What it feels like: An intense stabbing pain under the rib cage.
Why it happens: According to exercise physiologist Dean Somerset, ‘Typically, if someone is cramping, they’re using muscles on that side preferentially over others that would contribute to breathing.’
The fix: Whole standing, take a few deep belly breaths, then press two fingers directly into the affected area. As you apply pressure, continue taking deep breaths and lean your hips towards the unaffected side. Hold this position for several seconds, or until you feel the pain subside.
How to deal with foot cramp when running
What it feels like: Sharp pain in the arch of the foot – it may feel as if the arch is drawing upward.
Why it happens: Cramping in the foot could be caused by an imbalance in electrolytes – chemicals in the body that regulate vital functions such as muscle contractions. When you lose too many of these nutrients through sweat, the chemical impulses in the body can go haywire, leading to muscle cramps and spasms in the foot. Foot cramps can also signal muscular fatigue, as repeatedly flexing and extending the foot over the course of a long race can cause your muscles to work overtime, says Somerset.
The fix: Stand tall and still. Keeping your shoes on, shift your weight onto the cramped foot and press into it as much as possible. If it helps, focus on spreading your toes apart. Lift your opposite foot off the ground to stand on one leg if needed. Apply full body-weight pressure onto the affected foot for up to one minute.
How to deal with calf cramp when running
What is feels like: Mild to severe pain or tightness in the calf muscle.
Why it happens: There are two potential culprits, says Fleming: an electrolyte imbalance or running shoes you are still getting used to – particularly those with a lower drop (difference between heel height and forefoot height).
The fix: If you feel the cramp in your left calf, step your right foot forward and sink into a deep lunge, with your front thigh parallel to the ground and your front heel pressing down. Hold this position for a moment, then step your rear foot forward, walk four or five steps and then repeat a few more times on the same side.