Side cramps are one of the most uncomfortable ailments you can experience while running. Though your legs may feel great, that side cramp is sure to sideline you for a great deal of your run. By timing your meals, staying hydrated, breathing deeply and starting slowly, you will have a better chance of avoiding those annoying cramps on your next run.
Time Your Meals
One of the best ways to ensure that you will not suffer from side cramps will running is to pay close attention to the time of your meals, and plan your run accordingly. For best results, you should wait at least two hours to run after eating a meal that is high in protein and carbohydrate. Similarly, if your meal was rich in fat, you should add an extra hour onto your wait, resulting in a three hour gap between your meal and your run. By timing these events properly, you will ensure that your food has begun the digestion process and will not be able to cause a side cramp.
One of the most common reasons why you may experience a side cramp while running is due to dehydration. Often, people underestimate the amount of fluid that their body needs in order to function properly. One of the most common symptoms of dehydration (especially during athletic performance) is muscle cramping. While most normal, healthy adults are encouraged to consume at least 64 ounces of water per day in order to prevent dehydration, runners and other athletes who are likely to lose a lot of water through sweating are encouraged to increase their intake.
Weigh yourself before and after your run. Remember that for ever pound of weight lost, you should drink at least 16 ounces of water. Staying hydrated and keeping ahead of the game is a surefire way to prevent dehydration and side cramps while running.
Another great way to treat and prevent side cramps while running is to use proper breathing techniques. Often, people breath too shallowly during running, especially during periods of intense effort. This can contribute to a decreased amount of oxygen intake, causing possible side cramps. In order to head this off before it even starts, be sure to take large, deep breaths. For best results, be sure to inhale through your nose and exhale through your mouth as much as possible. This will ensure that you are following the best breathing techniques.
Finally, as with any type of exercise, it is important to start slowly and gradually build up the speed and time that you spend exercising in order to prevent side cramps. This will not only help you to build a strong base of endurance, but also ensures that your body is strong enough to handle what you are dishing out.