The most common cause of cramps is usually “unaccustomed exercise.” And although you may train very hard, competing in events like triathlon puts such forces through your muscles that they simply don’t experience during training.
Add a dose of motivation, a sprinkle of worry and a boat load of competitiveness and your muscles will wonder what on earth you’re doing to them. And then it comes to an attack of cramp.
So, the very first thing to do is get some races in earlier in the season to make your muscles to get used to ‘real’ training. You can also simulate high intensities during training, but be aware that these sessions will never be as helpful as racing itself.
The idea is that you’ll get the cramping out of the way in the first few practice races and you’ll be clear of it for the important ones. Consider cramp as an indicator that you’re getting a good training effect.
Other causes of cramp could include dehydration, low electrolyte levels, or low muscle temperatures, which could be the cause for cramp when swimming during triathlons. Many triathletes complete ‘brick sessions’ to practise the transition between biking and running as this can be a major cause of cramp.