Persistent Cramp

I'm training for my first triathlon. In recent weeks, I've been getting persistent cramps when swimming, which I find a little odd, as to be honest, as the swimming isn't the hardest training I do, and certainly not particularly hard on the legs. The cramps alternate between legs, and tend to be in the calves, but have also been in the quads. I'm basically cramping up every time I swim after about 1200m or so.

I've increased training up a bit in the past few weeks: running 3 or 4 times a week, turbo trainer 2 or 3 times a week, and swimming once or twice. Given that the cramps move about a bit, I am assuming it is probably something to do with diet - seems reasonable? Any advice?


  • Dan - it's probably the swimming itself - cramping in swims is pretty common

    there's no definite reason why it happens but most experts finger

    • pushing too hard off the wall
    • keeping toes straight (try to keep the ankle loose)
    • poor kick
    • dehydration (yep - you sweat a fair bit swimming)
    • electrolytes

    there's quite a good article here about it and suggested solutions -


  • As above...there's loads of reasons to why, and cramping whilst swimming is very common.

    Try and relax your legs more and focus on a more relaxed 'floppy' kick (as in floppy ankles). Also make sure you're having enough salts etc. I would often get them when I as morning training and so electrolyte levels were a bit depleted.  Mostly just try and keep your legs more relaxed, and if it happens stretch your leg off, massage the area a bit and then head off again focusing on a big, relaxed leg action

  • alternatively, swim with a pull buoy and don't bother with the kick if that's the cause of the cramps - one less problem then!

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