The last few mornings I've gotten horrible calf cramps while lying in bed and stretching upon waking up. They're so bad that I walk around the rest of the day with a strained calf muscle.
I haven't experienced these kinds of cramps in years, but I recently started watching what I eat (basically just cut out the crap food and now eating healthy-whole grains, lean protein, fruits/veg- attempting to lean out a bit for fall racing) and I suspect that has something to do with it. However, I don't see that I could be deficient in any mineral because I've been eating a very, very healthy, nutritious diet. I'm taking calcium supplements and a multivitamin, and eating 5-9 fruits/veggies a day.
Any experience/advice with this?
I'm afraid I'll get a cramp so bad that it does some serious damage. Also afraid that its a mineral deficiency that may have other consequences besides calf cramps. It would be a really stupid way to get injured and don't want to get sick in some other way.
Calf problems like that are very typical for men as we get older. I was awakened by just such a calf spasm for the first time about a month ago. I've had ongoing calf problems that have affected my running for about 10-12 years now. I find that the best stretches of time I have without pain is when I do the following...
Make sure to keep potassium levels up
Make sure to stay properly hydrated
Daily stretching of calves, mostly being concerned with toes pointed UP instead of down (so, stand on a step and drop the heel DOWN...don't raise up on your toes)
Proper sleep (7+ hours at least every night
For people who have never had a cramp such as these, they are no joke, and can sideline you for a week or more. The first time I got one I was in the midst of a short run, and it hit within a mile of the finish. I foolishly limped (continued to try to run) home instead of walking. I then had a limp for several days and could not run for almost two weeks. I've since had a cramp come up and bit me a few times while running and now I stop and walk the rest of the way immediately.