Viewing 34 posts - 1 through 34 (of 34 total)
  • Under hydration, over hydration, and cramps.
  • Premier Icon mjsmke
    Free Member

    Bit of background information: I’ve riden my bike more this year than any other year and feel fitter, got some PB’s and managed some longer rides without any issues. Rest AND stretch pretty well too. Not over or under weight a 58kg. Always needed a lot of water while riding and add High 5 hydration tablets (2 litres with 2 tablets for a couple of hours). I’m always thirsty so was tested for diabetes earlier in the year as it runs in the family. The result was negative so rulled that out.
    Only have 1 or 2 coffees a day and don’t drink much alcohol at all.

    While it was very hot 2 weeks ago I didn’t ride and stayed hydrated as I was resting for the Twentyfour12 this weekend.

    Felt good for 3 laps, then during my 4th lap I suffered the worst muscle cramps I’ve had in years. It was both legs, quads and hamstrings that kept locking and tensing. Tried to stretch my quads, and my hamstrings tensed up with a lot of pain which prevented me from stretching. Then the opposite while trying to stretch my hamstrings.

    Managed 4 more laps very slowly and felt dizzy, sick, dry lips, sore eyes, headache, and thirsty. Felt like dehydration but couldn’t drink any more. Now, I drank a lot of water during the Friday and Saturday (12 litres) with half a tube of High 5 tablets. Peed a lot, but still thirsty. Had a recovery drink too bit it didn’t stop the cramps.

    Anyone have any idea if I’m missing something important? Anything I’m doing wrong? I can’t tell if I’m drinking too much or too little.

    Premier Icon lunge
    Full Member

    Have you ridden the distance you rode at the event before? And if so, how regularly/recently?

    My experience with cramp is that it’s got little or nothing to do with hydration and everything to do with fitness and how used to that level of exercise you are.

    I used to cramp at 2 or so hours, found out that when I got fit and rode for 2 hours regularly then I stopped getting cramp.

    Premier Icon mjsmke
    Free Member

    Have you ridden the distance you rode at the event before? And if so, how regularly/recently?

    Yes, in previous years I’d ridden much less in both distance and time, yet managed to do more at the event each year. This year, my weekly duration is more in both time and miles than previous years, and still put in rest weeks. Got some PBs and managed much longer rides too. Overall endurance is better than its ever been. Despite the symptoms I had yesterday, my energy levels were fine.

    Premier Icon whitestone
    Free Member

    I (sort of) lift weights for work, walling, and it doesn’t make much difference. It might be that lifting weights strengthens other muscle groups such as the lower back and abdomen so the leg muscles aren’t doing more work than they should be.

    Age seems to be a factor, I get cramps much more than I did ten years ago, I’ll cramp in bed or just walking around the house. Usually it’s something like pushing the muscle past my normal range – flicking my heel towards my bum will light up that hamstring as an example. One thing I don’t do as much these days is stretching but I’m not sure if that’s correlation or coincidence.

    All the above is N=1 so anecdotal rather than “data”.

    Premier Icon intheborders
    Free Member

    Always needed a lot of water while riding and add High 5 hydration tablets (2 litres with 2 tablets for a couple of hours).

    You’re 3/4 of my bodyweight yet on a short ride (say 10-15 miles & 1000-2000ft) like that I’ll barely drink 500ml. I’d talk to your GP.

    Premier Icon big_scot_nanny
    Full Member

    IANAD… However that does sound like a heck of a lot of water.

    I weigh twice what you do, and consume about half what you would (just water for me) on a ride of 2hrs. Unless it’s a 35degree day or something nuts then it might be a bit more.

    Years ago, when I used to ride with a camelback, and would just constantly drink during a ride. Probably consume 3L over 2-3hrs. I felt horrific about an hour after every ride.

    When I got a bike with a bottle cage and SWAT i couldn’t be arsed with a pack anymore, and dropped to drinking a 750ml bottle in teh same ride.

    Post ride illness stopped.

    Absolutely no science in my response, sorry! But there is definitely something going on with you and hydration that seems a wee bit out of whack?

    Premier Icon Nobeerinthefridge
    Free Member

    12 litres over 2 days? Do you have gills?!!! 🤣

    Premier Icon whatyadoinsucka
    Free Member

    What do you drink Monday to Friday,

    Are you fully hydrated before a ride, as others have said on short 1-2 hr evening rides I don’t tend to drink that much ( a few mouthfuls) as I’ve been drinking water all day.

    I use high5/wiggle and legs can cramp at the 1000m climbing mark but it soon goes away

    Premier Icon oldnick
    Full Member

    No one else read the title to the tune of Wombling Free? Just me then.

    Premier Icon highlandman
    Free Member

    Those numbers are pretty significant and I’d hazard a guess that you have upset your electrolyte balance by a) over hydrating and b) taking far too much electrolyte tabs. But without doing multiple basic U&Es trackside, we cannot say for sure.
    You don’t need the tabs and I’d recommend cutting them out; they don’t help, they’re mostly marketing. If you are eating well, you have all the salts & minerals that you need on board already. Simple dietary intake from eating real food before and during events should provide everything that you need. After all, at 58kg, you have well over a kilo of readily available salts on board already, why do you need to add more?
    Get off the pushing fluid programme, allow yourself a few weeks of moderate exercise to re-calibrate. Then, and most importantly: Drink to thirst. That’s it.

    For a bit of clarity- I’m a specialist medic at endurance races.

    Premier Icon mjsmke
    Free Member

    During the week I drink lots of water too. One or two coffees in the morning.

    Anyone know if its possible to overdo the electrolyte tablets? I was adding 2-3 to every refil of my 2 litre hydration pack. That was roughly every 2 hours. Maybe too many?

    Premier Icon Onzadog
    Free Member

    Tim Noakes has some interesting videos about hydration and endurance sports. Might be worth watching a few.

    Premier Icon mjsmke
    Free Member

    @highlandman just read your post. That’s what I’m starting to think.

    Premier Icon Twodogs
    Full Member

    I was adding 2-3 to every refil of my 2 litre hydration pack. That was roughly every 2 hours. Maybe too many?

    Er….yeah, maybe 🙄

    Premier Icon Flaperon
    Free Member

    The electrolyte tabs don’t include all the electrolytes you need – they’re mainly salt. In my experience, depending on your sensitivity to some of the ingredients they might actually make the situation worse by encouraging you to pee.

    Have you tried measuring how much you actually sweat during a ride? Weigh yourself before heading out on a warm day, then again when you get back and subtract anything you’ve had to drink. Turbo trainer is probably an easier way to do this if you have one.

    Premier Icon benman
    Free Member

    I had terrible cramp at a recent big event, and have been researching / experimenting since then to try and avoid it happening again.

    So far, some things that seem to be working are…

    Pre-loading with electrolytes (the day before/morning of) before a big day. If you are a salty sweater, you are probably not going to replace the amount of salts you lose by using tablets during the event. My helmet straps and bib shorts get covered in salt crystals on a hot day.

    Another thing is that drinking so much water could be diluting the salts that you already have.

    The last thing which I think has helped is getting a more ventilated helmet. I was using an aero helmet with only a small amount of ventilation, and I was overheating.

    Premier Icon Keva
    Free Member

    Im the same weight as you, well a bit more @59.5kg – I’m 5’4″ btw and low body fat @less than 15%
    I can go out on a 30-40mile xc ride with 2500ft climbing and take a 1.5liter camelback with me – I still usually have half a pint left when I get back unless it’s 28’c + scorcher.
    I use 1x hydration tablet and a bit of fruit juice, say a quarter/third maybe of a pint.
    I usually take my lunch with me or eat before I go, and stop for a bit of fruit and a couple of gels. If I’m pushing towards a 40miler then I’ll have an energy bar as well.

    Premier Icon ernielynch
    Free Member

    Then, and most importantly: Drink to thirst.

    I don’t doubt that is sound advice for someone who is over hydrating, and it was always what I very strongly believed. Until that is my intense bouts of palpitations was investigated by a cardiologist and she concluded that dehydration was the issue.

    She claimed that our modern lifestyles has caused us to lose the ability to effectively recognise thirst. Which seemed very strange to me as thirst is such a basic instinct. But it would appear that our brains in a modern environment of easily available water, sugar, food, caffeine, and other unnatural stimulants, can indeed get confused by what it is that we crave, as this article gives an insight :

    https://www.huffpost.com/entry/natural-thirst-the-instin_b_9547500/amp

    The forced increased hydration whilst probably not enough has resolved my palpitations issues, as it has my post ride jitters which I was told was also due to dehydration. When I now occasionally feel my blood pressure falling which the cardiologist claimed was due to dehydration I start increasing my water intake.

    As I say I don’t doubt that drink to thirst is sound advice for the OP but it’s worth pointing out that for many, maybe even the majority of adults, that is not necessarily the case.

    Premier Icon nickc
    Full Member

    Now, I drank a lot of water during the Friday and Saturday (12 litres)

    Do you regard this as normal? I mean d’you normally drink this much? As that is a boat load! I don’t think I’ve ever drunk 12 liters of anything in 48 hours

    Premier Icon JonEdwards
    Free Member

    That sounds like a monstrous amount of liquid to put away for a pretty small person.

    As a comparison I’m a wiry 63kg. On a 2hr ride, unless its absolutely baking, I might have a mouthful, possibly 2. In winter I might not bother taking anything.

    I’ve just done a 3 day gravel tour – 210miles and 5km vert. I got through a bit under 4 750ml bottles of water (so 2l) across the 3 days, plus a lunch stop coffee each day. Drank “normally” before and after the rides. Temp was mid teens, weather a bit variable.

    I might use Torq energy powder if I’m expecting to be pushing proper hard, but never used straight electrolyte tabs.

    Premier Icon highlandman
    Free Member

    Ernie, I’d suggest that you speak to your cardiologist again as you may have misunderstood the advice given. De-hydration normally leads to increases in BP, as your blood thickens as it loses water and the controls adapt to pump a fluid at higher viscosity.
    Pronouncements on the condition of your blood during strenuous exercise are tricky without detailed analysis, which is not normally something that the NHS will cover for you.
    Having tested many endurance athletes in a range of environments, I still reckon that generally speaking, modern humans are perfectly well equipped to maintain their own salt & water balances, provided you don’t side-swipe the system with buckets of electrolyte drink.

    Premier Icon mjsmke
    Free Member

    Do you regard this as normal? I mean d’you normally drink this much? As that is a boat load! I don’t think I’ve ever drunk 12 liters of anything in 48 hours

    My issue is I was so thirsty. And always am thirsty. If I drink to thirst I’d never stop drinking.
    Drinking to thirst is a controversial topic as some reports say when you feel thirst it’s too late, you are already dehydrated.

    Premier Icon ernielynch
    Free Member

    Thanks Highlandman, no I am certain about what the consultant cardiologist said, I’ve seen her several times, I’ve been discharged now.

    It very much surprised me when she said my low blood pressure was due to dehydration, what you have suggested does sound more logical.

    She also explain how when dehydrated my blood thicken which caused my heart to work harder. She said the headrushes caused by low blood pressure was due to dehydration. I definitely had dehydration issues.

    Premier Icon nickc
    Full Member

    Yeah but thirsty enough for 6 litres a day? How do you not burst?

    You must be constantly weeing, surely?  🙂 Think the research shows what about 3 litres a day (and that’ll be an average man, so about 178cm and 75kg), so you’re drinking twice as much as you need…I think that might have something to do with it, perhaps?

    Premier Icon tillydog
    Free Member

    My issue is I was so thirsty. And always am thirsty. If I drink to thirst I’d never stop drinking.

    But you’re drinking salty water!

    2 High 5 tabs contain the equivalent of over 1.2 grams of salt (500mg sodium)

    Heed Highlandman

    Premier Icon mjsmke
    Free Member

    But surely it wasn’t too much sodium. There’s much more salt in things like bacon and crisps and I dont eat anything like that. I don’t add salt to any food. Was eating things like pasta, plain chicken, veg, eggs, fruit, oats, porridge, unsalted nuts etc.

    2 High 5 tabs contain the equivalent of over 1.2 grams of salt (500mg sodium)

    Are you sure? I thought 500mg was 0.5 grams.

    e.g 1mg = 0.001g

    Premier Icon Flaperon
    Free Member

    My issue is I was so thirsty. And always am thirsty.

    Have you spoken to a doctor about this or had a blood sugar test?

    You can’t equate salt to sodium on a 1:1 basis, table salt has chlorine bolted to the sodium atom.

    Premier Icon mjsmke
    Free Member

    Have you spoken to a doctor about this or had a blood sugar test?

    Yes, got the all clear.

    Premier Icon tillydog
    Free Member

    Are you sure? I thought 500mg was 0.5 grams.

    It’s 0.5g of sodium

    1g of table salt (sodium chloride) contains ~0.4g of sodium. Ergo 0.5g of sodium is what you would get from ~1.25g of salt.

    (There is salt in almost all processed food, whether it tastes salty or not.)

    Premier Icon flicker
    Full Member

    @oldnick not just you 😀

    Premier Icon whitestone
    Free Member

    Was out working today – about 18C all day with a breeze. I drank 4 x 750ml water bottles, i.e. 3L. That’s doing physical work, dry stone walling, for eight hours. I’m 85kg and wasn’t dehydrated.

    I was chatting to an endurance runner a few years ago – he’d been attempting the Paddy Buckley Round in Snowdonia and got hospitalised with hyponatraemia, basically he’d drunk too much water and had diluted his body salts.

    Premier Icon tillydog
    Free Member

    There’s much more salt in things like bacon and crisps

    Out of curiosity, I just looked at the back of a crisp packet – Walkers ready salted crisps: 25g pack has 0.34g of salt vs the 1.25g in the 2x High 5 tabs.

    That 2 litres of “hydration mix” has got more salt in it than three bags of crisps. No wonder you’re thirsty! 🙂

    Premier Icon reeksy
    Free Member

    @mjsmke i’m another person that needs a lot of hydration compared to everyone else I know. I’m much heavier than you, and I ride in conditions that are much hotter than the UK – your heatwaves are our normal summer. Your normal summer is our winter. I still prefer the cold though.

    I tend to piss a lot. Always have done. If i’m in anyway cold it’s constant. I’ve not got diabetes.

    I very rarely use any hydration salts, but when i used to ride with a pack i could regularly get through 3 litres of plain water on a two hour ride. I remember doing a 65km, 1500m ride with a guy in hot weather here once. He didn’t even get through 750ml. I drank the three litres and needed more at the end. The most I did was 9 litres in a 9 hour obstacle race.

    I started riding due to crippling DOMS from any kind of running. It was horrific. Riding is much kinder to my muscles, although i’ve had a couple of cramping experiences, it’s been logical (100km rides, big elevation rides, bonking due to poor nutrition)

    A few years into riding though i’ve tapered off significantly. The best thing i did was ditch the pack. I sweat like a … well. I sweat a lot. Covering my back was a problem. It’s super important for letting the heat out. Mates laugh at me wringing my shirt out at the end of rides as i’m completely soaked through.

    I carry a one litre bottle now and a small frame pack for bits and bobs. The water just lasts a 2 hour intense ride and I have another in the car to drink at the end.

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