Okay, I need some help with something I've never seen addressed anywhere before:
I frequently get some TERRIBLE side-aches/side-cramps during the run leg of
First question: what exactly is happening to me physically? I feel sharp pains
at the beginning and end of breaths, and worse when it's a deep breath. The
pain is located immediately below my rib cage, on one side or the other
(almost always the right) of my abdominals. From my limited knowledge of
physiology, that says "it's the muscles that move your diaphragm," but
that's about all I know. Can anyone give me a firmer diagnosis?
Second question: what's causing it? I initially assumed it was my running--
my weakest and newest sport. Since it almost always occurred after
transitions, I began to focus on my riding form. Then this spring, on
my first two long rides I got the same cramps JUST riding the bike; this
has never happened before. So now I'm thinking it's some combination of
my breathing pattern and riding form, with an emphasis on the former. Help?
Why did it start happening on the bike all of a sudden? Also, what role
might diet play (especially riding on an empty stomach)?
Third: (obviously) what should I do? Suggestions have included: running
with my forearms lower; doing more sit-ups (MORE?); stretching my abdominals
before exercise; avoiding citric acid; shallow breathing at the "bottom";
shallow breathing at the "top"; regular deep breathing. Quoth the trainer:
"No one's really sure why they happen."
When the cramps actually hit, I raise one or both arms over my head to
"stretch" my diaphragm and rib cage (running that way if need be, but
it's dangerous on a bike :) This is the only thing that seems to help.
Thanks in advance for any advice,