Avoiding cramps during a half-Ironman.
I'm a triathlete, and despite adequate training, hydration, and sodium intake I still get severe muscle cramping during my races. I rarely get the cramps during training. My recent half-Ironman race had perfect weather--overcast and not very warm. I stayed with my race plan to keep my cadence on the bike at 90 to 105, with my heart rate at 70 to 80 percent of maximum. I was comfortable until mile 38, and then suddenly my quadriceps and adductors started to cramp, slowing my pace.
When I got off the bike, I got severe cramps in both my hamstrings and adductors. I walked as best I could and after two miles I was able to run the rest of the race. I did walk through the water stops for 10 to 20 seconds. My medial quads were painful through the whole run. This is a typical experience that I have. It seems that during the longer races I have the most trouble. I am not sure if my training is incorrect, my salt intake too low or my calories insufficient. I am just not sure where to go from here. I have been reluctant to use salt tablets during these events. I have had my bike fitted. I have calculated out my calorie requirement and my hydration needs. What is the next step? I am 54 years old, in good shape, and have been doing all distances of triathlon as well as marathons for 17 years.