Couch to 5K

Ouch - calf cramp?

There I was in the early hours of this morning, about 3 am, nicely asleep when I woke all of a sudden with terrible pain in my right calf.

It was solid and very painful. Took a few minutes of hushed swearing, massaging and attempted stretching before it eased off enough for me to go back to sleep. Getting out of bed just before 5 to get ready for my run was a struggle, I could hardly walk and thought I might have to give today a miss.

But as I hobbled about getting my kit sorted, interspersed with much rubbing and massaging, it seemed to ease a bit. So I thought I'll go and see how I get on.

During the run it was fine, I could feel a tight knot in the muscle but it didn't cause me any problems, although I did take it easy for a good while to begin with. I managed to complete B210K W5R3, covering 8km in 61 mins (1 min walk between 2x 30 min runs).

Got home, more rubbing and massaging, even had a bit of a go with the foam roller - that bloody well hurt, could only stick it for a minute or so. All to no avail. That tight knot is still in there now, it's worse if I've been sitting down for a while.

I have never before in my life had cramp - my other half (who gets cramp quite often) says it sounds like what she gets, so I'm assuming that is what it is.

Does anybody have any suggestions on how to get rid of it?

6 Replies

I think it just means you are dehydrated. I've had calf cramp like this in the night before before I took up running - it's awful isn't it?! The best way to get rid of it when it happens is just to stretch it..


I've had the same problem with cramp not only in my calves but in my toes and ankles too. Someone suggested that this may be due to a lack of salts, as a result of sweating while running. After a run, I tried eating a banana and sprinkling a tiny bit of salt on my next meal (I don't add salt to anything normally) in addition to drinking plenty of water. Each time I've done this, no cramp!


Hi, replying a bit late here, but my solution to leg cramps from cycling is these fizzy tablets called high5 zeros (they have them in cycling shops, running shops, halfords even). I don't tend to have a whole tablet, just a half dissolved in my bottle of water on my bike. This keeps all the minerals/salts/electrolytes fed to my muscles. I cycle, sip some water, then cycle more, and it's then slowly fed in during the journey. Not sure what the equivalent for running would be, perhaps to drink a bit before and a bit after a run? But in theory this should translate. I used to get these awful leg cramps, some while cycling, but more often in the middle of the night as you described, but I seem to have eliminated them now. Maybe you've found another solution though, in the time since you posted this? Latte_Lady's suggestion seems to provide the same minerals - so a natural route might work just as well (maybe add sunflower seeds for the magnesium?)


Thanks for the reply and the information.

I haven't had a recurrence since the original incident. As I'd never had it before then either I can only think it was a one-off. Maybe I was lacking something at the time.

I did get some samples of some tablets that sound similar to the ones you suggested. They came with a running magazine I bought recently. Perhaps I'll give those a try, especially if the weather warms up, now that I'm running further. They might be a better option than my usual Orange, Lemon and Pineapple squash :)


Yeah that sounds good. I was really getting the cramps all the time, otherwise I'm sure good hydration and stretching could have fixed it. But basically sodium, potassium, magnesium etc all help to prevent cramps. I think a lot of sports drinks have those in, but the tablets are sugar free and cheaper in the long run, so I stick to them. Glad there's been no reoccurrence though! How's running going - did you mention running 10k in another post? Sounds like you're getting on excellently!


Yes I'm up to 10K now, contemplating an event in a couple of weeks time but having a wobble about it (just done another post about that).


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