I recently discovered that Cass my youngest daughter would develop runner’s stomach about 15-20 minutes into running. The latest incident happened just a few days ago. We were in the middle of a great run on the road when all of a sudden, she told me that she preferred to walk instead. I knew something must be amiss. I asked her if her abdomen hurt and she nodded. This happens almost every time she runs. During my school years, I was prone to suffering from runner’s stomach too. The only way to get rid of the pain is to stop running, squat or sit down and take a short rest to calm the stomach.
There are a couple of reasons runners may be so susceptible to digestive distress, with dehydration and a lack of blood flow to the gut due to exercise being the main culprits.
Runner’s stomach occurs when our digestive system experience a large amount of agitation from the act of running or high-endurance exercise. There are certain diet tips you can follow to avoid having an accident mid-run.
How to prevent runner’s stomach:
1) Do not run on a full stomach
Avoid eating large meals within two to three hours of a long run or race. And avoid eating within 30 minutes of starting a run.
2) Decrease Pace and Breath Deeply
Decrease your 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 for 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) Avoid heavy, high-fat meals the day of a long run or race, and possibly the night before.
Choose light, lower-fiber foods such as bananas, plain oatmeal, or whole-wheat toast.
5) Consider avoiding caffeine the morning of a run or race, as it is a digestive stimulant/irritant.
6) Avoid highly concentrated, sweet drinks such as fruit juice prior to and during a run. A carbohydrate content of more than 10 percent can irritate the stomach. Sport-specific drinks are formulated to be in the optimal range of 5 to 8 percent carbohydrate, and are usually safe for consumption leading up to and during a long run.