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side cramps when running

I have begun going to the gym over the last two months. I like to walk/run on the treadmill and would like to be able to run more on the treadmill, but I seem to be limited as to how much running I can do because I get a really bad cramp in my right side. Because of this I basically alternate between fast walking and running. Does anyone know why my side cramps up and how can I get rid of it and run for longer periods of time?

Sun. Mar 5, 2:23pm

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My friend told me it's from a sac that's on your right side. If your body's not used to jiggle around for running and walking, then it won't be happy. So basically, she said, I just need to condition my body. If you walk/run a lot, then eventually the sac will get tougher and be able to substain longer runs. If you are hurting, though, just try to slow down a bit. That's what I do. :)

Sunday, March 05, 2006, 3:05 PM

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stretching helps. Make sure you really stretch out your side before you run. It usually goes away once your body gets used to the running but in the meantime, stretch. (arms clasped and extended over head, lean slightly to side, until you feel stretch, hold 30 sec)

Sunday, March 05, 2006, 3:17 PM

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Hang in there! I used to get that cramp (also on the right side!) really bad. I just kept VERY gradually increasing my distance and I drank MORE water. I don't know if the water was part of the solution or not but I don't get that cramp anymore...knock on wood. And I am running my first 5k this month. Yay

Sunday, March 05, 2006, 4:15 PM

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when running it's better to drink at least an hour before the run, and minimally if at all through it. Water sloshing in stomach not so great. If you need to drink while running- sip it, don't chug it.

Sunday, March 05, 2006, 4:23 PM

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Hello. Side "stitches" are common with running. I have run for over 20 years competitively/professionally and have managed to avoid them most of the time. The pain is usually caused by a cramp in your diaphragm, gas in the intestines, or food in the stomach. If you get a stitch on your right side (which is more common), slow down for 30 seconds then push your fingers deep (in and up) into your gut just below the ribcage while exhaling and bending over almost to 90 degrees. Straighten and repeat. Do the same if it is on the left side. If this doesn't work then stop and walk until the pain subsides. It may be a sign that you are doing too much too soon. For more answers to your running questions write

Sunday, March 05, 2006, 4:33 PM

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Thanks for all of the great advice. I used a mix of the advice today while running and ran for 17 min. straight compared to my previous record of ten min. Also, I slowed down after 17 min. due to overall exertion rather than side cramping alone. Thanks again

Monday, March 06, 2006, 6:29 PM

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Kiss your knees. It's worked for me since I was 2. Something about the motion or stretching a certain muscle, I don't know, but it's NEVER failed me.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006, 12:49 PM

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My ex boyfriend used to make me "run it out" when I got side cramps. I could kill him while I was running in pain but he was right: they went away after a few moments and I got a full run in.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006, 2:39 PM

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make sure you keep hydrated. i found out when i was running for awhile and had that happen it was because i did not get enough water during the day. once i drank more they got better after a few times

Thursday, March 09, 2006, 10:31 AM

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side hurting!

If i go to the gym or on the trampoline after i eat then my side "HURTS" IT DOESN'T REALLY CRAMP. it just hurts if i do any type or running,jumping, etc. after i eat. What is that??

Saturday, April 22, 2006, 10:33 AM

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make sure you BREATHE

I heard once that cramps were due to lack of oxygen. Ever since then, when I run, if I find myself starting to get a cramp, I make sure I regulate my breathing. Breathe in for 4 steps, then breathe out for 4 steps. Keep that up until your side feels better. Slow down a little, too, if necessary, until you can fully catch your breath. That works for me!

Saturday, April 22, 2006, 12:28 PM

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My yoga teachers say to "breathe into" the part of the body (like, if you are stretching your legs, you "send oxygen" to your legs). I know you can't physically send oxygen anywhere but your lungs, but visualizing "sending" oxygen to a cramp in my side actually works for me.

Saturday, April 22, 2006, 12:55 PM

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definetely make sure you keep hydrated. Because i have been a runner for 3 years and it still happens to me when i don't drink an hour before, i also run about 5 miles in a row a day so i don't like to have to run through it when i have 4 more miles in front of me.

Sunday, April 23, 2006, 10:16 AM

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to the 10:33am poster...

Your side hurting after you eat is because you haven't completely digested your food. Wait a good hour (or more if you eat something heavy) before you work out, or else make sure what you eat is very light, and still wait 20-30 minutes. Making your body work to digest while it's working out is double duty, and your body tells you that it doesn't like that by hurting.

Monday, April 24, 2006, 10:24 AM

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I find that i can't run within about 2 hours of eating something. I'm totally fine if i have no food in my stomach, but if i even have a bit of anything, i start to cramp.

Thursday, July 12, 2007, 11:16 PM

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I don't think anyone has mentioned this, but it will help if you sychronize your breathing with the impact of your left foot. I mean, inhale and exhale always on the left foot. I used to know why this works, but I forgot. All I know is that it never fails me.

Saturday, July 21, 2007, 6:06 PM

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lots of good advice

You have gotten lots of good advice. side stiches can be caused by food inthe digestive system, fatigue, and improper hydration as mentioned. Breathing well does help, it comes with practice, as does not eating too close to your running and not running with a lot of water in your stomach.

Remember also that these can be heat cramps. They are the first sign that the body is overheating. This is usually accompanied by heavy sweating and cool, moist, pale skin. If this is the case, the best suggestionis to slowdown, rest, and drink small amounts of water.

Increase time and distance slowly. IF you can run 17 minutes without a camp today, try for 18 tomorrow. keep up the good work and enjoy your run!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007, 1:57 AM

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How to stop side cramping while running

this is all good advice- you also need to make sure you have enough calcium, potassium and magnesium in your body. I eat a banana before a run (easy on the stomach, plus carbs) and I drink one box of coconut water. the more nutrients I ingest in the day, the more hydrated I am, the better I do.

Monday, September 24, 2007, 1:52 PM

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I read on Men's Health 3 years ago that we should not make regular breathe pattern. Regular breathe pattern will cause concentrate high pressure/tension in single leg. That leg will cramp first.
Irregular breathe pattern doesn't mean shallow breathe.

Previously I stucked on 4 km for 5 months due to regular breathe pattern. By using irregular pattern, I successfully increase my range to 10km in a month.

Thursday, April 03, 2008, 7:38 AM

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Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth. When you breathe in and out through your mouth, your body thinks you are panicking and releases more adrenaline. While adrenaline is a good thing, it can lead to muscle cramps.

Thursday, April 03, 2008, 8:41 AM

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The best thing that has worked for me (worked this morning too :) ) is exhaling on your left foot. Time your breaths to exhale when your left foot hits the ground. Should you cramp up inhale big through your nose(it hurts but do it) and exhale hard from your mouth, like blowing out birthday candles, when your left foot hits.

Thursday, April 03, 2008, 9:06 AM

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I had the same problem for years when I ran competitively, and this is what my trainer told me:
- do not eat an hour before a run
- hydrate, but dont drink tooooo much water beforehand (so its not sloshing around in there)
- stretch for at least 5 mins beforehand
- when you get the cramp, dont stop -- slow down a little and try to massage it out (knead your fingers deep into the area where it hurts)
- regulate your breathing so youre not gulping down huge amounts of air (use your nose to inhale as much as you can!)


Thursday, April 03, 2008, 10:39 AM

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Monday, March 23, 2009, 7:46 PM

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