Some good ideas. Try compression gear. It stops your muscles wobbling about when you run. Otherwise yes: diet , hydration, salt, stretch as you say. (Beer won’t hurt that much)
Hey you have my exact same duathlon cramping problem! try 2xu compression tights or compressport calf guards, try stretching much more before the race, try increasing your cadence at low effort 1min before dismount, make sure your diet is ok, also make sure you haven’t taken on too much nutritionally…you should only need one lucozade sport on your duathlon assuming you emptied your innards prior to the race and were fully carbed up and hydrated beforehand. Or just go a little bit slower or practice a little bit more!! Good luck with number 2.
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Briefly the answer is probably YES.
Vibration causes damage and so your endurance will be improved.
There is also the psychological effect of looking a bit silly making you want to finish the race faster! But there is also the psychological benefit that they make you more aware of your body position which in theory could improve your technique.
The compression effect is supposed to flush lactates from your muscles after the exercise so improving recovery.
There is also a pre-exercise benefit of improved circulation to warm you up faster.
I would say: try them it can’t hurt. I think the benefits are probably greater for those who train hard or are a little older as recovery will be improved in both those cases. I personally have provisionally found that CALF socks have stopped me cramping. I’m now trying out full length leggings. But at £60 a pair they are not cheap. So if you have money to burn or are desperate for an edge or have some muscle problem (like cramping) I would also say give them a go.
Basically the worst case scenario is a neutral one. they can’t hurt you…
PS: Why don’t elite athletes use them in the Olympics? you might ask. I don’t know would be the answer. Because if they really offered an advantage then surely they would. Having said that I seem to recall a few years back that the sprinters used to use those all over body suits which were subsequently banned just like the special swimming suits were also banned.