A Marine asked about running during the USMC three-mile run. “Every time I run hard to get a good score on the three-mile PFT, or when I’m training for the test, I get a stomach cramp or side stitch about halfway in the three-mile timed run. My question is – what can I do to prevent it, and what can I do to stop the pain or lessen it?” Running with stomach cramps is never fun, but there are ways to lessen or work through the pain – or even prevent the cramps altogether.
First, it is still a big mystery to many physiologists and doctors as to what is the real cause of stomach cramps. The experts have theorized that the common side stitch is caused by the exertion that running and bouncing forces inside the abdominal walls. Basically, your stomach and other organs – like the spleen and liver – bump into each other as your feet jar the ground, causing connective tissue to stretch on the nerves and cause pain.
This connective tissue also is attached to your diaphragm, which helps with breathing. This pain is usually on the right side and just under the ribs. Exercise like horseback riding, running and sit-ups are common causes of the side stitch. Ways to prevent or lessen the pain of the common side stitch: 1.
- Don’t run on a full stomach You shouldn’t drink large amounts of water or eat 2-4 hours before exercise.
- Sip small amounts (1-2 swallows) before and during exercise and wait to rehydrate fully until after the workout.
- Dehydration can cause cramping as well, so do not ignore water/Gatorade during running.
Always sip a few swallows at regular intervals if running for more than 30 minutes and in hot temperatures.2. Decrease pace and breathe deeply Decrease your fast pace for a few minutes and continue deep breathing techniques during running. A common running sequence is a three-step inhale and two-step exhale pattern.
Slowing down your pace will allow you to keep up with that pattern. As you increase to near maximum speed, your breathing will become more labored. However, you can push through the pain and keep your pace if you concentrate on breathing deep by pushing your stomach out when you inhale and relaxing it as you exhale.3.
Pre-stretch with side torso twists Pre-stretch before running by doing side torso twists. One of the best ways to pre-stretch the area is to lift your arms over your head and lean to the left and right at the waist.4. Perform lower back and abdominal exercises Do more lower-back and abdominal exercises; see ” Achieve Washboard Abs ” for more ideas.
- Having a strong core will help you prevent the side stitch.
- Stew Smith is a former Navy SEAL and fitness author certified as a Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) with the National Strength and Conditioning Association.
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- 1 How to avoid stomach cramps when running long distance?
- 2 Why does my stomach hurt while running?
- 3 How to avoid stomach problems while running?
- 4 How to eliminate stomach cramps while running?
How can I Stop my stomach from hurting when I run?
1. Side stitch – This stabbing pain around the ribs—which Fieseler describes as “a poorly understood phenomenon that occurs during exertion”—is one of the most common and dreaded abdominal ailments among runners. A study published in 2015 by Australian researchers found that 70 percent of runners surveyed had experienced a side stitch in the past year.
Possible causes: Doctors have a host of theories. Belly organ ligaments pulling on the diaphragm may trigger stitches, but they could also be brought on by running too soon after eating. Studies show that processed fruit juices and high-carb beverages before and during exercise appear to be connected to searing side pain.
Researchers have also noted that stitches tend to develop when runners land on their right foot as they exhale. “The diaphragm rises during exhalation, and the liver drops a little as the right foot strikes the ground,” Fieseler explains. Treatment/prevention: Adjust your breathing pattern.
For example, if the pain is on your left side, try to exhale when your right leg hits the ground. When you’re not running, practice belly breathing, strengthen your abdominal muscles and do stretches to improve your posture. These exercises could help prevent stitches. Pay attention to what you ate and drank before the stitch and be open to changing your diet.
If the pain persists or gets worse, see a doctor. Gall bladder and liver disease and pneumonia can cause similar symptoms, Fieseler says.
How to avoid stomach cramps when running long distance?
Practice Fueling – When you train for a long-distance race, you put in hours of running each week to gradually build your muscular and cardiorespiratory endurance, And just like you are training your legs for those long runs, you also need to train your gut.
- Often, newer athletes skip fueling during training but attempt to use a sports drink or gel during their first long race.
- The result? Stomach cramps while running, thanks to a belly that has never practiced processing fuel under such circumstances.
- Luckily, the fix for this is easy: Practice your fueling strategy during training.
This will help teach your stomach how to process fuel under conditions of decreased digestive blood flow along with the jostling motion of running. Since sports nutrition is so individualized, you will also quickly learn what your body tolerates best—whether that is gels, blocks, sports drinks, bars, or any of the other products on the market.
Why does my stomach hurt when I run?
Heart Burn –
Another common cause of abdominal pain from running is what’s known as heartburn. This occurs when some of the stomach content “travels” back up into your food pipe, the esophagus. The condition causes a stinging sensation in the upper abdomen as well as the chest and can cause burping, belching, gagging, and other uncomfortable symptoms while running.
- If chronic, as in it occurs more than a couple of times per week followed by constant soureness in your mouth or throat, experts usually refer to it as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD),
- The Cause Running, which is a high-impact sport, can disturb the flow of acidic content in your stomach.
- The harder you push yourself, the more commonly this strikes.
What’s more? Running may trigger heartburn if the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) muscle is worn-out or too relaxed. This lets some stomach content escape into the esophagus, causing trouble. Diet also matters. Certain foods, such as acidic foods, spicy food, and carbonated sodas, rich in gluten may also contribute to exercise-induced heartburn.
Keep in mind that in some cases, a heart burn-like pain can be a sign of something more serious, such as an ulcer, or God forbid, a heart attack. How To Manage Heart Burn While Running Take the following steps to treat and prevent heartburn during running. Change Your Diet It may take some trial and error to find the trigger but start by avoiding some of the usual culprits, chocolate, and food and drinks with tomato and citrus, spicy foods, and orange juice.
Then see. Avoid sleeping at least 2 hours after your last meal. Eat Three to Four Hours Before Running Experiment with how long before a run you can have a light snack—30 minutes, one hour, two hours, etc.—without any trouble. Maybe you can have a small meal an hour pre-run trouble-free.
Or you may need to eat three to four hours before running to give your stomach time to empty. Loosen Your Waistband In some cases, the reason behind your heartburn boils down to wearing tight clothing that compresses your stomach. Try wearing roomier pair of running shorts and legwear. If you are using a belt, try loosening it.
Also, pay attention to any compression garment you’re using. Medicate Taking over-the-counter drugs, such as Mylanta, nexium, or chewable antacids may also help. Antacids work best as it’s the ingredient that neutralizes stomach ache. It works the fastest and be taken during your training if symptoms develop.
What is runners stomach?
What is Running Stomach? – Running stomach refers to unpleasant feelings and cramping in the stomach, likely due to the nature and impact of running and jostling. This GI distress during running causes adverse symptoms for many. Runners belly, as it is sometimes known, may show up as cramping in some runners, and runners diarrhea in others. As you may guess, it is not a pleasant experience and can certainly affect one’s intensity and performance while running. It may also affect child and teenage athletes differently since their eating habits are different. Here’s a post all about nutrition needs for teenage athletes,
Why does my stomach hurt while running?
- Nix the NSAIDs. While Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (such as Advil or Motrin) may help you temporarily with achy joints and muscle pain,they can do a number on your stomach.
- Hydrate properly.
- Keep up with your electrolytes.
- Don’t eat a big meal within 2 hours of racing.
- Practice your fueling strategy.
- Know your sugars.
What causes pain in your abdomen while running?
- Side Stitch. Also known as exercise-related transient abdominal pain (ETAP),side stitches are one of the most common abdominal issues among runners.
- Heart Burn. Another common cause of abdominal pain from running is what’s known as heartburn.
- Stomach Muscle Cramps.
- Pain From Abdominal Strain.
How to avoid stomach problems while running?
2. Establish a routine – Your bowels are creatures of habit, so when routines change the consequences can be dire. One thing all runners should avoid at all costs is introducing new foods and/or drinks on race day. So if you’re planning to take fluids or gels during a race, practice with them during your training to make sure you can tolerate them.
How to eliminate stomach cramps while running?
- Don’t run on a full stomach. You shouldn’t drink large amounts of water or eat 2-4 hours before exercise.
- Decrease pace and breathe deeply. Decrease your fast pace for a few minutes and continue deep breathing techniques during running.
- Pre-stretch with side torso twists.
- Perform lower back and abdominal exercises.