Put yourself in the middle of a run. You're feeling good about the time you're making and the distance you've already covered. Quite possibly, you've even managed to lose yourself in whatever your iPod is currently playing. And then it hits (insert "da da dumm" music here) you get a cramp in the side of your abdomen.
Oh, how I hate those cramps! I've always been told that you should take a few really deep breaths, forcefully exhaling all of the air out each time to ease the pain. And as I was reading through a fitness book the other day, this ol' technique was confirmed. I was never sure because sometimes it would work and sometimes it wouldn't. And quite honestly, I felt really funny exhaling so forcefully because I probably looked like a toddler blowing out birthday candles. But, hey—I'll take any solution when it comes to those darn side cramps.
In addition to confirming the technique above, I also learned that it's the diaphragm that cramps up. As it contracts, it loses the ability to fully relax again. And here I always thought it was an ab muscle.