I Learned This From a Runner

05
Apr
2012

Do you ever get side cramps while out cycling?  I rarely get them, and I’m not sure what caused it today, but I had a pretty aggravating side cramp as I rode along.  As I pedaled with the pain in my side, I was reminded of a remedy I once heard from a runner….of all people.

A few months ago my Daughter was running in a 5k race and I rode along with her so that I could keep her company.  Part way through the run she got a side cramp and as she ran along with this pain on her face, another runner came by and told her to straighten out the opposite arm from where the pain was and squeeze her arm in a fist.

She tried it and then quickly told me that it seemed to be working.  We thanked the guy later on at the finish line, and that little bit of information has sat in the back of my mind until today.  So as this reminder came to me, I gave it a shot and put my arm to the side and stiffened it up.  The cramp seemed to go away and then a few miles later it came back again.  I tried the remedy again and this time it went away for longer.  Just towards the end of my ride it seemed to be coming back once again, but I was so close to home that I just finished off my ride.

Have you tried this before?  If you get cramps, you might want try this simple little trick…..but just make sure the cars behind you don’t think you’re signalling a left hand turn.  Maybe you’ve got other cramp remedies….what are they?

Enjoy Your Ride

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18 Responses to “ I Learned This From a Runner ”

  1. Kevin Pauley on April 13, 2012 at 7:01 am

    I began running again after several years away from it last year. I read in a post once to exhale on the left foot strike to relieve and prevent side stitches. Darned if it didn’t work for me! Can’t explain why. Used the strategy successfully several times so it wasn’t coincidence. Bet there’s similar mechanics going on with the arm stretch.

  2. Julesmpg on April 6, 2012 at 2:57 pm

    I wish I had known this a week ago! I am going to try this next time and see if it works. I got a horrible side cramp during my tri and suffered it out.

    • Eric Hutchins on April 9, 2012 at 10:04 am

       It really does work for me. EVERY time.

  3. Julesmpg on April 6, 2012 at 2:57 pm

    I wish I had known this a week ago! I am going to try this next time and see if it works. I got a horrible side cramp during my tri and suffered it out.

  4. Eric Hutchins on April 6, 2012 at 12:29 pm

    I had the good fortune of being friends with and training with an amazing Ironman triathlete named Lothar Ledar. First human to go under 8 hours in an Iron distance tri! I used to suffer A LOT from stitch cramps (cramps in your side, in the diaphragm area), when cycling and when running, from when I was a kid through my adult life. He is the only one that ever had a solution for me that consistantly works. He told me that people focus way too much on trying to get fresh air into thier longs, what they need to focus on is expelling “used” air OUT. Your body will naturally bring the air in, but it does not do a good job on its own getting it out.
    So try this.
    If you are are riding and you feel a cramp coming on, use your diaphragm, forcefully contact your chest and BLOW the air out of lungs, ALL of it, as much as you can anyway, breath in, and repeat that a few times, I think you will be amazed at how it works.

  5. Eric Hutchins on April 6, 2012 at 11:57 am

    Darryl,
    My friend, I am afraid I have not been a very good one to you lately. Pamela and I have been so busy with getting her books prepared for publication that I have not been out supporting your site as much as I would like. There are a couple of posts that i really wanted to comment on when they first came out and had traffic and this one! I will now on this one, in a separate box in case you want to reply

    • Darryl is Loving the Bike on April 6, 2012 at 12:15 pm

      Hi Eric, no need to apologize.  You are such a good friend and supporter of Loving the Bike and for that I am always grateful.  I’m so excited about the launch of Pamela’s books and sure hope to see you guys soon.

  6. Julie Starling on April 5, 2012 at 9:15 pm

    I had a side cramp today and was wondering how best to cope. Thanks!

    • Darryl is Loving the Bike on April 5, 2012 at 9:17 pm

      Must have been something in the air today, huh?  Give this a try next time and let me know how it works for you.

  7. Michael Deming on April 5, 2012 at 8:56 pm

    I don’t know where I learned this technique but it seems to work for me: put a finger where the cramp is and concentrate on “breathing into the cramp” using belly breathing – expanding your stomach outward while you inhale and pulling your stomach in while you exhale. 

    If you want to run or ride efficiently you should belly breathe anyway. Its also referred to as diaphragmatic breathing. In through the nose, out through the mouth. Ironically, I think breathing is something we forget about when we work out and it can make a big difference in performance.

    • Darryl is Loving the Bike on April 5, 2012 at 9:00 pm

      Thanks Michael….anyone who experiences a side cramp is better off when they have a bunch of options to try out.  I appreciate you adding to the list of things to help people out.

  8. Janet on April 5, 2012 at 3:40 pm

    Thank you.  I will need to try this one.

  9. Karen on April 5, 2012 at 3:19 pm

    I can’t figure out physiologically just what’s happening with this trick! I get cramps if I run in a group and talk too much while trying to run too fast….I’ll keep this in mind!

    • Darryl is Loving the Bike on April 5, 2012 at 3:51 pm

      Hi Karen, I’m not sure of the physiologically description of what’s happening but it seems to work.  Raising your hands in the air is another one that runners sometimes use, but doing that on a bike can be a little dangerous.  Let me know how it works for you.

  10. Mike on April 5, 2012 at 2:41 pm

    Talk about perfect timing, wel almost perfect.  I just had a cramp while riding yesterday and wasn’t sure how to fix it.  I’ll try this technique next time.

    • Darryl is Loving the Bike on April 5, 2012 at 3:52 pm

      Yeah, I guess we should have posted this yesterday.  Let me know how it works for you, Mike.

  11. Mike on April 5, 2012 at 2:41 pm

    Talk about perfect timing, wel almost perfect.  I just had a cramp while riding yesterday and wasn’t sure how to fix it.  I’ll try this technique next time.

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