Question: How to end and avoid a cramp?
I often have a cramp on my left side after five minutes of running. How can I end these cramps, or better yet, avoid these cramps in the first place?
A cramp is an acute and severe pain felt under the rib cage, more often on the left side. They are common in novice runners who tend to breathe faster and deeper.
Cause of a cramp while running
What causes a cramp? Some runners notice that they have cramps if they eat too close to their run, or if they start their run too quickly.
The current case is an area that has been studied and debated, and there is not yet an absolute answer. Some researchers have shown that drinking high sugar drinks before exercise encourages cramps. One study found a link between cramps and the curvature of the spine. Contrary to popular belief, drinking while running does not cause cramps.
Prevention of cramps
Regardless of what causes the cramps, there are things you can do to prevent them. If you often suffer from cramps, try not to eat 1 hour before running. Drink only water and avoiding sugary drinks. Always make sure you warm up before a race.
The most effective way to prevent cramps is to breathe deeply. Make sure you breathe in and out with your mouth while running. Breathe deeply with your stomach, not your chest, which allows you to get more air.
Running in cold conditions can increase your chances of having cramps. Since it is less comfortable to breathe in cold air. You can try to breathe through a neck warmer or a scarf.
Finally, make sure you run with the right technique. Keeping good posture, to avoid aches which will disturb your breathing.
Treatment of cramps while running
First, push with your fingertips over the cramped area, this can help relieve the cramp. Try eliminating the cramp with alternate breathing. Breathe deeply as fast as possible, to force the diaphragm. Hold your breath for a few seconds and exhale deep and slowly. Observe how the cramp disappears when you exhale, repeat until the cramp does not come back.
If this fails, you may have to stop and walk around a bit, focusing on your deep breath. Continue running after the cramp is gone.