How To Not Get A Side Cramp When Running

As a seasoned runner, I know firsthand how frustrating it can be to experience a side cramp during a run. That sharp, stabbing pain can quickly put a damper on your workout and make it difficult to reach your running goals. But fear not, for I have learned some tricks over the years to help prevent those pesky side cramps and keep you running smoothly.

1. Warm-up Properly

Before diving into a run, it’s crucial to warm up your body. Take a few minutes to engage in dynamic stretching exercises that target your core, such as side bends and torso twists. This will help to loosen up your muscles, including the diaphragm, which plays a significant role in side cramp prevention.

2. Gradually Increase Intensity

One common cause of side cramps is pushing yourself too hard, too quickly. If you’re a beginner or returning to running after a break, it’s essential to build up your endurance gradually. Start with shorter distances and slower paces, allowing your body to adapt and develop the necessary strength.

3. Focus on Breathing

Proper breathing technique is crucial in preventing side cramps. Aim to take deep, diaphragmatic breaths rather than shallow chest breaths. This helps to ensure that your muscles, including those in your abdomen, receive an adequate supply of oxygen, reducing the likelihood of cramping.

4. Stay Hydrated

Dehydration can be a significant factor in triggering side cramps. Make sure to hydrate properly before, during, and after your run. Sip water or a sports drink regularly to maintain optimal hydration levels. Avoid consuming large amounts of liquid immediately before a run, as this can lead to a sloshing sensation in the stomach, potentially causing cramps.

5. Watch Your Eating Habits

Running on a full stomach can increase the risk of side cramps. Allow yourself ample time to digest your meals before heading out for a run. If you need a pre-run snack, opt for easily digestible foods such as a banana or a small handful of nuts.

6. Improve Your Core Strength

A weak core can contribute to side cramps. Incorporate exercises that target your core muscles, such as planks, Russian twists, or bicycle crunches, into your regular workout routine. Strengthening your core will provide better stability and support for your body while running, reducing the chances of cramping.

7. Listen to Your Body

Each runner is unique, so it’s essential to listen to your body and pay attention to any warning signs. If you start to feel a twinge or discomfort in your side, slow down your pace or take a short walking break. Ignoring the signals your body is sending can lead to more severe cramping or injuries.

By following these tips, you’ll be well on your way to preventing side cramps and enjoying your runs to the fullest. Remember, consistency is key, so make these practices a regular part of your running routine. Happy running!


Side cramps can be a frustrating hindrance to your running goals, but by taking the necessary precautions and making a few lifestyle adjustments, you can minimize their occurrence. Take the time to warm up properly, gradually increase intensity, focus on breathing, stay hydrated, watch your eating habits, improve your core strength, and listen to your body. With these strategies in your arsenal, you’ll be able to run comfortably and achieve your running milestones. So lace up your shoes, hit the pavement, and enjoy a cramp-free running experience!