been doing marathons, triathlons and cycling races for over 15 years. Today he remains a consistent medalist in his respective age category in local triathlons and duathlons.
  • He is a certified level 2 triathlon coach by the INTERNATIONAL TRIATHLON UNION (ITU). Coach Jomac is also a certified level 1 spinning instructor for MADD DOGG ATHLETICS as well as a certified trainer for TRX SUSPENSION TRAINING SYSTEM. To top it off, he’s also the running consultant and an official endorser of ADIDAS PHILIPPINES.
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SWIMBIKERUN.ph reader Raymond Cajucom always experiences cramping whenever he’s biking. Especially during a brick session! Should he just hydrate more? Or kick his training up a notch? See what our SBR.ph in-house coach Jomac has to say.


From Raymond Cajucom :

Good day Coach,

I always experience cramps during the bike part of Run-Bike brick
training. Regardless of how long the run part. I always run 5 km
2x/week and 40+ kms bike/wk. as part of my training. Should I hydrate more during the run part before I ride the bike? Or is it under training?

From Coach Jomac :

Hi Raymond!

Athletes usually get cramps from electrolyte imbalance/ poor nutrition and hydration, as well as simple muscle fatigue. Hydration regimens are different for each athlete. I usually advise intake of gels or other solid foods such as bananas, chocolates every 40 minutes to 1hour of prolonged activity, and consuming 500 – 750 ml of liquids every hour. You can consult with more experienced teammates/ friends for additional tips.

But if you experience cramps more often during brick sessions as compared to pure run or cycle sessions, it’s possible that your bike position needs adjustment or your running form needs a little improvement.

Many multisport athletes don’t realize that there is an optimal bike position for triathlon/ duathlon, which is different from the traditional road cycling position. Each athlete’s bike position is also unique to his/her abilities and needs, and is dependent on his/her strength, flexibility, endurance, etc. Bike set-up may also vary depending on the terrain/ requirements of the race.

If you compare elite ITU triathletes with elite Ironman/ long distance triathletes, you may notice that ITU triathletes use the standard drop bar and may or may not opt to attach a clip-on aerobar, as the races they join are shorter and are draft legal; while Ironman/ long distance athletes opt for the more aggressive bike set-up, with the tip of the saddle placed far forward, directly above or even beyond the center of the crank, as races are longer and are essentially like individual time trials.

Inefficient running form can also affect your run off the bike leg. Feel free to approach me during the Runnex Discover Running Clinic Series (IT’S FREE) every Sunday 6:30 am at U.P. Diliman Campus across College of Music, beginning October 16 until November 26.

Good luck!

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A triathlete making a comeback and a true blue Scorpio. That sums it up quite nicely :)

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