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How I beat the dreaded cramp…

How I beat the dreaded cramp…

How I beat the dreaded cramp…

I find from most top athletes to my own training partner, everyone has their own secret for performance that they don’t really care to divulge. They may hint towards a remedy or two but their full recipe is always concealed.

 

top secret

 

It’s important to make clear that I do understand that if one thing works for me it may not necessarily work for you, but recently I have discovered a gem that I couldn’t wait to share with other trail runners enduring the relentless mid-run cramp. I am a guy that has suffered with cramping all my life, as soon as I get to the 18km mark on a hard trail I’m left crawling home.

 

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Cramping after the 3 falls trail run.

 

I have tried everything that you see on TV, trail magazines or the remedy Johnny down the road swears by, but they all still left me grovelling to the finish line. I had doctors tell me it’s because I’m not drinking or eating enough on a run, so I did a race not worried about my time at all and consciously ate and drank the recommended quantities, but again I was left doing a hippo roll up a hill because I’d lost the use my legs yet again.

This left me at a point in my trail running career where I thought maybe I would have to give up my passion of doing long distance trail and settle, being completely unfulfilled, with shorter races. Disconcerted by this thought I gave it one last go and did as much research as I could to find something that would help me stop cramping for good. Eventually I came across a brand called Hammer Nutrition. They had a product called Hammer Nutrition Extreme Endurolytes tablets (I sound like an advert but unfortunately a plodder like myself has no chance of being sponsored by them). The product had great reviews for preventing cramp and I thought I should give it a go as my last try for a solution.

 

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Magic!

 

Initially I couldn’t find it in any store and it was sold out online, was my only hope gone? I was so desperate I emailed hammer and they managed to get me two bottles of 60 pills (thanks guys). I couldn’t wait to try them so I booked a camping trip to the Drakensberg to give these new tablets a real test. I arrived on Friday and thought I would go on a casual hike to see the area and stretch the legs, so I left the tablets behind on my first day ‘warm up’ run. Well in true Drakensberg style, I got lost and my casual 3 hour hike turned into a 7 hour nearly life threatening ordeal, I was left in the very familiar situation of having to jump off boulders into trees with not much help from my cramping legs.

 

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Injisuthi.

I was now really concerned about day 2 as I was going to attempt to climb the great Mafadi Mountain (the highest peak in South Africa). I managed to once again, in true Michael Baker style, drift off course getting lost somewhere between giant peaks soaring above me. This time however I was well packed to survive a full day (food, water and my new Hammer tablets). I spent 7 hours hiking, running and climbing and by some miracle I didn’t cramp once! It was a bit surreal at the time and I spent half my run in pure amazement and disbelief not only at these tablets but I was able really appreciate what was around me for the first time without concentrating on my crippling legs.

 

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“Some beautiful paths can’t be discovered without getting lost” Erol Ozan.

I now had to really test this stuff out on day 3, I had tired legs but thought this would be the best way to see if these magic pills work. I set off to Monks Cowl for my last day because the paths are welled marked and manicured (less chance of drifting again), I could now run harder and really push these tablets to their limit. I ran a total of 20km climbing over 1000m with a really fast decent and I didn’t cramp once.

 

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Sharing the spectacular view.

Trail running as I know it has now changed for me, I have done numerous local races and recently the Lesotho Ultra and I didn’t cramp once, if I was ever going to cramp it would have been in Lesotho climbing over 2500 metres ascend. I have no idea how no one has told me about these or why runners aren’t using these magic tablets because they have enabled me to push myself even further in the future (#skyrun2016). I must say I am definitely not sponsored by Hammer and I bought these pills at full price online, so I’m certainly not marketing or doing any favours for Hammer. As a fellow trail Runner I want ever one to go further and push harder, if you suffer from cramp you really have to give this a try.

 

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All smiles after a cramp-less race.

I hope it works for you too, please let me know about your cramping stories and remedies!

 

Michael Baker

If I could I would live in the mountains... I'm a sports enthusiast who is up for any challenge. Entering races and going to random places to run completes me. Young, passionate, bearded and with a decent set of legs there is no mountain to tall...

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About The Author

If I could I would live in the mountains... I'm a sports enthusiast who is up for any challenge. Entering races and going to random places to run completes me. Young, passionate, bearded and with a decent set of legs there is no mountain to tall...

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