The onset of cramps is a phenomenon that affects both trail runners and runners during Endurance competitions. It is a key factor to know how to prevent and fight them during an ultra trail.
The scientific community is quite unanimous in believing that it depends on a triple deficit: magnesium, sodium but above all potassium. Obviously, other factors also intervene such as a too fast a start, a lack of training suitable for the effort being sustained, insufficient hydration, pre-race stress. Since potassium plays a primary role, it is important to define its use and the necessary contribution.
Lack of potassium has a direct effect in causing a hydro-electrical disorder which will lead to abnormal muscle tension responsible for the onset of cramps. The daily need for potassium for an adult is 4-5gr. In the case of an Ultra Trail race, the requirement increases. The advice is to predict about 400mg of potassium per liter of liquids, including those lost through sweating and urinary tracts.
As an indication, this is the quantity present in 1 banana (422mg of Potassium) Making a quick calculation: for 7 liters of liquid lost we must add 2.8gr of potassium to the daily ration of 4 gr.
We often talk about the banana because we can easily find it at refreshment points but there are also other interesting foods that we can consider. For example, 175gr of potatoes, often present in some competitions, with the addition of a small quantity of water provide 1081mg of potassium.
And if despite everything, the cramp occurs? The answer is to adopt a Zen attitude!In the event of a cramp it is important to stop, relax, massage the part from bottom to top and vice versa and stretch the muscle, hydrate and take a pill or an anti-cramp preparation that must never be missing in your backpack (e.g. Leg Cramps Dietalinea) Can’t solve your nutritional or other problems? Book a free consultation: email@example.com
Digital Strategic Marketing Director – certified Innovation Manager – in multinational companies, she is still today the only Italian female athlete to have ran 900 km and 55,000m D+ in the mountains in a single stage race (Transpyrenea 2016, 3rd women overall). She counts numerous Podiums and international Victories on races over 100k. She holds a SNaQ CONI certification as a Trail Running Coach, Athletic Trainer and in Nutrition and Sports Supplementation. Since 2014 she is President and sports executive of innovative technology startups and companies, including Trail Running Movement and Digital Sport 360. She trains elite trail running athletes and she teaches in trail running coach certification courses. She is an author of sports articles on training, nutrition and supplementation in trail running and running, both in Italian and in English and Spanish. She manages relationships and collaborations with Federations and Race Organizers.