Cramping My Style

pause my garminI do a lot of stretching as part of my training (I’d like to keep my splits throughout this little endeavor) but right now I’m more concerned with keeping my calves from cramping.  It’s been a recurring problem for which I’ve tried supplementation, changes in stride, more hydration, different shoes, different insoles, massage, and endless stretching but to no avail.  I’m having to stop and stretch during all of my runs which is incredibly frustrating.  (Again, I find that I am grateful that I postponed my marathon.)

The problem, it turns out is that my achilles tendons are very tight – my physical therapist says she sees it a lot in dancers. The most frustrating thing isn’t the cramping though, it’s the way that it’s messing with my training for the run. Once the cramping starts, it won’t stop until I take a stretching break.  So my actual running is getting faster, but my overall times are staying the same or getting even longer because of the stretch breaks.  Also taking tons of breaks isn’t helping to increase my endurance.

So running continues to be frustrating but I will not be stopped.  I’ll keep going to PT, keep doing my stretches, and keep running until I cross the finish line.

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About danceswithfat

Hi, I’m Ragen Chastain. Speaker, Writer, Dancer, Choreographer, Marathoner, Soon to be IRONMAN, Activist, Fat Person.
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11 Responses to Cramping My Style

  1. Courtney M. says:

    Go you! I don’t have any advice or even experience with this, but know that I’m over here in your corner, cheering for you!


  2. Stacy says:

    You’re awesome, Ragen! Keep fighting! I’m so proud of you for your determination – those craps would have stopped may people. It’s wonderful to see how you’re pushing through. Like Courtney, I’m in your corner and cheering for you. Rock on, sister!


  3. Karen Williams says:

    Might want to increase your calcium and magnesium. I get calf cramps on occasion too and ask any trail runner and they will tell you the same. You are awesome!


    • Thanks for the suggestion Karen! This is definitely one of the fist things that we tried. We’ve learned that the problem is structural but if I get them again after the tendon problem is solved I’ll definitely try this again!



  4. Susan says:

    Ragen, can you walk with the cramps or do you have to stop? I’m envious of all the wonderful help you are getting on this journey.


  5. iameowyn says:

    Thanks for all you do, Ragen! And for writing so thoughtfully, bravely, and with such good humor. You have helped me so much in different ways.

    I want to ask if you (or your LMT) have tried Graston/IASTM? It may be the missing link to solve your calf cramps. I encourage you to seek out a massage therapist or PT that uses those tools. Try a couple rounds and see! Prepare yourself for crazy intense sensation, but I reckon you’re up to it! Email me if you have questions. All the very best with your triathlon journey.


  6. Heidi says:

    I have the same problem–tight achilles too, I think. Regardless, I find Sport Legs supplement really helps, taken an hour before I run. I know you said you’ve tried supplements, but if you have tried THAT one, it’s worth a shot. Good luck! Stretch breaks suck, I feel ya!


  7. Mich says:

    For over a decade I had calf cramps, but they went away when I increased my salt intake. I also started eating alot more and exercising less to recover (following the MinnieMaud guidelines) and I have felt better than in my whole life. I’ve also been taking some iron which has helped with the bone pain.


  8. karenashg says:

    I know some cramp-prone people who swear by pickles when biking or running, such that they’ll even keep a couple in a pocket when on a bike/run (insert bad joke here…). Something about the salt and acid in them seems to give the body some sort of reassuring “don’t panic” message, such that they will find relief from their cramps upon first bite, well before anything even has time to enter their bloodstream. Individual results vary of course, but might be worth a try.


  9. karenashg says:

    Here’s an article attempting to explain the pickle phenomenon (note they used pickle juice)


  10. ouizeeb says:

    I had a similar issue when I was training for long runs. Someone told me to rub Traumeel (lotion with Arnica in it) on my calves before I went out. I used it before and after, and eventually I noticed the cramping stopped completely. Not a scientific approach, but when training sometimes you have to try everything!


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