Thursday, March 22, 2012

EricG's Running Tips #33 The Dreaded Side Cramp!

Take a deep breath!
We have all had them and they can be extremely painful, sometimes enough to bring a great run to a screeching halt. The side stitch, a.k.a. (as I have learned) "exercise related transient abdominal pain". There are many articles around on what causes these and how to prevent and get rid of them.  Generally speaking the thought on cause seems to be what we eat or drink and how soon we do it prior to a run. That's all fine but I have a routine that works for me so my question is what do we do when it happens.  I have included 2 links to articles at the bottom on cause and cure.  Here is what I do to alleviate side cramps when I get them.

Step 1: Try to take control of your breathing. Slow it down and take long, slow deep breaths, in through your nose and out through your mouth. I will usually do this for a minute or two and it often works. If that does not work on its own....

Step 2: ......continue the same breathing pattern in Step 1, and also slow down your pace. I also give this a couple of minutes assuming the pain is tolerable. If the combination of Step 1 and 2 have not worked I see no other choice.....

Step 3: Walk and continue to follow Step 1. When the pain subsides, resume running, gradually returning to your target pace.

Here are the articles from and WebMD.



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  2. Combined with your tips Eric, I find that pressing on side where the pain is and leaning that direction- essentially leaning into the pain- works well most of the time. You have to combine that with the breathing and the slowing down though I find. This does NOT work when you are pregnant however ;)

    1. Yes, good point Abby thanks. Unfortunately I can't help with pregnancy tips!


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