How to Stop Runners' Cramps
How to treat -- and avoid -- cramps that strike while you run or jog.
How to Prevent Cramps While Running continued...
For stomach cramp prevention, consider what you eat before running, and see if there might be a connection, Galloway says; it's often an issue of digestion. The fix: Avoid eating for a longer period of time before the run.
"If you have a problem [with cramps after] eating 2 hours before, eat 3 hours before," Galloway says.
Also pay attention to what you eat and its effects on your running. You may be choosing a pre-workout food that doesn't agree with you, or at least doesn't agree with your run. "A simple carb by itself [such as a piece of fruit] and water usually is fine," Galloway says.
It's a matter of finding what works for you. For instance, Galloway says many people tell him they have gut problems after eating bananas, but not apples, before a run.
To prevent muscle cramps, McCall also tells runners to get enough fluid before exercising. He advises drinking 16 to 20 ounces 45 minutes before training and 2 to 4 ounces every 15 minutes during a training session, plus eating a healthy diet that includes plenty of fruits and vegetables.
How to Treat Cramps While Running
If you get a side or stomach cramp while running, Galloway recommends slowing down to a walk. "Do the lower lung breathing while walking, maybe [for 2-4] minutes. That can bring it around," he says. For stomach cramps, "often a burp or passing of gas will get rid of the cramp."
When a muscle cramp strikes, McCall tells runners to stop exercising, rest, and hydrate -- preferably with a sports drink that can restore their electrolyte balance.